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Education Starts at Home

The most important part of your child's education is not your child's school or teacher, it is you.

Cobb County schools start next week. This week is full of last minute school shopping, open houses and orientation. We fill out paperwork, visit the classroom and set our personal expectations for our children, the teachers and the school.

Just like any other job, some teachers put more effort and passion into their work than others. When test scores drop, we blame the teachers. When school systems are convicted of cheating, we blame the teachers. When our children do not understand certain subjects, we blame the teachers. When our children have problems with bullies, a low self-esteem or hate school-we blame the teachers.

If your child ends up with a teacher who truly goes above and beyond, then you are blessed. Even with the help of a great teacher at school, education starts at home. Too many of us are dependent upon others in certain areas of our lives. Some of us bank upon on a spouse to take care of the finances or rely on a maid service to clean our homes. Some of us are so occupied toting kids back and forth to activities that we no longer parent, we just provide “busy-time”. It is wrong of us to turn to the public school system to raise our children.

Schools provide many opportunities and good things beyond academics such as lunches, physical education, after school care, etc. But school cannot replace a loving home or parents who take an active interest in their child's welfare. Should teachers have the responsibility of teaching our children basic discipline, respect or manners? Should the only learning opportunities a child receives be those provided in a classroom? Should the teacher bear the entire burden of teaching our children to exercise self-control, to read, to complete a project or to function as part of a team?

It is ridiculous to expect these kinds of things, yet many do. Between conducting lice checks and active-shooter drills, teachers are given little time to actively “teach”. Do your children and their teachers a favor-start and continue the educational process at home.

Education is more than just academics. Dictionary.com defines education as “the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life”. Educating your child means teaching him respect, tact, sharing, cooperation, listening, following directions, communication, character development, morals and a myriad of other integral life skills. It means being an active part of your child's life by assisting the teacher and not depending on her.

Even if you are a single or divorced mother, it is not that difficult to check whether or not your child has homework and to make sure that he does it to the best of his ability. If he doesn't understand something, resources are available. Even if the only math you perform is to balance your checkbook, there is a wealth of information on the internet. Also many churches, community organizations and schools offer tutoring and help with homework at little to no cost. The Homework Hotline is a free service provided by a joint effort between Atlanta metro schools and Public Broadcasting Atlanta (PBA). Teachers are available to answer questions Monday through Thursday from 3-9 p.m. on normal school days. The number to call is 678-553-3029 or click the Homework Hotline link to communicate via email.

Even with these resources, it still takes you. It takes you to provide the transportation. It takes you to make sure your child has the needed materials. It takes you to make sure your child has the motivation to stay on task. It takes you to provide the encouragement and care that your child craves in order to succeed. It takes you to cooperate and communicate with your child's school. It takes you to follow up and be on top of any problems, academic or not.

The most important part of your child's education is not your child's school or teacher, it is you.

km August 10, 2011 at 12:39 PM
Unfortunately, schools make it hard for parents to help with homework. My son is starting 7th grade, and I am 100% involved with his education, yet nearly every night during the school year, I struggle to help him because instructions are rarely included with assignments and most of the teachers do not use textbooks. Teachers are supposed to update their blogs, and many do, but there were many times when this did not happen or the information on the blogs were wrong. And don't get me started on the bad spelling and grammar on those blogs. What are parents to do when assignments posted on the blog are not in a format that they can download or are missing from the blog completely? Why should we have to e-mail the teacher and keep checking the blog until 10pm just to get homework assignments? What are parents to do when the teacher's own notes are posted on the blog and have obvious errors in them? How is my child supposed to learn? My son, Matthew, was in pre-school and learning how to spell his name when his teachers spelled it wrong on a daily basis. How patient should I have been with teachers who taught my child to spell his name incorrectly? Yes, parents need to take responsibility, and I agree many don't, but for parents like me who can't be more involved, we are fed up and frustrated with the many poor teachers out there. The good teachers are the minority in my experience.
Andrea Bradley August 10, 2011 at 04:09 PM
I agree with both of you. Education starts and needs to be continuous in the home. My preschooler is more than ready for kindergarten next week because I have prepared him. http://web.me.com/persistence_media/My_Mommy_School/School_at_Home/School_at_Home.html Everything that my oldest learns at school; I expand on at home by applying those skill to everyday scenarios. Also, a lot of teachers need to use their resources as well to keep parents update and should not assume that parents will not check them. Pinnacle keeps my son and I on track when it is updated on a regular basis. Blogs are a great source to help with daily lessons but again, when it is updated regularly. I am that parent that talks to the teacher during orientation to let them know what I expect from them and what I can do to help them teach my child better. I will also email them to remind them of what we discussed if those expectations are not being met. Some appreciate the involvement while others ignore it and that hurts my son's education and makes it harder for the teacher to teach him. Help me help you.

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