What are your children learning?
Many years ago there was a public service announcement frequently heard on television that said, “It is 9 p.m., do you know where your children are?” Today, there is much controversy surrounding the education of our children and their performance when compared to other developed, industrialized countries. An appropriate question for today would be, “What are your children learning?”
What is necessary for a child to receive proper learning: a school with high standards, a high tech curriculum, or maybe just great teachers? It is becoming more understood that proper learning begins with parental involvement. Do you know if your child’s school has high standards? Are you aware of such terms as Standards Based Education or Common Core State Standards? Does your child interact well with his or her teacher? Great teachers are severely handicapped if there is no parental stimulation in the home.
The word education is derived from a Latin word meaning “to lead forth." The word “lead” means to be out front. However, what is meant by “forth”? “Forth” implies direction, but which direction? Ask a young person which direction he or she wants to go and you would likely here the response of “the way I want to go." It is the responsibility of parents and teachers “to lead forth” and thus provide education that guides a young person in a direction that is both challenging to the student, and productive to the student and society. Our high schools and universities are producing great quantities of educated students who do not have an education that is marketable or even useful in today’s economy.
What are parents to do? In order to lead forth parents must be educated about their child’s education. What courses does your child take? On what curriculum path do those courses lead your child? Do you take part in all available parent/teacher conferences? However, the most important question might be, do you regularly discuss with your child what he or she is learning? Studies have shown that a family that sits down for an evening meal together becomes a strong family unit. That family time can provide a wonderful opportunity to review the educational activities of the day.
Another area that is lacking in our children’s education is parental and citizen oversight of our schools. School board meetings are devoid of public participation. Most school systems are currently conducting budget meetings to formulate the funds available for the next year. Are the school boards expending funds in a way that best benefits your child? The only way to know is to be informed and involved. Families have busy schedules and that family evening meal is important. See if your school district can provide the minutes or notes of those meetings by email.
As a parent you should know about and be involved with the education of your child. Lack of parental involvement significantly affects the motivation of the child and hampers the ability of the educator to teach. Please lead forth.