Sunday, April 29, 2012

Taking an Active Role in Your Child's Education



Once again, I want to take a moment to encourage you parents to get involved in your child's education....and applaude those of you who already are.

I have said over and over: If we don't fight for out kids, who will? 

But as parents, our fight is not of the physical kind (I hope!). Instead we must use tactics like communication, interest, research, and praise.

We have to communicate not just with our kids, but with their teachers, too. We must demand to know what our kids are learning and how well they're doing in class. If we don't, how can we help the teachers and our kids? We have to know what subjects or materials our kids are struggling with, so that we can figure out how to teach it to them in a way that they will understand.

Sometimes we have to investigate, too. Because sometimes what our children tell us doesn't necessarily match what the teacher has to say. So we have to remain objective and figure out who's right. Sometimes they both are, we know this, because life is not black and white. And those glorious shades of gray sometimes make it hard for people to understand each other - in this case, the teacher and your child.

We also have to show interest. Maybe this is hard because your daughter loves learning about and exploring something you don't. Or maybe you don't understand why your son gets excited about certain things. Even if you can't understand why on Earth, little Ana loves spiders and bugs, and Ricky likes to read about rocks, it's important to take the time to listen and express interest. If nothing else, we parents must be elated inside that our children love learning and are thinking about their world. Your little lego fan may grow up to be a great engineer. Your goldfish lover may discover a career in marine biology.

Which brings me to research. We have to get away from the idea that our children's education is the responsibility of the school system. It's not. It's OUR responsibility to make sure our kids are getting a good education. We can't all afford to send our kids to the best schools, or to teach them at home, but we CAN give them additional opportunities to explore and learn. We can think about the things they're interested in and we can research different ways to nurture that interest. We can take them to museums if they love history, zoos if they love animals. We can go to libraries, bookstores, art galleries, theaters, nature centers, festivals, insectariums, symphonies...you get the idea. We can find online programs, or books and magazines that feed their interests.

And lastly, we can offer words of encouragement and praise. We must learn the language of love over again. Our kids begin their lives trying to please us, but constant criticism, negativity, and lack of interest on our part only brings about resentment and rebellion. They should be rewarded for caring and having passion. For having dreams and doing what they can to follow them.

Con mucho cariño...

Disclosure: This post is part of a paid campaign by LATISM to raise awareness of the important role parents have in the education of their children in the Latino community. 

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