This month I have been busy researching, developing and delivering training to parents of school age children. Three workshops at South Shore K-12 in Rainier Valley and Rainier Beach H.S. Successful Young Women parents and students.
These workshops allow parents to learn and share information that increases their knowledge of ways they can be more effectively engaged in supporting their children's academic achievement. We do hands on activities that parents can do with their children at home. Shared online resources available to parents, played games, discussed how to be better prepared for parent/teacher conferences and the importance of having children read out loud and practicing math. We discussed what a child misses when playing with video games or texting while riding in the car. They do not see the trees, or even the huge Mt. Rainier, they do not engage in conversation which increases their vocabulary, they do not read the names of the cars that pass them and they do not even know where they are in their own neighborhoods.
Parents do not know much about the schools their children attend, each school has a school improvement plan and most parents and unfortunately many teachers can not even tell you what the elements of the plan is. Imagine a team member of a sports team not knowing the game plan or the importance of practicing their sport every day. We seem to understand this but do not apply this to our children and their education. If a child is to do well in school, goals need to be set. Something as simple as, this week you will read 3 books and tell me about your favorite character. By Friday you will know how to spell 10 new words and their meanings. The teacher can teach the skill but the parents have to be the coach and practice the skills learned. Many parents do not know what their child should know at each grade, this is so unacceptable. We must begin to communicate with children in ways that makes them think, have them show us what they know, each child should be able to teach their parents how to do the math they learned in school.
If a child comes home from school with homework they can not do, that requires a communication with the teacher. The teacher needs to know that the child did not learn a lesson well enough to do the work sent home. Homework is not enough a child must practice and practice and practice until they are excellent in their subject matter.
That is what is on my mind today.