As this short, yet intensely busy, term comes to a close and you are faced with your children invading your time and space with the impending term break it is timely to reflect on the opportunity this gives you to compliment what school is for your child.
Children spend more time out of school than in it. As parents, and as families, we have a major influence on our child's achievement in school. When schools, parents, and families work together in the right ways, there are all kinds of benefits for everyone involved. Yet, this benefit looks different for every child and every family. Some of the considerations for you to ponder over the term break around this are detailed below.
See the individual...
All children are unique. They may be similar to some of their relatives, but, in most respects they are most like themselves, with their own temperaments, interests, talents and dispositions. We can help our children by treating them as individuals and by not assuming that they should follow the same paths or be judged against the same criteria in school.
Our children are always sending signals about who they are and it is critical for us as parents and teachers to be vigilant and to pay attention. Treating them as the individual they are helps them not struggle in school.
Life is not linear...
One of the perils of standardised education is the idea that one size fits all and life is linear. The truth is that our education system is not standardised. The New Zealand Curriculum Framework is that - a framework! It gives equal weight to developing values and key competencies for life within the context provided within eight learning areas. This broad and contextually relevant learning expectation means that we cannot and should not assume that the sort of education we may have had will inevitably be right for them. We may assume that some subjects will necessarily be more useful than others for finding a career. As the world continues to change, that may simply not be true. The best you can do is help your children develop in their different ways the general competencies needed for life and to identify the personal talents and interests that engage them most. They will create and live their own lives, as we have all done. Care as we must and try as we will, we cannot do that for them.
- inspired from the chapter 'Bring It All Back Home' Chapter 9, 'Creative Schools' by Sir Ken Robinson