When my son came home from elementary school, he had homework. The English and Social Studies work: I could share and help when he needed it. The New Math? I did not have those skills, and with Math never being my strong suit, I sat there trying to understand it…and failed in grasping the majority of it. So, as a parent, I was set adrift by not having the “common school knowledge and language”, in fact not even being aware of the shift until Adam brought the homework to me. I did the best I could, but…looking back, I know I could have done more. For him, and for us.
We drop our kids off at school, and six plus hours later, they are released into the wild. We entrust the kids to people we barely know, a building that might or might not have the best safety regulations in place, overcrowded classes (generally: if you have a school with less than 20 kids per class: ENJOY AND RELISH THAT!), not always enough educational tools and resources available, and all the other “hidden” delights many are unaware of.
Parents as partners with schools. Really investing the time to engage with the school as community, not a place to park the children. Work long hours? One parent home? No extended family to help? Yes, those things, and more, are roadblocks. But, in my opinion, a full educational experience for our children is too important to let fall through the cracks.I know we’re tired. I know we struggle to pay the bills. I know all the hassles of what goes on. I was a single dad, and had to juggle all of those things. I also knew: my kids were more important than any of that.
BTW: if you read this and think “well, goody for you! You know nothing of my life and have no right to judge me!” You are right, and I don’t in both cases. I’m not judging you, not one little bit. I am just asking for you to look at the possibilities and options to adjust life for our children instead of slamming the door down on an idea. Take this as suggestions for discussions and not as demands or belittlement.
From the National Coalition for Parent Evolvement in Education website:
The evidence is in: when schools and families work together to support learning, everyone benefits.
- Students do better in school and in life.
- Parents become empowered.
- Teacher morale improves.
- Schools get better.
- Communities grow stronger.
Education is also more than what the schools demand. There are trips to parks, museums, theater and other live performances (which does NOT have to be Broadway: support your local small theater, dance and music companies!), National historical sites, and so much more that help make that “well rounded student” of life. I love movies, and took my kids to my share of them, but I also included all the other things, many of them free. Performers make little to no money. We try to incorporate engaging and involving moments, not just as spectators. We may not always use Trigonometry in our daily lives, but a wider range of self referencing experiences can shape a thinker for life.
Volunteering at your school is one way. Volunteer to be in your child’s life. Talk and find out how you and the teacher can work together. Parents and Teachers need to see each others as allies. When a school offers (which, imo) “Professional Development” for the parents-TAKE IT, forget how tired you are. Ask for things, instead of demanding. Question, at appropriate times instead of shrugging your shoulders.
Teachers, this means you as well. You have 25-30+ students to work with per class. Don’t you think you need the help as well? It should not come just from within the school building. Is it going to be easy? No. Will it help if the school calls an early (first week of school “mandatory” meeting on this subject, with a flyer of BULLET POINTS on the subject given out ahead of time, so it’s not a surprise and no one feels ambushed) meeting on this? I feel it will. It WILL take time. Too much ingrained of “let the school and teachers handle it” has gone on. It takes two to Tango.
We always ask the children to play nice with others, make friends and share. Why does that stop outside of school age?
What else do you feel (parent, educator, student) can be done to make a successful partnership?
Education Reform Series on BornStoryteller: