Whose Responsibility is Your Child's Education?

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ElectronBlue's picture
ElectronBlue
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Joined: 27/07/2011 - 10:11
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Mmmmm cake!

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JacquiL
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I had a lovely piece of birthday cake earlier, yummmmm

lizzieop

It has been very interesting reading the posts here. My daughter is 8 and was not reading before she went to school. I have read to her every day from about six months. She has only really caught up with her reading in the last year and is now reading fluently and very excited about books. I think a large part of her being behind was me taking the wrong approach. I started worrying such a lot about her being behind I became very serious about it. However, we now read together every night for at least an hour and it's part of our cuddle time and hugely enjoyable. Sometimes she reads, sometimes I read and sometimes we read independently lying in bed. She reads all sorts of material now and this presents obvious learning opportunities. We have always visited the library, not just for taking out books but for magic shows, book club etc so she views the library as fun.

I do feel a complete responsibility for my child's learning and this has included finding a school that I think assists her learning style. She is usually very reticent about learning new things and can get quite nervous. She is naturally very cautious. Regarding swimming, she was scared of the water for a long time until we went to a party with friends who had their own pool. Seeing some older children swimming she felt embarrassed about not being able to swim and decided she was now ready for lessons. She progressed quickly through the lessons and now enjoys demonstrating her dancing on the bottom of the pool. I think there is value in her making the decision to learn to swim and then achieving her aim.

I do have a problem with the idea of 'bright' or 'dim' children. Children can often be articulate but unable to read or write before other children. I see this in my work when dealing with children with learning/behavioural difficulties.

One of the best ways I have found to assist my daughter's learning is by being interested in learning myself and challenging myself so she has the opportunity to see that mummy sometimes finds new things frustrating or difficult. We talk every day about any worries she has and if she mentions anything she's worried about at school I offer help. I am also lucky enough to have the time to go to the school once a week to hear the children in her class read. This also means that we have to adapt our relationship so that she and others in the class are comfortable with me being there and I can learn about what to support at home if necessary.

I sometimes wish I had started the reading earlier with her because it does aid confidence so much. However, I didn't. The main thing is a love of reading and again I have started reading a lot more myself to model the behaviour and I think this has been valuable.

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Hello there and welcome Lizzieop, great first post thank you. I agree that parental involvement can make a huge difference

Jobowen

Hi - I'm new... gulp... but thought I might just throw this into the mix:

"it takes a village to raise a child", wise proverb, African origin.

I'm a Mum (2xDDs 11 & 9) and a teacher (and so is DH!) - and this proverb really sums up my belief. DH and I have primary care and responsibilty for our DDs - and so love them more than is possibly possible and want everything for them: academically, aspirationally, professionally and financially (eventually) but - most importantly to us - socially. A previous poster wrote about the rugby coach, brown owl, piano teacher etc and I couldn't agree more... they are our children's "villagers" in our modern, western world.

However, not much has been written about 'friends' (I don't mean just 'other children' I mean meaningful friendships - as is appropriate at each age/stage) - they too are our children's "villagers"... they learn so much from shared experiences, watching others achieve (or fail) and supporting friends through good and bad times.

As a parent surely we have to be ultimately responsible? And from what I've read, this forum is choc-a-bloc-packed-full of responsible, loving parents who all want their children to have fab lives - in a myriad of different ways!

But isn't our greatest responsibility to choose wisely; and then encourage and support the responsibilities that we have entrusted to others (teachers, brown owls, football coaches, violin teachers) as our children sally forth and experience everything we can offer?

ooh have just read what I've written and am now worried about tone... please don't think I'm being patronising (occupational hazard??) ............ Smile

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michael admin
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Joined: 09/11/2009 - 12:03
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Hi Lizzie and Jo, welcome to the forum. Many thanks for joining in and sharing your thoughts - it's great to see new people pitching in.

OliversArmy's picture
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Joined: 26/11/2009 - 13:45
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Jobowen I do like that quote; I believe it is more than one person who shapes and defines a Childs education. As a parent we have ultimate control over where they go for the first few years, then once they attend nursery, swim club or any other activity, we essentially hand that role to the person in charge there for a while, hoping they'll do their best. It's more than one person, thus more than one individual's responsibility.

