Summer is over and the children are back at school. As a sense of order returns to the home front, you, as concerned parents experience a certain disquiet.  Aware that you, not the school, have primary responsibility for your children’s education, you can find yourselves in something of a dilemma.  How do you exercise your educational responsibilities so that home and school operate harmoniously?

By recognizing your role as primary educator of your children, you have cleared the first hurdle.  Don’t hesitate to get involved. Those are your children and you are an essential part of your children’s school experience.  You needn’t feel intimidated, all school boards understand this and expect parents to become actively involved in school decisions concerning their children.

The healthiest approach is to keep in mind that you ought to work as partners with the school to ensure the best possible education for your children. Boards and schools expect parents to take a partnership role in the education of their children.  They encourage parents to express their opinions, to share vital information about their children and to discuss their concerns.  As parents it is critical that you make use of opportunities to communicate with the school.  It is critical that you try to develop a healthy amount of trust in your children’s teachers without turning a blind eye to the difficulties that may occur.

Don’t wait until problems arise.  Take advantage of curriculum nights and parent-teacher interviews.  Participate on Parent Teacher Committees when you can.  Get to know your children’s teachers formally and informally if you can.  Try to get a sense of the underlying philosophy of the school, and how it is expressed.

As parents, it is important that you present to the school any concerns you may have regarding personnel, programs or methods for they affect your children’s education.  Hoe you communicate these is equally as important.  Approaching the school in a positive, constructive manner with a willingness to work out solutions to problems goes a long way.  As a true partner in the education of your children, be sure you display respect for yourselves and others, even when in disagreement concerning a method or incident.  A positive attitude goes a long way towards building a positive academic environment for your children.

Since parenting begins at home, a review of some of the typical items one might find on the list of parents’ responsibilities might be a good place to start.  They are pretty obvious.  Keep children rested and clean; give good meals every day; provide necessary school supplies; keep house and clothes clean; teach safety rules.

Most parents are well aware of their basic responsibilities.  They might be less clear on specific things that they can do to help with their children’s schooling.  What follows are some specific suggestions for your consideration.

  1. Respect each child.  Consider each child’s particular needs and encourage individual development.
  2. Encourage each child.  Be supportive of each child’s interests.  INVEST in each child.  Take time to talk, to commiserate, to laugh with your children about their school experiences.  Listen to their concerns and feelings and discuss these with them.

Share  your time and talents with your children.  And, most importantly, MODEL the kinds of behaviours and attitudes that you believe will bring them the greatest success in school and in life.

  1. Develop  and maintain a positive, cooperative working relationship with your      child’s teachers.  It is vital that your children see their parents and teachers communicating in a positive manner.  This will help them to develop and maintain a respect for those in authority.
  2. Show an active interest in your child’s education.  READ to your child frequently.  Read quality books that you will both enjoy.  Children will develop a love for reading by being read to and by seeing that you enjoy it too.
  3. Provide a calm, supportive atmosphere at home.
  4. Provide proper tools for studies – dictionaries, tools for writing, a proper study environment.
  5. Help with the organization of school work.  Provide a suitable place (e.g. the kitchen table) for your children to do homework where you are seen to be present.  It is important that while you don’t want to hang over your child, they see that you are interested and available to help when the need arises.
  6. Encourage your child to develop hobbies and to participate in leisure activities.
  7. Try to keep yourself abreast of new techniques being used in your child’s education.  Ask at the school library for books explaining new approaches.  Become an active, able participant by educating yourself.

It cannot be emphasized enough that you are the primary educator.  You establish the values, the morality, the questioning mind, the mind that will learn to discriminate between right and wrong!

Try to approach your child’s education with joy!