Who’s in Charge of My Child’s Education?
When I had my first child I couldn’t wait for him to be old enough to go to school. I couldn’t wait for the state to take him off my hands so I could have some time to myself! Life was just going to get so much easier when someone else took care of my kid! But then, after a few formative years and wonderful mom and son time, I wasn’t so sure I was ready to send him away to spend so much of his time with someone else.
He went off to kindergarten, and I was happy to have a little bit of time to myself, but of course I still wanted to do some special activities with my boy. As kindergarten was only a couple hours a day, there was enough time to plan visits to the library, local museums, or the park. But then came the full day of school. He was now gone 7.5 hours a day! That put him with other people more than he was with me during waking hours! I decided to create events so we could spend time together. Not only was it more difficult to squeeze these outings in because school took up so much time, I found that when I planned a trip to the planetarium, that the second grade was already going! I planned an outing somewhere else, then found out the second grade was doing that, too! What was my part in this? Why was he able to create special memories with his classmates and teacher, and not with his mom? I felt like I’d been replaced by the education system.
Then, someone reminded me that as a parent I am in charge of my child’s education. Oh yeah, sure, I’m in charge. Wait. What? Me? Not the state? I’m in charge?
That put a whole new twist on things. When I realized that yes, I’m in charge of my child’s education whether it be public, private, charter, home, or whatever, I could actually feel some control over it. In my case, I choose to let the state educate my child, but I closely follow what they do. I volunteer as much as I am able and also supplement as I can. If there’s a problem, I quickly communicate it because I am in charge of my child’s education and need my standards met.
I still have concerns about some of the activities at the school and find it difficult finding time to do extracurriculars I find important because the kids are away for so long each day. For example, I like that the kids have P.E., and know they enjoy it, but part of me would love to have my daughter in dance. I’m not one to overschedule, so I just don’t have her in dance. Another example is that I think it’s great the kids have music, and they’re learning in that class, but at the same time, it sure would be nice to have them in piano. But again, I’m not a fan of being too busy, so we just don’t do piano.
Because our school is doing quite a good job, sometimes I feel it enables me to do less as a parent, and that makes me sad. Obviously I’m still trying to figure it all out, but at least when I realize ultimately I’m the one responsible, it motivates me to be involved and aware.
- How does your perspective change when you realize you are in charge of your child’s education?
- How do you balance the full school day with extracurriculars?