Blog, Inspiration Philosophy

Does Learning Stop “At The Bell”?

What Role Do Parents Play In The Education Process?

While teachers are professional educators, parents play a central role in the development of their children. This is not just formal education, but developing a winning portfolio that will garner attention and opportunities. In other words, it matters how you relate to your children, in and out of the house. Parents do not need to be experts at every subject, simply the willingness to share in their curiosity. Maybe you cannot answer your daughter’s question about something obscure, but you can read about it together and discuss it. You can even switch roles, with the child teaching the parent something that they learned in class or on a field trip. Enthusiasm goes a huge way, even an affirming nod or smile. 

Children idolize their parents, being their first source for wisdom, experience and guidance. Without any other reference point, youngsters look to their mom and dad for example, whether it be speech or action. The cues do not to be overt, with body language communicating intention and a willingness to participate. Exploring together should be the jewel of your week, the metaphorical cherry on your cake. Children know when you are present and when your mind is elsewhere. 

Parents need to work hard to provide for their family, leaving family time reserved for the weekend and holidays. Some parents have alternative schedules, where one (or both) parents stay home full time. While this can be a benefit–if the time is used properly–it can also be wasteful and counterproductive. Working parents do have additional barriers but this is not unlike any other parent in the modern, industrial world.  This is not to say that weekend time cannot be managed, perhaps with a little bit of scheduling and time management. 

Consider a mid-week “games night”, one that is both educational and engaging for all. For this objective, nothing is better than the game of Scrabble, where players form words from the letters that they receive through the game-play. This forces critical thinking and vocabulary enrichment. Not only do children learn to form words–from the tiles provided–they also learn the words that other players use as well. Be sure to bring along your official Scrabble dictionary, the only authority for authorized (and unauthorized) words. 

Even if one parent is working far away, consider using Zoom or Voov, two free digital interfaces allowing remote interaction. You can alternate roles, with the parent switching control of the screen and delegating tasks to the child. This is a great way of “learning by doing”, leveraging the power of technology to enrich our children. This is especially useful when using maps, expanding on interesting landmarks and providing relevant context. As the saying goes, “where there is a will, there is a way”. Parents can learn with their kids, regardless of their background or language ability. 

Let’s consider the aforementioned example, where a parent is working abroad but comes to Canada for a month or so. This can be complemented with a steady stream of communication, whether it be quick phone calls, emails, texts, or social media exchanges. Perhaps someone is going on either a school or (work) trip, visiting somewhere that they have never been before. This can be a time to share and learn together, even if you are not geographically close to one another. Consider exploring sites virtually, by affixing a camera to your hat (or some other interesting technology). While technology has made us more distant–in some ways–it has made global communication cheap and reliable. 

If you are wondering how to balance the family dynamic, please feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation. We have been doing this for over 20 years, seeing hundreds of students graduate our programs and move on to have successful lives. We are rooted in both the Eastern and Western systems, leveraging tradition to promote excellence.

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