Learning and education. Learning as a life-time process that never stops. Education as a process of school. Which of two prepares us for the real life? Who has more power? Parents or School? Parents vs School…
Let’s start with school. What we have probably all learned from our experiences in life, is that school doesn’t prepare you for the real life. By knowing that, how come school systems didn’t change from when we were students? If anything, they’ve changed for the worst.
It seems that the school system has come down to only grades and competition. Kids only learn to get good grades, even more, they learn to please their parents, to get praised at home and at school. It even got this far, they get rewarded for doing good in school! They are constantly competing with each-other, against each-other. But what kids don’t know and what we, parents, are forgetting, is that the purpose of learning is not to be the best. It is that learn for yourself, recognize your potencials and learn how to use knowledge in practice.
There seems to be a common belief that the better you are in school, more opportunities you will get in life. Is it true? The way I see it, it’s your character, resourcefulness and knowing how to use your knowledge in practice, that openes the doors.
When kids start going to school, they actually don’t know the meaning of grades is. What they do understand is their parent’s REACTION to grades they are getting. So, the bad mood, stress, punishments, that are results of getting bad grades will make kids feel unsuccessful and incapable.
Parents have significant role in school process. But what is happening today is something that was never before an issue. ( I’m writing from experience with talking to other parents, listening about it and just stressing out the problem that is becoming more and more concerning ).
Homework, the basic element of school learning. What I’ve noticed is that two extremes are happening. One extreme comes from school and teachers, as some of them don’t seem to know, how much homework is too much homework. And that too much homework doesn’t motivate kids to learn more and with enthusiasm, but has the right opposite effect. Tell me, how is it normal that 7 and 8 year old kids spend more than one hour every day to do their homework? Plus extra reading and math exercises they need to be doing so they get super fast in reading and calculating. And we’re wondering why kids and young adults are all nervous and stressed and have medical problems of an elderly people. The pressure is too hard.
The second extreme comes from the parents, as homework became a tool trough which they control their kid’s popularity with the teachers and with getting good grades, making them the best. How? By doing the homework for them. Want to know, how kids see it? They feel they are not capable of doing it themselves, that they are not good enough, that you can make it better than them. Kids will eventually loose motivation, feel their own inability to do anything. And it will not stop in school. No, this will follow them later in life, when they will be unable to make decisions and unable to take responsibility for their actions. They will be passive, always waiting for solution to come to them. Sometimes parents best intentions turn into the worst ones.
I will always help my kids with homework if they need me to, I will always learn with them if they want me to. But the word is HELP not DO. A big, big difference! And what is also important, is that we need to have a positive attitude towards school, we need to deal with issues together with teachers not against them. And also, don’t blame it all on the teachers, let kids take responsibility for their actions and decisions. With good and open relationship between school and parents, I believe things can start to change for the better.
We as parents have to be involved in the process of education but in a way where we know how to motivate our kids. It is our job to teach them to express emotions, make them strong personalities with a sense of responsibility and ability to make decisions and stand for themselves.
We as parents have to guide our children, provide them information, not force it.
Encourage them, give them challenges.
Setting the goals with them not just for them.
Setting boundaries, because boundaries make it easier for them to manage their decisions.
Teach them discipline and hard work. If we criticize, let’s criticize the behaviour not their personality. A big difference that shows in their self-esteem and confidence.
Comunication and acceptance. Kids need to feel they have our support. Let them express their feelings, not just joy but also sadness, anger, concern, fear.
Some wisdom from parents to kids:
Have goals and challenges in your life.
Work hard to achieve them.
Always finish what you start.
Feel proud of what you achieve!
It’s OK to fail. It’s OK to fall. Never be ashamed or afraid of failure.
Never be ashamed to ask for HELP!
Take responsibility. Stand behind your decisions. Admit your mistakes.
We are here for you. Always. No matter what.
So, who won? Parents, right? But with victory comes a whole lot of responsibility and hard work. I sometimes get completely overwhelmed and terrified by it. For me, this is where the real (and the hard) parenting begins.
We, parents are teachers No.1. No school can teach our kids how to survive in the world. Parents have to. School teaches languages, maths, biology,…the knowledge foundation on which our kids build their professions in life. But how they use this knowledge in real life is our job. I call it “School of life”. It’s a school where we remain scholars all our lives.