For Parents Of Children Returning To School

In just a few days, children in our locale who attend kindergarten — 12th grade will be returning to school. As is often my custom, I would like to present some things in my column today that will hopefully, in some way, aide parents in helping to prepare and motivate their children to have a productive and successful school year. I know that I have talked and shared some parent and student information before in my column, so please do not consider me neither forgetful nor repetitious. Having been on both ends of the equation, first as a student and then as a parent, I have gleaned much experience and knowledge about both roles. To add to this fact, my wife and daughter are educators. From my perspective, the failing of children in school (for the most part, but not always) is due to the failing of parents at home. I am not writing this to condemn or chide parents whose children are not doing well in school academically or behaviorally. Be it far from me to forget my failings as a parent of school-aged children and cast a stone of criticism at anyone. If I had it to do all over again, when my daughter and son were attending school, I would be a better and more supportive father to them as students, especially in the area of studying and homework. The following are but a few of the points and advice that I will present to all parents, grandparents, and guardians of children returning back to school.

Take Your Children’s Education Seriously
Perhaps one of the failings in too many parents concerning their children’s education is that they do not understand the importance of their children getting a quality education. This lack of being unable to comprehend the value and necessity of an education has caused many to not take it as seriously as they should. Arguably, in my estimation, after taking the appropriate steps to secure your assurance of eternal life through Jesus Christ, getting a quality education is one of the essentials of life. With this being set forth, I encourage all parents to take their children’s education very seriously and do all they can to assure that their children will perform to the best of their ability and opportunity.

Start the Year
off Right
I believe that in order to end well, one must start well (though there perhaps are some exceptions to this rule). Do not wait until the second semester or any later period of the school year to become fully included in the entire process and occupation of your children’s school year. Get to know their teachers because effective teaching requires collaboration and teamwork between parents and teachers. Find out their curriculum and whether or not they are taking the right courses that will prepare them for the next level of their educational and vocational pursuit and advancement. Do not let them take easy cake-walk courses that will not challenge their intellect nor stimulate their creativity and imagination. It is far better to make C’s in such subjects that will afford them a foundation for the next level than A’s in one that is both unnecessary and a breeze to master.

Stay on Top of Them about Homework and Studying
There are only a handful of students from kindergarten – 12th grade that are self-disciplined and motivated to the point where there is no need to make sure as a parent that they are studying and doing their homework. I would venture to say that perhaps over eighty to ninety percent of students need the oversight, prompting, and pushing of parents and guardians to remain consistent and serious about their homework and studying. When I was growing up and attending Gordon School (from 1st – 12th grade), I was in the category that put little time and effort in studying and homework and it showed in my G.P.A. and being prepared for the next level. When I enrolled in college at American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts, my chickens came home to roost. I had to struggle to catch up and at times felt lost and out of place academically because I had failed to develop good study habits when I was at Gordon School. I had managed to make it off classroom filibustering, sheer intelligence, and a good memory. I will not lay the blame on neither of my parents for my laziness and negligence back then. However, I believe if they would have encouraged and pushed me a little harder, I would have not only been better prepared for college, but would have been arguably the valedictorian of my class. Nevertheless, it is what it is and by the grace of God, I have not done too badly. Parents don’t fail your children by being slack when it comes to assuring that they do their homework and study, even if it means getting them some tutoring or other help.

The Conclusion
of the Matter
Parents, if your children are going to do well this year in school, then you must put your foot down about who is in charge and limit their social media and television time. Be very careful, if they are involved in extracurricular activities like band, football, and other athletic teams that they do not forget the primary reason why they are going to school. To be perfectly honest, only a few of the boys who played on the many championship teams of the Dillon Wildcats over the past eight years have benefitted from playing high school football after they graduated. To the ignorance of most, the band has a far better record of students going to college than the football team or any other athletic teams. This is not meant to be criticism or an indictment against our coaches or football program; it is a statement of fact.
At the end of the day, the responsibility for preparing students for the next level is primarily the responsibility of parents and guardians and not coaches or even teachers. Parents, if your children are involved in any extracurricular activities and their grades are substandard, do not hesitate to snatch them off the team, band, or any other group until their grades can reflect their abilities. Also, please make sure that they are not acting out in school with bad conduct and get to know who their buddies and close friends are. Children, like adults, will not do well when they hang out with the wrong people (those who do not want to achieve anything in life). Finally, make sure that your children get at least eight hours of sleep each night and do not send them out hungry. If you do your part, to the best of your ability, your children should have a productive and successful school year.