by Rita Oziegbe
Being a parent, makes you the child’s first and most important teacher. The importance of the involvement of parents, family and care takers in children’s education cannot be overemphasized as the children do better, achieve more in school and feel better about their schooling. When we talk about parent’s involvement, we don’t just mean the paying of their school fees, buying of their school materials, participating in school meetings and raising funds for the school, it involves the active engagement with the child’s learning at home and at school.
No thanks to the global economic meltdown with everyone trying to make ends meet, both parents leave home very early in the morning and come home almost when the children are asleep, tired out and going straight to bed only to continue the same cycle the next day. During the weekends that parents should spend time with their children, they find themselves involved in other activities such as town meetings, club meeting and religious gatherings. Not that these are bad in themselves but that the future of those whom we claim to be doing them for, is sacrificed. With these, it is clear that more is expected of the parents if we are to be actively engaged in the children’s learning.
How then do we get started?... The following are some helpful tips;
Create a form of partnership with your child’s teachers and school staff. Meet your child’s teacher and make it known that you are interested in helping your child learn, find out the areas your child is having problems and discuss how it can be solved. Let the teacher know that he/she is free to get in touch with you should your child develop any other problem. Get to know other people who help in your child’s learning since there are many other people involve in the day to day running f the school activities and be able to control how they affect your child’s learning. If the English language they use in school is what scares you, then you can get an interpreter while you use your local language or one you are comfortable with to communicate your concerns.
Don’t just leave the rest to the teacher but take a step further by supporting your child’s learning at home. Make out time to help with their homework or other school related activities, don’t do their homework for them for it will not help them on the long run, encourage them to use the media effectively, discuss educational issues with the child, talk with the child and find out his/her areas of difficulties and offer help in terms of advice on how these difficulties can be addressed, encourage them to read and use the library but you can make it more fun by participating in some reading exercises with them. Monitor the child’s usage of the television, video games and the internet and above all; demonstrate a strong positive attitude about education to your children because they look up to you as a role model.
Engage in a kind of follow up on your child’s performance in school, get special services if your child needs one, help the child prepare for test and examinations and get to review the child’s report card each time it comes out. Your not being learned is not an excuse, you can involve other family members who are educated or get help from educated people around you. Ensure that your children attend school regularly as this also help in their performance. All these and more might seem tasking but WORTHWHILE. May God bless all the efforts we make towards our children’s success in life.