It has been a long time debate in households, when is the right time to no longer ‘meddle’ in your children’s school on-goings. More appropriately, do you ever just stop being an advocate for your child, whether they need your help for something that involves a teacher, or when they are having trouble with other students. When do you say when?
When your child is in first, second and third grade, communication from parent to teacher is a must, but as the children become older, when should you step out of the equation and let the children ask for their own help? When your child comes home and is struggling with a concept, and even though you might try your hardest, you are unable to actually help your child, is it at that point that you reach out to the teacher and notify them that the student is struggling and then ask for help?
I actually think this varies from student to student and teacher to teacher. Personally I have found that 2-way communication between a teacher and a parent is important when a student has a particular set of difficulties at school, but, when there are no problems, my way would be to not even have any communication with the teacher. Is there a middle ground? I am not sure.
I think up to third grade, again, this is just my opinion, kids still really depend on their parents for help, guidance and school work. After a student enters into 4th grade, unless there are real learning issues, which would have already been addressed, my thought process is there is no real need to get involved beyond open house and parent-teacher conferences. I like to think of this as not stirring the pot! Is it possible however, that there are times, no matter what grade the student is in, as a parent you might have to jump on in and be your child’s advocates? Perhaps when a teacher inputs a grade incorrectly on the computer and you have the paper and the grade, or when a teacher offers help, but does not show up for the appointment? When things are out of the realm of control of the student, that is when I do believe a parent should steps in.
Is there any benefit to the child if their path is placed in their hands by 4th grade? I personally think, and again, this is my opinion, that when there are questions about homework, or problems that can’t be solved, the student should definitely make the first initiative to ask the teacher for help, on their own. This makes the student accountable, but it can also work against the student if they are quiet, shy, embarrassed or just plain lazy, as their questions and problems may never get addressed. As the children learn to ask questions of the teachers, they become independent of always asking you, to step up for them, which may lead them to be able to advocate for themselves down the road. I do believe that a strong child develops as they fend for themselves, but they must know if they falter or can not handle the situation on their own, you are there to back them up and get the help they need. This is a very generic statement but it applies to creating more self-confident, strong, independent children. Imagine the frugality of a child gaining independence; what follows is strength, confidence and the ability to handle other varying situations that arise without you by their side! Priceless.