Friday, April 8, 2011

Getting Involved in my Child’s Education and School- Is there a Difference? By Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Getting Involved in my Child’s Education and School- Is there a Difference? By Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Yes, there is a difference; a Parent who has a child that attends school can be involved in his/her child’s education without being involved at and/or with his/her school. Not being clear or understanding the differences between the two or what each encompasses often adds to the conflict of schools and others’ expectations of Parental Involvement in Education and with schools.

A Parent being involved in his/her child’s education can entail overseeing, assisting and providing learning experiences outside the classroom and can preclude direct involvement, contact or interaction with the child’s school. Such can encompass helping the child with his/her homework; teaching the child a subject or skill; taking the child to the zoo to learn about animals; planting a flower garden and teaching the child various aspects of planting and growing things; fishing, or the art of researching and collecting information via the Internet. Education takes place through exposure, observation and practice, not to mention the attainment of the many virtues and attributes which are necessary in life. The Parent does not directly interact or involve him/herself with the child’s school; nevertheless, he/she provides an Education to and educational experiences for the child.

When schools refer to Parental Involvement; such are two-fold and their expectations of Parental involvement encompasses the following:
Ÿ  The child should be presented to the school in a position to learn. Such entails a child arriving at school disciplined, properly fed, clothed and with the necessary tools/supplies ready to learn. However, there is often a “far cry” or vast difference between (what the school wants) expectations v. reality (what it gets).
Ÿ  Parental Involvement in the form of support of and/or to the school. Such usually entails: 
            A. Support of the child- the Parent’s support is first and foremost to the child and secondary to the school. The Parent may attend special school events, school functions, Parent-Teacher Conferences, etc.
            B. Support of the school- the Parent may assist with fundraising efforts on behalf of the school, accompany students on field trips, etc.; he or she provides limited support and generally only at the request of the school.
            C. Volunteerism on behalf of the school- the Parent may coach a school team, serve as liaison between the school and an outside entity, head up a Parent-School organization, etc.
            D. Volunteerism inside the school- the Parent actually spends time on a regular basis inside the school, interacts with various sectors within the education setting and perform a host of volunteer duties in and around the school.

If the goal is to get Parents involved in their children’s Education and/or Schools, should not all concerned and involved individuals and sectors understand the difference between a Parent’s involvement in his/her child’s education and involvement in or with his/her child’s school, as well as what each entails or encompasses?

Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Author & Founder
Parents Taking Charge in Education

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