Kids’ schooling is one of the biggest parts of every parent’s bible. Out of their life at home, about 70% is associated with school in some way – homework assignments, report cards, extracurricular activities, meetings with teachers and more.
My schooling was a nightmare for my parents. I was not a good student (to put it mildly) and my parents really suffered for it. I was not very good in my academic studies, I had social problems, I had behavior problems and the whole school experience was very painful for me.
However, after being kicked out of school after 10th grade for failing too many subjects, I became a good student and won a scholarship for excellence. I then realized that my parents could not have made life easier for me, because they had no rules about school to guide them. They wanted me (and my siblings) to go to school because this is what everyone did and because in their mind, not having education pre-destined you to a life of sweeping streets and collecting garbage.
My personal experience contributed much to my parenting bible. As I went through college, the rules and commandments about school and studies became much clearer.
I am particularly proud of my school commandments and of having kids whose schooling is one continuous ecstasy. Yes, their schooling was not a regular one, because they lived in different places around the world, learned in special programs (some of which I ran myself), skipped grades and did other extraordinary things. But this is what schooling is for me and I am happy and proud that my schooling commandments brought my kids to think of their schooling as the best thing that has ever happened to them.
I have over 1,000 rules related to school and studying. I will share 10 commandments with you today and I hope they will give you inspiration.
- School/Day Care Center is the best place to learn social interaction – even the best mother in the world is no substitute for social interaction with other kids. Send your kids to a place with other kids as early as age 1. Do not keep kids at home with one parent or one carer. Home interaction, even with 5 siblings, cannot match up to the rich and varied social interaction needed for life.
- Academic achievements are a product of emotional intelligence – schooling is not about academic achievements but about using them to find talents and boost confidence. Find a school that focuses on your child’s physical and emotional health and wellbeing. Stay away from schools that only care about academic achievements, because they ruin the creative spirit.
- Expect your kids to have high academic achievements but stay away from perfectionism – when you expect a lot of your kids, they usually perform better, but if your expectations are too high, the pressure blocks them. How can you tell? If your child is happy with their academic achievement and you are too, you are supporting and encouraging. If your child is happy and you are not, you expect too much. Happy kids learn better. Remember that.
- Learn your kids’ communication style – kids absorb and process information in different ways and learning is not the same for everyone. If you know your child’s best way to learn, you can teach them how to learn better. Kids perform better in the subjects that are part of their communication style. Accept it! Help them accept it too.
- Your kids’ knowledge is your responsibly – never say it is the teacher’s/school’s responsibility to teach your kids. You need to make sure they can learn! You pay for the school’s services through your taxes (and/or privately) and you are therefore a client. You must make sure you get good service for your money. Do not put your kids’ future in other people’s hands. They are there to help you, not to replace you! Parents are irreplaceable!
- Grades are for teachers, not for kids – test results are not only an indication of how well a child has learned a subject but also how well the teacher has taught it. Grades are a combination of both the teacher’s and the student’s abilities and of how well they communicate their styles and needs. Never treat your kids’ report card as a way to tell them how good they are. They are always good, regardless of their grades!
- Homework is a requirement, not an option – homework is given to help the learning process. Homework must be done completely and all other activities (hobbies, friends, TV and computer games) can come after. Dedicate time for homework. Help your kids manage their assignments. Life is full of assignments (although later on, we do not call them “homework”) and the more practice they get in completing them successfully, the more successful they will be in their life.
- Reading is the most important learning vehicle – if you want your kids to have a good schooling experience, teach them to read well and help them read at enjoyment level as soon as possible. When they are learning to read, sit with your kids and read books with them so they will be at the top of the class at reading. Top of the class does not mean they get the highest scores. It means they always read at a higher level than expected for their age. Why? Because it means they will be able to absorb more information in the same amount of time.
- Teach your kids to touch-type – regardless of what the school does, teaching your kids to touch-type is your responsibly and equips them with a tool that they will need for life. I added this to my commandments during a journalism course, when I realized the speed of typing with two fingers was an obstacle to my success. I gave my kids a touch-typing program in 1st grade and told them it was Mommy’s assignment that they must complete. When Eden was in 12th grade, a group of friends came over to complete a project and the other girls typed with one finger. I then knew exactly why Eden’s scores were higher than the rest. When you type each letter separately, your level of expression drops significantly and everything takes you much longer. At that point, the carving of this commandment in my biblical tablets got deeper.
- Make an effort to find the right school for your kids rather than compromising on the local school. School is where your kids will spend many hours of their childhood life, so do not compromise on the school because of the location or price. Instead, compromise on where you live or on the type of home you live in and pick the best possible school for your kids. The best school is not the one that is famous for being highly academic but rather a school that their philosophy matches yours and will be the best value for your money (remember, you are paying anyway, either privately or though your tax).
I was very lucky to learn about school from the teacher’s and principal’s side to understand how parents can contribute greatly to their kids’ school success, but I am sure that these commandments are nothing more than common sense things that every parent can examine and find ways to incorporate in their own parenting bible.
Join me next week for the parenting commandments about money.
Until then, be a happy parent!
This post is part of the series Ronit's Parenting Bible:
- Ronit’s Parenting Bible: Who’s in Charge?
- Ronit’s Parenting Bible: Love
- Ronit’s Parenting Bible: Food
- Ronit’s Parenting Bible: Babies
- Ronit’s Parenting Bible: Change
- Ronit’s Parenting Bible: Role Model
- Ronit’s Parenting Bible: Manners
- Ronit’s Parenting Bible: Gender
- Ronit’s Parenting Bible: School
- Ronit’s Parenting Bible: Money