Friday, February 8, 2013

14 Ways to Show Your Family "I Love You" (#5 Education)

*Disclaimer* I am a huge school choice advocate. I believe in the necessity of improving and supporting strong public schools, but I also support one's right to choose other educational avenues for the benefit of child and family needs. In today's technologically-driven world that is making this spinning blue-green marble shrink, and as a former public school teacher, I believe that there is not a one-size fits all solution to educating children.

14 Ways to Show Your Family "I Love You"
(#5  Take Charge of Their Education)

Public schools, private schools, parochial schools, homeschool, virtual school...

...the list and choices seem endless!

But in the end, it is you, your child's first teacher, that must take charge and direct your child's education regardless of the particular mode of delivery that you choose.

Whether you want a strong faith-based education or a strong secular academic education for your child, it is your responsibility to see to it that what you are paying for (whether through taxes or tuition) is actually being delivered.  And, what is the content that is being delivered?  You have a right to know, but it is also your responsibility to know.

Don't assume that because Catholic is in the name of the school, that that is what is being delivered!  It needs to be more than "Christ-centered" values to be truly Catholic.  It needs to bear witness to the teachings of Mother Church.  After the watered-down delivery of Catholic education during the 1980s and 90s, many graduated from Catholic schools with little knowledge or understanding of the Faith.  Fortunately, Catholic education (after losing enrollment at both the grade school and high school levels) has turned itself around and back to what it does best...catechizing young minds in the teachings of the Church in a nurturing academic environment.  As my children's principal tells parents every August..."our FIRST job is to catechize your children...THEN educate them academically."

And if homeschooling/virtual schooling or some hybrid in-between is your choice, you too must be responsible for knowing what it is that the state expects of you, but more importantly, what you expect for your child to know.  Frankly, I find homeschooling to be a way more challenging responsibility for parents than other options out there. It takes an astute parent to navigate the curriculum choices available while meeting (if required) state guidelines and the individual needs of various age level learners.  That being said, the benefits are tremendous for home-based learning including, but not limited to, setting individual pace, expanded learning of topics, fostering a warm and nurturing home environment, being in charge of your child's content, etc.

And one last thought on this topic, I urge each parent to evaluate often and frequently what is and is not working for your child.  Do not feel pigeon-holed into one style or delivery of learning.  While I formerly am a public school teacher, I was educated in the parochial and private school systems.  We did try public school for our daughter, but it was not the right fit for our family. While the academics were excellent, we wanted a Catholic-based learning environment.  But, with three children, even the tuition break that we will eventually quality for through the archdiocese may not be enough to allow us to afford educating all three in parochial school.  It is at that time, that our family might explore a homeschool or virtual school solution or return to the public school.  We allow ourselves to be open to all options and respond as we feel guided by the Holy Spirit.


 

6 comments:

  1. Parents need to bw on top of it.
    They need to be their child's advocate at all times.
    BUT they also need to work with
    their child's classroom staff too.

    M :)

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  2. Just an FYI here. As a home schooling mom...(and a former teacher)...I took the easy way out. And I am NOT ashamed to say it! LOL One of the worst teaching requirements "back in the day" was sitting down and writing out lesson plans. Oh my goodness. I dreaded it and saved it for Sundays. So when I decided to home school, not only did I want sound Catholic education (all around), but I wanted someone (or a publishing company) to do the lesson planning for me! Sounds pathetic, but I am being honest. So I went with who everyone seemed to be going with. Seton. I pay one fee, and they send me it all...lesson plans, books, quarter reports, attendance sheets, academic goals, etc, etc. On top of that, they even send me the yearly achievement tests that I administer and then send back to them for grading. And to really hold me accountable (which I DO like), half of the students' work is done online were the "professional" at Seton grade it, including tests and quarterly book reports. It is GREAT to have another set of eyes double checking my kids' progress. So, I always say, by taking that approach, it is like having someone hold your hand, walking along, showing you the way. And over the years, as I've gained more confidence, I've branched out and substituted a couple of subjects, but only when I felt comfy enough. It really isn't that difficult. But, you can choose to completely create your own curriculum, which creates way too much work for me, personally. And stress. Yet, it truly does work for others. At any rate, lovely post!

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  3. Yes, absolutely, Melinda! Thanks for adding that! If one chooses a school setting outside of the homeschool setting, they need to be willing to respectfully listen and respectfully argue for their position if it differs from school administration. Nothing put me on the defense faster than a parent that came armed for bear! On the other side of that coin, I do think that "most" parents have their child's best interest at heart and do know their child better than school administrators. I have a girlfriend who pushed hard for her daughter to be advanced one grade level b/c she knew that 1) her daughter was bored and 2) that she could handle the school work at the next grade level. The school staff balked at first...sighting "socialization issues" etc., but in the end, my friend won out and her daughter is doing incredible at the next grade level even though she is more than a year (in some cases) younger than her classmates. Mom knew her daughter's cognitive abilities as well as emotional maturity. It's a situation where when both parties came to the table to respectfully listen an agreement to meet needs was reached. Happy Weekend, Friend!

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  4. Thanks, Patty! I have heard great things about Seton! Oh yes...those lesson plans! I was blessed toward the end of my teaching days to have A) a principal that rarely "checked" our planning notebooks and B) a colleague who was incredibly tech savvy...she created the awesome lesson plan worksheets for each subject. That same building principal then allowed us to TEAM TEACH the core subjects at each grade level...that way Mrs. K, Mrs. W and Mrs. H's class all got the exact same core lesson plan...we then broke our kids into individual learning groups. Virtually unheard of in most of the buildings where I used to teach, but that particular principal was awesome! Lesson planning was one reason I got out (besides just wanting to be at home!)...it is an awesome responsibility to teach 20 8-year olds...and then go home to three little ones that needed me! too much pressure for this mama! I may go back some day! So, long story short...don't feel guilty for going with a curriculum...and the "teacher" in me feels more comfortable doing that then going rogue! LOL

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  5. This can be such an emotionally charged topic. You handled it beautifully. And you hit the nail on the head when you said that no matter what mode of delivery we choose we are all the FIRST and most important teachers our children will have.

    If ever you discern that home schooling is bests for your family, I suspect you will find it is a blessing in many amazing and unexpected ways.

    God Bless!

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  6. Thank you for your kind words, Kari! YOU hit the nail on the head about education being an emotionally charged topic. It is clearly near and dear to most parents heart regardless of where they stand on the issue of choice in education. Happy Weekend, Friend!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Your kind words are appreciated! As Mother Teresa said, "Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love."

Valerie