by Mekelle Tenney
It’s back to school season. Over the next two weeks kids will start going back to school. Education is one of those things that everyone both agrees and disagrees on. I don’t think anyone would argue that education should not be a priority in our country. The disagreement arises when we try to decide what should and shouldn’t be taught, how things should be taught, how kids spend their time in school. The list goes on and on.
When we consider how important education is, the impact it has on our children, and in turn our nation, it is obvious why this is such a hot topic. Public schools have the power to shape our children’s views on science, religion, family, marriage, sexuality, morality, history, freedom, human rights, abortion, political leaders, social movements, media, music, and basically every other topic you can possibly imagine. Unfortunately our public school systems have become so politicized that everything from what we teach to our teaching methods are decided by law makers and are subject to change based on political parties and powers. The good news is the most effective teachers our children will ever have will not be at school. Their best teachers will be us, their parents. Here are three things to keep in mind as your kids go back to school this year.
- It’s okay if your kid doesn’t fit in.
Yes it’s okay if your kid doesn’t fit in, in fact it’s probably a good thing. It’s only natural for parents to want their kids to fit in and be accepted. Keep in mind that often being accepted comes with a price. Teach your kids to stand up for what’s right no matter how unpopular it is. It’s hard for kids to imagine life after high school. For them school is their lives and often they are scared to stand up or stand out. Mainly because they don’t want to be labeled as different the rest of their lives. They don’t understand that after graduation the only thing that will matter is the person they chose to be, not the label they were given. Ideally every kid has a great group of friends who share their standards and encourage them to be themselves. That might not also be the case. So teach your kids that it’s okay if they don’t fit in, especially if it’s in the wrong crowd.
- Check in each day
It doesn’t matter what grade your kid is in, check in with them each day. Take the time to talk about their day. Discuss class projects and homework assignments. Hopefully you have the kind of relationship where your children are comfortable sharing with you. If not, that’s okay. You can get there. Start by casually asking about their friends. If anything this will give your kids the opportunity to ask questions about something they saw or heard. Many times kids want to talk to their parents, but they are embarrassed, afraid, or simply don’t know how to begin. So set the stage and give them every opportunity.
- Be involved
Be as involved in your children’s education as much as you possibly can. Help them with their homework. Attend school board meetings. Meet their teachers. If they are struggling in a subject spend the time to teach them. The more involved you are the more aware you will be. It will also show your kids that you believe their education is important. If you put in the time and effort, they will.