Question: As a parent, what is my role in providing the best education for my children?
Answer: What is “best” for your child educationally is to have the most suitable environment in which he or she can best learn facts for knowledge, skills for usefulness, and receive consistent encouragement to confidently carry themselves throughout their lifetime. A few years ago I came across this definition:
Education: comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts, science, is important: to give them a religious education is indispensable: and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.
-Noah Webster’s First Edition of an American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828
Mr. Webster would not be considered politically correct today in his choice of content for this very important definition of education, but my vote is favorably cast if anyone would dare suggest its reappearance in the dictionary. This definition seems to imply that school is only a portion of the educational experience. Did you notice this appears to be directed more towards the parents than the school? Education begins when we first hold the newborn baby, not when they enter pre-school. Parents have an undeniable role in this process and I will be so bold as to say, an obligation to their children to provide a continuous supporting role as “teacher” throughout their childhood. Even though school is an important resource for learning, it is only one of the many opportunities you provide for your child’s education.
So my response to your question would be for you personally to set your own educational expectations as to how you and your family will best provide this environment in your home. Do not leave this responsibility to someone else because you, not the government, are ultimate responsibility with a school outside your home, then find one that will walk along side your expectations and goals. Schools can work with your family goals of education or they can be a turbulent storm of conflict between two ideologies.
So, how do you provide the best educational opportunity to your child? Take responsibility yourself in providing the best learning environment for your child. That starts at home and continues with the assistance of an appropriate school environment. Everyone works together and supports one another. Make the main thing the main thing. Prioritize what are the essential elements of getting your child off to a good start, remembering academic goals are only one aspect of learning. Emotionally healthy children are positioned to learn at a faster pace, so make sure you place them in an environment that cultivates that as well. Take this “immense responsibility” seriously and enjoy the results!