I am on the School Activity Committee at Robbie's school. With seeing the background stuff to education I have learned a lot. The biggest thing I have learned is that for schools to be really effective that parents need to be involved! When I was a kid it was expected that teachers taught everything that was needed for kids to know. In today's world that model of education no longer works.
Parents need to be involved with their kids from day one. We need to ensure that our children are ready to learn. When teachers send homework home it needs to be completed. Parents need to make sure their children are reading daily. Most of Robbie's homework consisted of nightly reading. For every 20 nights Robbie would get a positive referral to the Principal's office. There he would get a certificate, a pencil and a toy. In kindergarten Robbie received 12 referrals! We put them on wall to remind Robbie what a great job he was doing.
When I suggested this topic Sean laughed and asked if I was thinking of someone in particular who needed this message. We found out that one of Robbie's classmates was referred to take Kindergarten again as she did not even know her alphabet at the end of June. Homework was never sent back to school (tracing letters and colouring pictures) but suddenly over the summer the mom was going to make sure her child was ready for Grade 1. My thought at the time (and it is still my thought), if the parent couldn't be bothered with teaching her child in the first 5 years was she really going to do anything in 2 months. I guess time will tell but I have to say that if my child is held back because I child that is not ready for the work of Grade 1 is in the class that I will be angry. Actually, I know that won't happen as the teachers at Robbie's school make sure that he is challenged. I know this takes extra effort on the teachers part and we are very grateful that they do this for our son.
Knowing that Robbie loves to learn and experiment we make sure to buy educational toys (as well as fun ones). When Robbie watches tv it is mostly the Discovery Channel with mom or dad watching along. We are not the type of parents that want Robbie to be a super kid that goes to University as a young teen, we just want to encourage his love of learning. Often I tell Robbie that I don't know the answers to a question but we can look up information and learn together. Robbie is still of the opinion that mommy and daddy know everything even when we tell him we don't. The day will come when he learns that we don't know everything but hopefully by that time he knows that we will answer his questions and will help him find answers to things we don't know.
|Our First Grader on the first day of school.|