Why I Don’t Depend on My Children’s Teachers to Educate Them

Education begins at home and I applaud the parents who recognize that they – not someone else – must take responsibility to assure that their children are well educated.

Ernest Istook

Let me start off by saying, this is not about me being unhappy with my children’s teachers. In fact, I couldn’t be happier with the education my kids receive at school. Their teachers are and have been absolutely wonderful and over the top fabulous at what they do!

This blog is about our role, my husband and I, in the grand scheme of our children’s education. Truthfully, I see us as kind of a big deal.

Let me tell you why:

Quick fact: Did you know kids spend WAY more time at home than at school?  Of course we know that right? But, let me show you the numbers:

900 hours at school per year Vs. 7800 hours at home per year

Jim Trelease The Read Aloud Handbook

Quite a difference, right?  (Although, I know there are some days it seems they are home a lot more than 7, 800 hours!) But, based on this fact, we have to ask ourselves, “Which teacher has the bigger influence?”

Of course, it is the teacher who has more time with the child. And yes, when I say teacher, I mean you and me…the parent. We are our child’s first and forever teacher.

Growing up, we spent a lot of time in Illinois. Coming from Miami, Florida, I have to say it was a shock to our systems in many ways. We had never seen a snow plow in our lives and quickly learned they can be your best friends or your worst enemy! But, it was a great place for our family to be and a great place for the three of us girls to grow up. The winters alone forced our family to be close and spend a lot of time together!

As a family, we would eat dinner together for hours, play games, hold bb gun  shooting contests in the hallway (did I mention the long winters?), build skateboards, our dad made stilts to walk on around our culdesac, ride the train into Chicago and see plays, visit museums, and watch the Cubs play. My dad loved to bring weird food home and force us to eat it so we would know a variety of the foods out there people actually eat.  My parents read to us, talked with us, and discussed with us the world’s events.

My sisters and I were very fortunate to have two fabulous teachers at home.

There’s No Right Way or Wrong Way

If you lift off the roof to any other house, they probably each look a little different in how they do things. I think that is good thing. Some houses have families who love music and play many instruments together. (Our mom tried with us, but finally my dad got tired of hearing us crying over the piano and told my mom she should be the one to take lessons.) Each family has different interests, personalities, and traditions, but under each roof we need to understand the value of an education. However, education doesn’t just happen within the classroom walls.

That’s where you and I come in to the scene.

Five Ways My Husband and I Are Involved In Our Children’s Education

  1. We are our children’s first and constant teacher. 

The minute my husband and I brought home our first newborn, we suddenly became our son’s first teachers. Think of all the things our kids learn the first five years of their lives from us! They learn how to talk, how to walk, how to enjoy a book on our laps, and so much more! All of that teaching doesn’t stop the second we drop them off at kindergarten either, does it? We will continue to be their constant present teacher as they continue throughout school. Again, we’re kind of a big deal…we don’t go away!

  1. We are to teach our children how to be a critical thinker.

Critical thinkers are skeptical, active not passive (they ask questions and analyze), and they are open to new ideas or perspectives. The world needs more critical thinkers, honestly. In our home, especially at the dinner table, all things can and will be discussed. The dinner table is one of the best places to raise critical thinkers! It is a safe place to voice one’s opinions and learn from others while learning how to hold a discussion, too.

  1. We are to make sure our children are lifelong learners.

A lifelong learner is someone who never stops learning. At 88, my grandfather signed up for a computer course. He was the epitome of a lifelong learner. The best way to raise a lifelong learner is to be one yourself. Make sure you are always learning new things and sharing what you have learned with your children. They will learn best by your example and your passion to be a lifelong learner.(For more on this check out here.)

  1. We will form a partnership with our children’s teachers.

When we drop our kids off at kindergarten, our job is nowhere near finished. In fact, it has just begun, but now we have a new partner – our child’s teacher. It is up to us, to help build that partnership and support the learning at home that is taking place at school. Those little reading books that come home every night? We will find the time to read them with our child. Ask your teacher what reading strategies he or she is teaching at school so you can use them at home, too. (For more ideas on strategies besides sound it out, check those out here.)

  1. We will make sure we bridge the gap between home and school.

When we drop off our children at school, especially kindergarten, our children enter a brand new big world. New building, new faces, new rules, new supplies, and new classrooms they will spend eight hours in each day. It’s a different world than home. All of a sudden there are twenty other children and one teacher, lines to stand in, rules to follow….it really is so different than home. Our job as parents is to try to bridge those two worlds together so they don’t seem so separated. I will learn the Principal’s name, the secretary’s name, the P.E. teacher’s name along with the Art and Music teacher’s name. I will try to learn as much as I can about my child’s new world, so when he or she is trying to tell me about their day, I can be even more engaged and ask even more questions to learn more about their day. We shouldn’t keep the two worlds separate.  

So, parents, it seems we never get any downtime, right? But it is our job to educate our children. To teach them to be critical thinkers and lifelong learners and who better to do it than the ones who know them the very best and the ones who have the most time with them. This is a buck we cannot pass…we are the ones equipped to do it right. Let’s be faithful teachers, Mom and Dad.

For a printout of ways to be more intentional with your child’s education check here! Please leave a comment on ways you are intentional with your child’s education. We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Be A Brainy Yak!



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