I have grandchildren in both public and Christian schools now. Though I left the high school classroom in 2015, I care deeply about education. This morning I read a transcript from WBAL-TV (Baltimore) regarding new grading standards. Once again, the topic of how we will grade and what we will teach is up for discussion. Are we even closer to “Everyone gets an A”? How do we give students an education and not merely an agenda, and do it without an over emphasis on grades? Condoleezza Rice offers her views on the benefits of education…… but the choices of curriculum and the measurements of mastery for any given subject are two hotly debated topics.
I have met my son’s former Hawaii neighbor, an amazing nurse and home schooling mom of 7 whose husband serves as commander of a Navy submarine. Translate that to his being gone for six-month stretches! I also know of several former students of mine who now homeschool their confident, articulate, socially adept kids. I believe few students are receiving the full math and science, technology, reading/writing/researching, Western Civilization education of many homeschoolers. Another plus is the ability to present material through the worldview lens preferred at home while exposing scions to alternate views.
Ultimately, all parents bear responsibility for their children’s education. And most parents do choose to use the public school system. Doing so places the burden of oversight and worldview upon the parents. This requires time, vigilance, and diplomatic interaction with the schools. Knowing when and how to volunteer or voice concerns is quite a balancing act.
Remembering that “more is caught than is taught,” all students absorb parental attitudes. While I didn’t homeschool our boys, I was painfully aware of any of my attitudes and bad behaviors the boys picked up, particularly in the first five years. I knew the full-time teacher at home all too well! Because I reentered the teaching world, I later became their high school English teacher. We had some less than stellar moments, but they read worthy literature, by my definition since I chaired the department, and mastered expository writing well enough to earn advanced degrees. Both were told they should go back and thank the teacher who taught them to write. They did.
If your child’s school year has begun, whether in a public, magnet, classical, Christian, charter, on-line, or dual enrollment school, or if in your own home classroom, take time to stay involved and interactive. It’s worth the time to carefully consider all the educational options open to you. Wherever your children attend school, take advantage of processing times with them. You can almost count on those moments coming in their time frame, not your “How was school today?” passing comment! But your kids care about your input, rolled eyes or not! Take some time with those adorable faces; for far more than grades are at stake here.