Hi and welcome btw, and you too Lizzie.

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I made the choice NOT to teach ES to read before he went to school - I felt that reading is something best left to someone trained in how to teach it, and I did not want to risk confusing him by starting to teach him one way, to meet a possible different method at school. As it is, he picked up reading and spelling quite quickly, and is now a prolific reader (but only in bed!) so I have followed the same method with YS as well.

The OP appears to have a very wide concept of education though, including many thigns I would class as bringing up your child properly, rather than education, and I think this may be where some of the issues have arisen. Academic teaching I will generally leave to school, albeit with full parental support, additional resources, homework help and help in explanations if he doesn't follow what school is teaching.

Other interests he will learn outside of school,whether from myself and my huisband, or by other people he comes into contact with. Learnign is an ongoing process, that can happen in any environment. Education, especially that leading to specific exams, should be school-led, albeit with the parent monitoring and acting as necessary.

Tekkani

Back from my 'I'll leave this alone' break! Smile

Yes, I do have a wide concept of education. I believe 'education' covers everything that one learns. Not specifically academic subjects (as I'm sure people who are sportspeople, for example, would consider themselves 'educated' in their field), nor just subjects covered in school (after all, most schools don't teach latin but I think we'd all consider someone who learnt latin to be getting an 'education'). Learning to wee in the potty (oh, my Christ, I just typed that as 'wii' and had to edit it, proving I've been chatting on the games thread too much this morning) is an education, so is telling the time and tying your shoelaces.

Some of the more recent (and seemingly, more reasoned) comments on the thread give some nice thoughts. I like the African proverb and I agree with it too (despite some people reading the wrong thing from my earlier words), but any village hopefully includes the parents to the child, and I don't think that the parents should shirk any responsibility to teach the children.

I'm interested that Fredd believed herself the 'wrong' person to teach her own children to read. I don't think that conflicting ways of teaching are a problem, but more that they are complimentary. I have learned many many things in my life, and I've been able to follow multiple ways of looking at the same thing. In fact, I'd think being able to look at things in multiple ways makes you much more likely to learn it - perhaps one of these systems is easier for the child to follow, but how do you know which one until you try it? I've taught maths concepts to quite a few children (and adults) and have found that the ways people view numbers are so very varied that there's no way a single system could possible work for everyone. In fact, it's thoughts like this that have me believing (as I still do) that a school, having to cater to so many children, cannot possibly be teaching in a 'right' way for more than a few percent of those students. If there are (using random thoughts) ten different ways to explain a concept, and that for each of these ways there's a way that'll be perfect for each child (which is a huge assumption, I know), then in a class of thirty, it's likely that only three of them are in the right place. Twenty seven children are being taught in a way that isn't optimal.

When you teach your child yourself, you can run through different methods until you hit the right one (this is also true if your child is taught by a tutor, too, of course). You understand the child far better than anyone else (at least, it is hoped that you do) and you have more time to teach them the things. While I don't want to run off into the home learning arena with this thought, I do think that parents are the best placed to teach their children.

Of course, all this relies on the fact that the parent CAN teach, having both the knowledge and the confidence, but should this not be the case? No one balks at teaching their child to dress themselves and says 'I'm not qualified for that'. No one sidesteps teaching their child to go to the loo and says 'I don't have the confidence for that'. Yet they sidestep teaching their child to read, to count, to swim, to dance... Why why why?

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Are you a qualified swimming teacher? Dance instructor? Gymnast? French teacher? Horse rider? If so, great, get on with it and save yourself a fortune. However most parents don't have endless time and experience to teach their children these things, so delegate to other people who do have more knowledge and experience.

Besides, going to such activities also brings your child into contact with different social groups that you can't provide at home.

It's not side-stepping, it's giving your child experiences whilst acknowledging that you don't (shock horror) know everything. It's allowing them to learn from other people; a pretty important skill once they start school.

But let me guess, you ARE all of the above, and more!

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