I love it!! I found this on Dr. Laura’s blog and just had to do a little digging. (And please, for those of you that automatically stopped reading the moment you saw Dr. Laura’s name, please read my disclaimer – assuming you’re still reading).
Florida State representative Kelli Stargel has introduced a bill requiring teachers of grades K-3 to rate PARENTS, because she believes parental involvement is key to educating children.
This is a sore subject with me and that’s probably because I’ve seen, heard and been around enough parents in the public school system to know that a lot of parents? (Note I didn’t say all, but a lot). Look at school as a babysitter. They AREN’T involved in their children’s education and then their children don’t perform as well as their peers and the parents are left scratching their heads wondering WHY and OH MY GOSH, it’s the TEACHER’S fault. He/she is not teaching their child correctly.
Now granted, that happens. Teachers are humans. They have bad days. They have a lot of crap to shuffle through and don’t have a lot of time to give each child individual attention and they don’t get paid that well so their motivation is not always the best …
… but I would argue, isn’t THAT the reason parents need to get involved with their children’s education??
In other words, it’s everyone’s fault BUT the child’s and/or the parents. Even though education begins at home.
Parent involvement is most effective when it is comprehensive, well planned, and continues throughout the school year.
Parental involvement should be developmental with a preventive rather than remedial approach and an integral part of a strategy to improve student achievement.
Parents do not need to be formally educated to provide support and assistance to improve the academic performance of their child.
At-riskchildren have the most to gain from parental involvement.
Here are some strategies that parents can use to support their children’s learning.
Attend parent-teacher conferences. (Learn the child’s strength / weaknesses).
Establish a home environment that supports the child as a student.
Contact teacher if a problem arises from homework, home situations change that may disrupt the student’s performance, absences and makeup assignments.
Monitor homework completion. (Ask to see it. Don’t just take the child’s word for it).
Make sure the child is on time, prevent frequent absences and provide school supples. (Don’t give the “but we can’t afford school supplies”. There are many programs out there that can help with that very issue).
Make sure the child is fed (again, programs to help out with that).
Adequate medical care (immunizations, [clinics provide these for free – check your community calendars], dental).
Providing the child with a place to do homework, adequate research materials (hello, library!), time slot for child to do homework (don’t over schedule children so that their time is completely gone), help prepare for tests and projects,
Sounds like a lot of work, right?
Welcome to parenting.
I thought it was interesting when Dr. Laura asked Rep. Stargel why stop at 3rd grade? Stargel responded with a vague answer about how as kids get older, they get harder to control and it’s harder to MAKE them do anything.
True. BUT, again, I would argue, that that is when the child needs his/her parents even more. Children need to be taught to discipline themselves when it comes to finishing assignments, to work independently and become their own individuals. But speaking as the mom of teenagers? It can be done.
Now please, don’t think I’m a parenting expert. I’ve made, and continue to make, my fair share of mistakes – just ask my kids. But if there ‘s anything I’ve learned from this parenting gig? You have to make a conscience decision to be the grown up in the situation. You also have to make a commitment to be there for your child at all times.
Is it a pain? Yeah, sometimes. Is it inconvenient at times? Sure. But parenting is not easy, and it’s not convenient and it requires a lot of patience, stamina and sacrifices. Those are the requirements.
Just because children get older, it doesn’t mean parents stop getting involved in their lives. We reserve the right to butt into our boys’ lives at any time and for any reason. We keep track of their grades. We ask a lot of questions and check up on them to verify those answers. If their behavior changes and they’re no longer following rules, or they lie to us, or their grades drop, we take things away from them. We remove the distractions, the STUFF that is taking their attention away from their duties and responsibilities.
Case in point About five years ago, when Dude was in 8th grade and Jazz was in 6th grade, their grades plummeted. They were truly bad. We warned them. If they didn’t bring them up a whole letter grade by next grade card, they would lose their video games and computers.
They didn’t come up. And we physically removed their games, took the power cords off their computers and the grades were so bad, they weren’t even allowed to watch TV. Our rationale? Now they would have more time to devote to their studies. Once their grades came back up to an acceptable level (and we’re talking high C’s – we don’t expect our boys to make straight A’s. We’d LIKE for them to make straight A’s, but we’re realists – some kids simply aren’t capable of making straight A’s in every subject), then they could have their STUFF back.
This lasted for a solid month. They. HATED. Us.
It was awkward. It was uncomfortable. It was NOT fun. But we stuck to our guns. And the boys brought their grades up and their privileges were restored. They’ve been excellent students ever since. And though I’d like to say that they WANT to do well (and I believe they do, as long as the work is easy), I know they were really motivated to get their stuff back.
But it doesn’t matter. They learned a lesson. The same applies to the real world. You slack off work, don’t show up, do a piss-poor job, the boss will fire you. Then you won’t have money to pay your bills and you certainly won’t have enough to spend on entertainment. You lose STUFF.
We went through that entire ordeal (and trust me, it was an ORDEAL) because we keep track of their lives. We stayed on top of their educational duties. We taught them the importance of taking their responsibilities seriously.
We were, and are, involved in their lives.
I honestly think some parents think that once their kids reach a certain age level, their parenting job is done. It’s over. They’re not responsible for them anymore. And I say, until that kid graduates from high school, yes you are.
At any rate, I had to write about this topic because I’m pretty passionate about it. And it encourages me to see that people are FINALLY waking up to the fact that if we want our children to be successful, it starts at home and with getting parents involved. Our children are young, they are immature, they need guidance, structure and discipline so they can grow up to be responsible adults. If there is no one around to teach them these things, well … you have today’s society.
I hate that the government has to get involved, YET AGAIN, but if it means helping at-risk children get through school and form stronger bonds with their families, then so be it.