5 Tips for a More Meaningful Education for Your Child
From the moment a newborn’s cries are heard, parents become their child’s first teacher—and that does not stop when their child goes to school. In fact, guiding children through their school experience is one of the most important aspects of being a parent.
The first step to doing so effectively involves gaining a fundamental understanding of how individual kids learn. Reflecting on questions that reveal children’s struggles, interest, strengths and weaknesses offers parents a great deal of perspective. These could include:
Does my child need a lot of guidance?
Are they only engaged in subjects that interest them beyond the classroom?
Do they know how to ask for help?
How do they express their anxieties or frustrations?
Are they building healthy relationships with their peers and with teachers?
What excites them when they come home at the end of the day?
That last one is particularly poignant. In other words: what fuels their kid’s soul in a way that makes learning light, and fun?
These are just a few of the many questions that moms and dads can, and should, ask when considering the ideal learning environment for their kids. Being able to answer these questions from a reflective, honest perspective enables parents to more carefully select a school that will be best suited for their individual child. Children are like snowflakes—each one is different and unique.
American society has moved beyond a time when enrolling children in their local school of residence is the most suitable fit for their educational needs. Which leads us to wonder:
Why do so many parents default to enrolling their child in their neighborhood school?
Do parents know that they have a right to choose the best school for their kids?
What role does, and could technology play in bringing the K-12 education system into the 21st century?
Advice is often conflicting…but this is OK. Remember, none of us has all of the answers. For example, don’t wait for your child to struggle in school to get involved. On the flip side, don’t assume that if a child earns As and Bs that this is indicative of their readiness for college or the workforce.
We live in a rapidly changing society. Technology is not the sole indicator of a ‘good’ school; instead, it brings to scale authentic differentiated instruction. It allows for customized learning. And perhaps most importantly, it meets students wherever they happen to be on their educational journey.
Not only can technology be used for more personalized instruction, it also accelerates whole child development.
It doesn’t merely represent a tool, but a discipline to be cultivated (with many benefits to be reaped) over the course of a lifetime. Because of this, digital citizenship must be a priority for young students in order for them to be able to access and adapt to the complete collected world knowledge with a few clicks. Innovative instructional approaches teach them critical skills how to advocate for themselves, think critically, work independently, and collaborate in an increasingly tech-rich environment.
Despite this, have you ever heard a friend or colleague say something like…
“Technology does not belong in school.”
“Robots might take over classrooms and replace teachers.”
“Kids have enough screen time—bringing digital tools into classes will further exacerbate this situation.”
“Online learning does not allow for the much needed socialization that kids thrive on to grow up and develop appropriately.”
Each of these statements is based on a faulty assumption that limits the ability for parents to creatively reimagine the best school for their child.
Parents have a responsibility to research, investigate, question, and evaluate how and why new modalities of learning might be precisely what their child needs to be successful.
Simply relying upon historical educational experiences from when we were growing up is an ineffective way to choose the best school for today’s youth. Social conditions have dramatically transformed what school looks like and how it needs to function in 2019.
So where are parents to go from here? Managing the myriad responsibilities of life is often a challenge in and of itself. Adding one more ‘to do’ to the ever-growing list that moms and dads carry might not seem feasible.
But we believe that it is easier than people realize.
There are several things that you can do, today, to make education a top priority in your life—and a meaningful experience for your child.
1. Know your child
Observe how your child learns best, find out their passions, and what excited them.
2. Challenge your perceptions
Think about why you believe what you do about the K-12 education system—research to find out if your assumptions are true, or if they’re based upon your personal experiences.
3. Be open to change
Perhaps the most difficult tip, this is undoubtedly the most important one. Information is power, and by staying open-minded, you can learn, and grow, into new opinions and mindsets.
4. Learn about schooling options
Never before has our country seen such a wide array of educational options for kids. Make it a point to read, explore, and learn more about what is available for your child.
5. Remain involved
Advocating for your child will change your life. Don’t wait until a negative situation happens to act. Your proactive, engaged participation in your child’s education is an investment that will pay off in ways that you cannot even imagine.
We want to hear from you!
What does the future of school look like? What types of experiences have your family had that excited you about the potential impact of technology in schools? There is great energy that emerges from being a part of a movement of future-ready citizens who see the value of education.
Join us for our next Twitter chat:
Thurs, March 28 at 3pm PST / 6pm EST
To join us, log into Twitter and search for the hashtag #futureofschool.