Back-to-school! Time to shop for new clothes and wear shiny new shoes. Time to buy backpacks and boxes of 64 crayons—not a broken one in the box…yet! J And let’s not forget those new notebooks with pristine pages just waiting to be filled, along with new sharp pencils with clean erasers that haven’t yet been worn down.
It’s also time to meet new teachers, and to start thinking about test scores and reading levels. For many parents, it’s a time to heave a sigh of relief as teachers resume their roles as instructors and moms can get back to the 101 things that had been left undone before school started.
But the first day of the school year is not a time to hand over our children to teachers as if we’re running a relay race and our children are the batons.
Bill Maxwell, a columnist for the Tampa Bay Times, noted that parents are still a child’s first and most effective teacher. Without parental involvement, teachers are often spinning their wheels. He suggests the following six questions to involve parents in their children’s schooling:
1. Have you established a daily routine that provides time and a quiet place to study, assigning responsibility for family chores, being firm about bedtime and having dinner together?
2. Do you monitor out-of-school activities, set limits on TV, check up on your children when you are not home and arrange for after-school activities and supervised care?
3. Do you model the value of learning, self-discipline and hard work, communicating through questioning and conversation and demonstrating that achievement comes from working hard?
4. Do you express high but realistic expectations for achievement, setting goals and standards appropriate for your children’s age and maturity, recognizing and encouraging special talents and informing friends and family about successes?
5. Do you encourage your children’s development and progress in school, maintaining a warm and supportive home, showing interest in school, helping with homework, discussing the value of a good education and possible career options and staying in touch with teachers and school staff?
6. Do you encourage reading, writing, and discussions among family members, reading to your children, listening to your children read, and talking about what is being read?
I would add three additional questions:
7. Do you pray for your children daily, and allow them to hear you bring them by name before the throne of God?
8. Do you teach your children the most important book of all is the Bible? Do you read to them from the Bible and do they see you reading – and applying – it for yourself?
9. Do you instill in your children a healthy fear of the Lord, where the fear of the Lord has been defined as a continual awareness that God is watching, weighing, and rewarding what we do, say and think…whether you are with them or not?
The best teachers in the world still need parental involvement to ensure children’s success in school. What are your answers to these nine questions?
What questions would you add to this list?