In an age where the word "accountability" is swung around like a baseball bat at Fenway Park, it is interesting to note which groups of people are actually struck with the word and which are not. You hear about teacher accountability all the time, but what about parent accountability? When teachers are certified, we are told that we are in loco parentis, or in the place of a parent. But what are the parent's responsibilities when it comes to educating their children. What would parent accountability look like if it were to be measured? If you had to create The 10 Common Core Educational Standards for Parents, what would they look like? I decided to do just that. This is Part A of my list. Stay tuned for Part B soon.
1. Make education a priority over extracurricular activities.
It is essential that parents place a priority on education. So many parents place priorities on sports and extra activities that they forget that an education is what their children really need to get ahead in life. If the parent places priority on the extra activity, they are teaching their child that the extra activity is more important than education. This may very well come back to haunt those parents later in life when they cannot convince their child that education is important.
2. Help your children with their homework. If it is too hard for you, find someone who can help.
The parent must set up home time to complete homework. Create a desk space and a consistent time frame for completing homework. Hold the child accountable for completing homework before extra activities can be attended. I am sure everyone has heard of the TV show, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader. If the homework that is brought home with your child is too difficult for you, think about that show and get some help. Homework can be hard and there is no reason to be embarrassed about not knowing how to answer the questions. As the parent, what you can do is help the child learn how to find the answers either using the internet or asking someone who may know. There is never anything wrong with asking for assistance. It is a good lesson for your child to see you using resources.
3. Create "Teachable Moments" for your children.
Be legitimately interested in helping your child learn. If you are active in your child's education, then they see the value in their efforts. A teachable moment is when out of nowhere an opportunity presents itself to teach your child something. For example, you are cooking and you are adding ingredients. Use that opportunity to ask your child about fractions and get them involved in using the measuring cups. Use vacations to work on geography; make your child pay for dinner with cash and see if they can figure out if they got the right amount of change, or figure out a 15 percent tip. There are so many teachable moments out there. Don't miss them.
4. Support your child's teachers. If you disagree with them, discuss it privately away from your children.
Your child needs to learn about and respect authority. If they see and hear you not supporting their teacher, then the teacher will lose credibility in the eyes of your child. Your child has now learned that teachers are wrong and can be talked about in a negative way. You and the teacher must be a team. If you disagree with the teacher, discuss it with them privately and away from ear shot of your child. You entrust your child to this person for eight hours a day. You want your child to perceive the teacher with the highest amount of respect.
5. Require your children to be better than you were at their age
I always thought of this as a good indicator of the success of a parent: Are their children held to a higher standard. Not that this is always attainable, but none the less, a good practice for which to strive. I fear that a lot of times, especially in the urban sectors, parents will say that they did the same thing their child is doing and it didn't hurt them. Typically this is a comment related to poor behavior. My thought is always, "Don't you want better for your children?" Didn't you learn the lesson that poor behavior leads to negative consequences? Parents need to hold their children up to a higher standard, if for no other reason than to improve our society.
The remaining 6 through 10 will come out in part B of this posting. In the meantime what would be in your Common Core Standards for Parents?
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