Thursday, March 28, 2013

"new" math & more (kids) to love

After spending a few hours in the classroom today & thinking about some of my friends' posts about their kids & school, I realized that there is a disconnect in the classroom-home these days.  I'm thankful for Barclay's job & our decisions on lifestyle/child rearing, which promote one of us (usually me) being in the classroom & connected to our kids' teachers as much as possible.  I know that not everyone can be there as much as we try to be, but I think more parents should try.  I do it for my understanding of L's (he's the one in "big kid school" right now, next year it'll be both) education as well as my feel for his learning environment...and more.
I'll address the learning, then get to the "more."
Langston, Zora, & Isabella at our new children's library

Several folks have commented on our kids' "new math" work/homework.  Read: what are they teaching kids these days?!  I agree that it is different from the way we learned, but that doesn't make it bad or impossible for us to connect with/help our kids.  If you see something that looks strange & you don't understand it--ask the teacher!  Ask your kid. (!)  Most of them are getting it.  And here's where I ask the "big" thing of you: take an hour or two out of your work week and go to the classroom.
Since math is taught differently, that might be the the subject to sit in on a lesson.  Then you might be able to do what I get to do sometimes & take a group of learners who need help in some certain area & help them.  With around 20+ in a class, teachers have children at all different levels (on all subjects) in the room at the same time.  If kids who need extra help can get that help (from a parent!), then teacher gets to move others along while the helper helps those needy kids catch up.

This can happen in other areas, too.  Reading one-on-one, helping with different areas of spelling, learning how to do computer research, playing a math game, just being there to help kids who get "stuck" when they are all in a large group is helpful, too.  You might not be working with your kid all the time, but you will be freeing up your kid's teacher to do his/her job even better.
Here comes the "more" part.  As you get involved and learn about your child's educators, classroom environment, materials, subject matter, specific needs, etc. you will not only become a partner in his or her education, but you will become a mentor to a small herd of other tiny people who need all the examples of caring adults they can get.
I have loved getting to know so many of L's classmates through the years.  What you  convey might be as simple as "reading can be fun," or as seemingly impossible as "you are worthy of attention."  You never know what that kid needs or why.  Encouraging and promoting that child's abilities might help them in ways you'll never know.  I think we underestimate our abilities to touch lives through the simple things.  I encourage you parents, as a parent, to be a part of your child's education as well as his or her generation.  Go to school with your kid.  Not just for a program, but to be present for a moment in a regular day. You might be the one learning--I know I sometimes am.

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