Responsibilities and relationships are two-way streets. It is reasonable
you to have some expectations
from school officials. At the same time, there are
responsibilities that families
have to support the school. Family members should:
1. Be vocal supporters of the school, its rules, and the classes that are
offered. In so doing, you
further the purposes of the school. If, for example, there
is a rule that children
should not fight in school, it would be at cross-purposes to
advise your child to hit
back at somebody who hits him.
2. Extoll the virtues of education. Talk positively about your own education
and how it has helped you
to be where you are today. Explain this importance
to your children as well.
If you are involved in continuing education classes or
self-improvement of any
kind, talk to this about your children in terms of how you
are improving yourself,
and how this will always continue.
3. Talk about what happens at school every day - what your child did,
learned, and talked about.
When you talk about the work that you have done
for the day, whether it
be inside or outside of your home, explain to your child
that going to school is
your child’s work.
4. Read to your child every day. This is a ritual that begins when your
is a baby and continues
through elementary school. As your child grows, have
her show off her reading
ability by reading to you.
5. Make homework part of your family routine. It must be treated as a
priority in your family’s
life. Take into account your child’s needs and learning
styles. Some children work
best in total silence and need to be sitting at a desk
away from family activities,
whereas some need background music and need
to have all their supplies
around them on the floor.
All of us need to understand that the education of each child is a
three-way effort that takes
participation of the child, the home, and the school.
The job will be done at
its best when all three are working together.
This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children
Well: A Teacher’s Advice for Parents.