Sunday, July 17, 2011

Your Education is TOO important to leave
in the hands of your mother

If you lack a sense of humour, don't like (or understand) sarcasm, if you teach public school (without a sense of humour or lack an affinity for sarcasm), if you are a great mother and look don't your nose at homeschoolers, if you are a homeschooler who takes things way too seriously, then this post is not for you. If you choose to read it, please note: you HAVE BEEN warned.

The education of children ought to be left in the hands of professionals, don't you think? After all, they have a college degree and have had formal training. The professional educators are equipped. Teachers are ready to teach children. In fact, those who teach elementary grades would never dream of teaching junior and senior high school students, all of those teachers specialize in their subjects being taught. And vice versa I imagine. Now right off the bat, if you are reading this, you must be thinking this lady is SO out of touch, there is no such thing as "junior high" it's middle school, duh....this writer must be a mother stuck back in the 20th century. (I'm blogging here in the 21st century ;-)
Our tax dollars provide not just teachers but buildings with state of the art equipment, curriculum geared toward each grade (age group) and proper discipline-line up here, go there, take this, don't do that, make your way to the Principal's office, etc. There is not the distraction of family relationships but there is the comradeship of their peers. There is healthy competition to get the best grades, be the teacher's pet, class clown and of course, the troublemaker.
Children are going to have to make their way into the world as they grow up into adulthood. Mother can care for their physical needs, give emotional love and support, pray for their souls, taxi them around to lessons, soccer, and Sunday school and accompany them on field trips but they need to understand that the education of their children is extremely important. If mothers want their children to become successful adults then they need to make sure that their children get the best education. An education that will not just prepare them for college and their future career but for life.

Children are individuals who do need to be educated and helped in preparing for life. Just like when you go for a job, one would think that the parents will fill out an application form for each of their children and then each child is interviewed by the teacher they will have for that academic year. Because if we are leaving the education of our children up to the professionals, it would be important to know a few things about each student before they get started. What was I thinking?! The teachers probably have access to the children's transcripts, so there is no need for an application. The interview is unnecessary, they will get to know the students while they are in the classroom. Why listen to what the parents have to say about their own children? As long as a teacher gets to know all their students' names, their time outside the classroom ought to be in preparing the material to be taught. It is up to the student to learn what is being taught. Teachers are not suppose to be studying the children, are they?

Teachers are "in the know." They know that students should come to class prepared to learn. How does a student prepare for that? What if this is their first day of kindergarten? (yes, I am aware lots of kids go to school before that) How does a child, 5 years of age prepare for that? "Oh....mother, the one who is not equipped to educate, train or guide a child, you need to get this child ready!"
"WHAT? Wait just one minute. I really don't need to prepare this kid to be ready for his first day of class. When he is 5 years old he will be "ready" to enter school. (His DOB will dictate that readiness)
"Well, yes you do, mother. The first order of business is to bring him under your loving authority. He needs to learn to obey his mom and dad. For maximum results both parents ought to train their children to obey them, that way when it is time for them to hand over their children to the teachers they will be ready to follow the directions of the professionals. Do you really think you didn't have to do anything to prepare these little "angels?" Have you ever seen a child left to himself?"
There are so many things that you can do to help prepare your child for school. Without interviewing the teacher or getting to take them out to coffee and find out their worldview, you need to let Johnny know with confidence that this person is going to look out for his best interest, give them an excellent education and help prepare them for life or at least the next grade.
As parents, you can start reading to your children whenever you want. Not only are you modeling for them, you are readying them for learning, exposing them to their native language through story, among other benefits. It is never too early to start reading to them. There are studies on the positive effects of reading to infants and toddlers.
Manners, sharing, self-control, listening, and the list goes on but it is very difficult to do any of these if you don't first teach them to obey. Yes, mother and father, it is your job, the teacher is counting on you and if you don't she is quick to call the parents into account, "Didn't you teach Johnny to listen?"
"O, me, the non-professional? teach? You have told me that I have no right, essentially to teach Johnny. That is your job not mine. Isn't that why you want my Johnny, so that you can teach him? Now, I do believe that there are plenty of parents who don't do a great job of parenting just as I equally believe that there are plenty of teachers that have no business teaching children. We are just dragging this out to its logical conclusion.

There are so many things that we teach our children before they are "school" age. This reality gives many some hope that perhaps they just might be able to educate their children at home. There is much to learn, fears to overcome, books to read, conferences to attend, people to meet (support and be supported by), opposition, questions, eyes watching and a road that is already being forged by those ahead of us.
As a mother, I became a student of my children and a student of the learning process. There are different philosophies of education and different methods of educating children. The choices are there and we need to make a selection. It is up to us to be thoughtful and decisive and not just send our kids to school because that is just what you do when a kid turns a certain age.
Those of us who have challenged the status quo in the late 20th century and now in 2K are helping parents to actually think about their educational choices more thoroughly. As one of the challengers, my philosophy of education was revolutionized. For me personally, I never wore two hats relating to my children, their education was an extension of my parenting. In a number of ways, it was not easy but overall very rewarding to live life with my children during their growing up years.

No matter how you decide that your children should be educated, you need to know that you are indeed your children's first teachers. And you decide how intentional or not you want to be. You can fly by the seat of your pants, parent the way you were parented or do something different. It is when you decide to do something different that you open yourself up to hearing statements like, "You need to leave the education of your children in the hands of the professionals." For some people out there public education may be the best decision for their family. Today we still have the freedom to choose and I pray that our diversity will continue for generation to come.


Caitriona aka Catherine said...

I love to re-read a post I wrote and crinch when I read the typo's. Actually, I don't love it but I would absolutely LOVE it if someone else was commenting and pointing it out to me. "look don't your noses at homeschoolers" Hello don't you mean DOWN? not don't. Yeah. Going to look for more. ;-)

Caitriona aka Catherine said...

at the end of the post "generation" ought to be "generations" plural. (I would bet 1000 dollars that there are professional educators who are not very good spellers out there and occasionally mess up on their grammar too.)