You can hear a collective “Yahoo!!” throughout the valley, country and world. School is starting up again and the children will once again be taken care of by the state!
That sounds a bit negative, but there is a little truth to that. On one hand, many parents stop paying attention to their kids and make it the teacher’s responsibility to do all the teaching. Bad idea! You are your child’s most important teacher, and if you don’t want to do it, young peers and other people will. Here are a few tips to make this year of school cooler.
Sit down with your child and review how last year ended. If it was on a positive note, tell them you are proud and ask them what contributed to their success. Reinforce what works and let them know you really appreciate them as a person and the things they do. You may even make a deal for more progress, i.e., if they get a certain GPA or test score, you will pay for a trip or a new electronic tool.
Now for those who closed last year’s school year with their rear, start the year with consequences, not fantasies about how the year will be better. Review with them (or with other adults who know your child) what contributed to their academic demise. Back in the day, it was the TV. When that was the case, we started the year with limited TV viewing, until they came home with all “C’s or above.” It usually worked. God disciplines those he loves. If you do not discipline (teach), your child will have less respect for you and will not become a responsible adult. Today, a big problem is the Internet, computer tablets and cell phones. Although they are tools, they are also distractions from duty. If they had the toys, and they did not perform, take the toys away. Kids don’t need a cell phone! Really!
All good things in life come from work. If you do not work, you will not be blessed. If you were an employer, would you hire a person who would come to work late and only do a half of what’s expected? Set rules for getting homework done, like no TV or toys until after 7:00 pm. Successful students, whatever age, usually have a homework schedule. If there is no schedule, you are asking an immature person to set limits on their behavior. That is fantasy thinking, like expecting the government to limit spending. Tutoring programs are helpful because they offered structured time for getting homework done and getting help with difficulties.
In sports, industry and school, teamwork rocks! If you work with your children’s teachers and administrators you are on the path to productivity. If you are worried about your child, possibly having a learning disability or you are feeling confused about how to proceed, call the school and schedule a Student Study Team. Help is available, and your wrist is not broken. You can make a call every once in a while. Don’t expect school staff to read your mind or do your job for you. Some teachers have from 160 to 200 students. Elementary teachers have less but they have a lot more kids than you. You only have a few kids. Call them and cooperate, collaborate and communicate. They will pay more and better attention to your child if they have met you, talked to you and know you are on their team.
We have a paycheck that tells us if we showed up for work. No show, we get our pay docked. Ask for progress reports from teachers. Don’t wait until the quarter or semester and look at the grades. It can be a simple letter saying, “Dear Teacher, How is my child doing in his attitude, attendance, tests and homework? Please call me at 353-CARE or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Very simple and you will get data that will help your child and hold him accountable.
Parents you have been schooled. A quick review: Reflect on last year, take things away and call the school. We will meet again in 6 weeks and I will grade your work as a parent! Have a great year!