I would first like to say that I am a big proponent for homeschooling. I’ve home schooled my two older boys up until middle school and I’m currently still homeschooling my youngest who is in 4th grade this year. I wholeheartedly believe homeschooling is best but I do not think public and other types of schooling are evil. I think public schools need improvement, but it’s not necessarily always in the academic way as I will explain below. I believe if the issues below were resolved, then academics would improve dramatically.
I read an article today titled “Legacy: A year long look at Albany’s alternative high school”
It talks about the Albany Options School which has a name for taking the “bad” kids. Yes, it does take in the kids that fall through the cracks and the kids that have behavioral issues. They do seem to be doing a great job with them and I admire that. The problem is in thinking that you can compare alternative schools like this to the regular public school. Albany Options has a very low number of kids and so the kids get a whole lot more one on one attention, which they need. Every kid needs that. However, let’s remember that regular public schools have so many kids enrolled in each class that it is impossible for the teachers to work with each child in the ideal way. That’s not the schools fault and it’s not the teacher’s fault.
The Blame Game…
The other issue I have is that so many parents blame the school for their child’s behavioral issues, or blame the school for not being able to “handle” their child. Guess what? YOU are responsible for your child’s learned behavior. I’m not talking about learning disabilities or children with autism or other things like that. I’m talking about the disrespectful child. The child that doesn’t want to listen to authority. And even children with disabilities can be taught to be respectful. I’ve seen plenty of respectful children with disabilities.
My point with this post is that we look at schools like this and we say, “Why can’t public schools be like this?” Well, we’d have to build a lot more public school buildings and have a lot more teachers first of all. Teachers that are passionate about the kids, because not all teachers in public schools are.
Parents Need to be Involved
Most importantly, we as parents need to be highly involved in our children’s lives and education. That is critical. Then at least we could curb the behavioral issues that are so rampant in schools today. It’s not the teachers job to teach our children to behave and be respectful. It’s the parents job! The teachers job is to teach the subject at hand. Yes they can help guide behavior but if the fundamentals aren’t there and being taught and enforced by the parents, the child certainly isn’t going to listen to the teacher most of the time. And when children see how their parents blame the teachers for the child falling behind or for the child’s behavior, what do you think the child is learning? That kid is learning that they can blame someone else for their issues and failures. They learn NOT to take responsibility and accountability.
I would just like us all to quit blaming the public school system and start looking at ourselves. Look at our own parenting and being honest about how involved we really are.
What Can I Do?
If you’re not sure about what you could improve on, maybe ask yourself these questions:
- Do I at least try to help my child with homework?
- Do I know what homework my child has due and when?
- Have I met my child’s teachers? (Do I go to conferences)
- Do I know who my child’s friends at school are?
- Do we talk about how the school day went?
- Do I make it to most of my child’s sports events or other extracurricular events they are interested in?
- Do I have regular discussions with my child about respecting authority (teachers, other adults, police officers, etc…) and am I being a good example of this?
- Do I talk to my child about his future plans?
Those are just a few things to ask yourself. Being involved with your kids is so, so important! Too many times parents get caught up in their careers or work life and they are too tired to spend much quality time with their kids when they get home from work. And, maybe you might need to reevaluate your career or work hours. Our kids need us! That is more important than chasing a dollar. (If you truely, honestly, can’t do anything about the work hours, at least try to do whatever you can to give your kids the time and attention they need no matter how tired you are. )
Time is Short…
We only have a few precious years with our children. Make the most of it. Own your failures as a parent (yes I said failures because we all fail at times) and learn from them. Don’t blame the teacher, or the school, or the grandparents or anyone else but yourself. YOU are the parent. YOU are the one responsible for raising your kids. Own it! Take control of your situation and make whatever changes you need to make to help your kids grow into the respectful, helpful, profitable(not talking money wise) citizens I know they can be.