In nearly all of the conversations around educational transformation, we all agree we need do a better job connecting to parents and involving them in the process. And without a doubt, “we” probably are doing a much better job now than even a few years ago, partially because of the boom in digital sharing with teachers, administrators, parents and others, as well as becoming increasingly transparent with their experiences and learning.
While I like to think most posts I write have some interest for parents, I have focused several posts specifically toward parents. One post I wrote in September 2010 covered Ten Things Every Parent Can Do, including:
Being a kid shouldn’t be about beating the competition. And being a parent shouldn’t be about producing a winner by enrolling them in a busy regiment of “enhancement” activities. Let your children play, stumble and find their own way, at least some of the time.
Another post, An Insider’s Guide to Parenting, focussed on advice from our then Board,Vice-Chair (and now Chair) Cindy Dekker, including her thoughts on school work:
- let your kids fail, and let them do it at a young age so they learn what they need to do to improve
- sometimes, when they forget their lunch, they need to solve the problem on their own
- help facilitate studying, but don’t do their homework for them
- don’t close any doors — encourage your kids to take a range of courses
- don’t be so worried about the “right” school, all schools are great
This past fall, I wrote a more personal post, Some of My Parenting Wishes for this Year, where I wrote about a number of topics, including what really matters when it comes to their teachers:
Just take good care of them, help them adjust socially. And, be memorable like all of my elementary teachers were. I can point to at least one way each of my elementary teachers made a difference in my life — from my love of Bruce Springsteen to my interest in storytelling. All of our kids mention when their teachers ask about their lives outside of school, whether it is about family, sports or other interests. These little things are really the big things for our kids about school.
This summary is also a preface to a new resource I would like to highlight from Will Richardson and Bruce Dixon — Raising Modern Learners. I have recently subscribed to this blog and newsletter, and I encourage parents to do same. As a parent of four, the oldest three already in the public education system, I have often stressed my selfish interests to see schooling change. This new effort from Richardson and Dixon moves the conversation forward with fellow parents.
What I particularly like about this blog is that it is not about cheerleading — it tackles real issues. The first story I read was about parents deciding to opt out of standardized tests. While state testing was described as part of the American model of teacher evaluation, something that is not seen in BC, it was a good read about a challenging issue. For a variety of reasons, some political, some for simplicity, we take on serious topics in education in a very black and white fashion; at least, from what I have seen so far, Richardson and Dixon are approaching issues with more questions than definitive answers.
There are wonderful resources available in support of parents as their children grow through a changing, learning landscape. I know so many parent leaders I have connected with online who are passionate about learning and sharing their learning about education, hopefully resources like Richardson and Dixon will assist in that conversation and in doing a better job of connecting with parents, education transformation and sustained and ongoing engagement.