08 Apr School Year Begins: Be Involved with Your Children and Their Schools
School Year Begins: Be Involved with Your Children
and Their Schools
Posted by Carol Soelberg | August 8 , 2007
Dear Friends of the Family,
Author George Grant once uttered six words that are very important for us to remember, when he said: “Parents, be in your kids’ lives!” This is so vitally important. We need to protect, guide, teach and communicate with our school-age children each day. The school day is a time when we surrender supervision of our children to teachers, guidance counselors, coaches and the influence of other children. There is much we can do to assure ourselves that our boys and girls will be equipped to face the challenges awaiting them.
As we equip our children with the necessary items they need for school, like shoes, clothes, backpacks, notebooks, pens and pencils, let’s also take the time to equip them in how to deal with issues that could have an effect on the rest of their lives.
Drugs: All children are at risk of exposure to drugs. Research shows that young people are less likely to use tobacco, alcohol and other drugs if their parents set clear rules about not doing so. Set clear rules and discuss in advance the consequences of breaking them. For a great resource on this topic, see: Parents: The Anti-Drug
Sex: The rate of teenage sexual activity may be up, but statistics show that teens are waiting until they are older to have sexual intercourse. Abstinence-based sex education programs have shown high rates of success, but know that most schools today are teaching what is called “comprehensive sex education” programs. No matter what school your child attends, it is your responsibility as a parent to know and understand the sex education policy that your child will be exposed to. Talk to your child about your family’s values and expectations before school starts. Include a discussion on moral issues, dress, language and behavior. Reinforce high standards with your child. Urge them to remain abstinent until marriage, and talk with them about sex and the risks of STDs and pregnancy. For more information on abstinence sex education programs and the risks of sexual behavior outside of marriage see Project Reality, Abstinence Clearinghouse and The Heritage Foundation: Facts about Abstinence Education.
Internet: While serving as a useful tool in many regards, the Internet may pose significant risks for students. Pornography addiction is one major risk. Chat rooms and instant messaging pose the risk of contact with adult predators. Parental monitoring of the home computer and installation of computer filters reduce most risks. Besides placing computers in common use areas of the home and outside the child’s bedroom, visit the website Wired Safety for other great Internet resources.. Below, you will see a list of family-oriented Internet filters and a consumer review site which rates Internet filters:
Web Watcher: Rated No. 1 by Monitoring Internet Editor’s Choice Awards, Parental Control Software Reviews — 2007, and ABC News
Wise Choice Net
PC Magazine Rates Internet Filters
School choice: One of the most important decisions a parent makes is what school their child attends. Today there are more choices than ever before. In order to meet your child’s educational needs, some research and study will be needed. Whether you send your child to the typical public school, a charter school, private, parochial school or decide to home school, know what your options are and what local programs are available. Education tax credits allow families to recover some expenses incurred in choosing a non-government-run school for their child’s education. School vouchers, available in Sweden, Wisconsin, Ohio, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Maine and Vermont and elsewhere, allow parents to direct funds set aside for education by the government to send their children to a preferred school. Charter schools are public schools that are exempt from some state regulations in exchange for the guarantee that they will meet certain performance standards. Forty U.S. states and the District of Columbia have charter school laws, with 2,996 schools serving more than 740,000 children. Home schooling, though outlawed in Germany and Japan, is another possible choice for parents to consider. For additional information, see: Alliance for School Choice
Communication: Set aside time to talk with your children daily. Kids will talk to you if they know you’re going to listen, whether the topics are sex and drugs or everyday school concerns. Remember that it isn’t easy for some children to discuss difficult topics with parents, but you can help by asking questions and showing genuine interest in them. Create an environment in which your child feels safe to talk with you and to come to you for advice. Encourage your children to avoid the potential pitfalls common during their school years. Be supportive.
Final Words …
Be involved with your child and his or her school. Talk to the teachers, guidance counselors and administrators. Attend parent-teacher conferences and parent-teacher organization meetings. Review the curriculum, the books your child is required to read and especially the sexual education curriculum. Attend school board meetings and talk with board members and other parents. Become friends with the parents of your child’s friends. Know where your child is and who they are with. You can make a difference in the life of your child by showing that you care about them and their future.
Carol Soelberg, President
United Families International