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Friday, October 19, 2007

Walking the Path of Education

It has always seemed strange to me that in our endless discussions about education so little stress is laid on the pleasure of becoming an educated person, the enormous interest it adds to life. To be able to be caught up into the world of thought -- that is to be educated. – Edith Hamilton
Last week I provided some thoughts on how to start your child on the right foot in school and ended with the suggestion providing a safe, loving environment, free of abuse is the start to a great education. This week I continue that argument by suggesting that as your student moves through the education process, it is always vitally important to provide an environment conducive to learning.
In order for educational success to become a reality, you MUST be involved in your child’s education. By this I mean: going to EVERY parent-teacher conference and open house (how else will you know what is going on in your child’s classroom), making sure your child fills out their agenda during the middle school years (if they learn how in middle school, they are likely to continue in high school), checking your child’s homework every night (if you check EVERY night in elementary school you can begin to spot check in middle school) and making sure they get enough sleep and eat breakfast before school.
I suggest a place to do homework free of TV, game playing machines, IPods, and other distractions. I realize that kids are masters of multitasking, but research shows that when children, or adults, are distracted by the radio or TV; we do not remember information as well as when we are totally focused on what we are trying to learn.
Part of an environment conducive to education, is to have a family attitude that education comes first and is a life-long activity; education is celebrated and openly supported in the home. Practical suggestions are: teachers are spoken of with respect, believing being educated is something to be aspired to, post high school education of some type is assumed and homework is done shortly after getting home from school. If a short break is needed to get a snack or do a quick chore, fine, but hit the books as quickly as possible.
After school jobs should be allowed only with the utmost care and everyone needs to remember, while in high school, education comes first. So far we have not allowed our kids to work anymore than doing a little babysitting or a short term odd job or two in the summer. We have gone to great pains to stay focused that behind becoming an ethical and moral person, education is their only job. To that end we hold them to doing their best in school, athletics and outside activities; all of which have become important to university admissions and scholarship opportunities. If you demonstrate in your own life that education is important, give your children’s teachers the support they need, provide a safe and loving environment to learn in, and continually monitor your children’s education process, your children will obtain the best education possible and will likely find the success you dream for them.

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