This is the time in the summer that parents start saying ‘When is school going to start?’ Working parents are stressing with daycare and evening demands of kids. Stay at home parents are getting tired of entertaining and straining to meet the on-going needs of their children. Teachers are saying, ‘Good that parents have the summer with their kids so they can appreciate the time that kids are at school with their teachers.’ This could be called ‘the yo-yo effect,’ when parents and teachers bounce responsibility back and forth. In reality, both are responsible for the education of our children. However, parents are still the primary teachers.
What exactly is a ‘primary teacher?’ you may ask. A primary teacher refers to where the ultimate responsibility lies. As parents we have the responsibility, and privilege, of asking ourselves, ‘What is most important for my child to learn? What values are most important to teach my child? What opportunities are there to share experiences that would broaden my child’s world?’
Parents and children are at the mercy of the designated school curriculum for their education. Each year a child has a new teacher, and then moves on to a new experience the following year. However, the parents are always there, and ultimately are the best monitors for what each child needs.
The fact is that there are limits to the education that can take place at school. Children need to hear from their parents the lessons they have learned that can be passed on. Children are so much better off if they don’t have to learn everything through the hard knocks of life. Parents can share lessons related to their career, lessons they’ve learned from their relationships, and lessons from having lived many years beyond that of their child. Children respond best to hearing life wisdom from their parents, whom they most look up to.
Values are very important and will assist a child in transitioning through difficult years ahead, especially the teen years. If your child is lucky enough to have life skills education, including such programs as Steps to Respect, offered in Mt. Diablo Unified School District, then they will have a more solid foundation than is typical for students. When parents reinforce ideas at home, such as the importance of respecting individual differences, the child is getting important education that will carry him or her into the future. This kind of education will assist children in getting along with others both in personal relationships and in career endeavors.
The team approach of parents and teachers working with children to contribute to their education is ultimately in the best interests of the child. Summer is the parents’ prime time. Time is running out, so be sure to make the very best of it! While you have them at home, be sure to squeeze in reading time, and time to work on math facts. It’s so easy to slip in a writing task as well, whether it is an e-mail to a friend, or a letter to Grandma. Parents, use your power and know that you can make things happen for your child! You are an important team member! Even as school starts, your child still needs you on the team!