I decided to sign up for Stand Up University classes after I was approached at Sheridan Elementary by the principal at the school. I didn’t know anything about it, so I looked it up online. What I saw impressed me as something I should get involved in; so I took the class.
Stand Up taught me a great deal about how to engage with my children on their education. For example, it’s not enough to say, “How was school today?” They’re going say “good.” But the conversation can’t stop there if you really want to know what’s going on in their education and their lives. Now I know to ask, “Well, what did you do today in class?” and other leading questions that push for more than a yes or no response. And with reading in particular, I’ve learned to ask probing questions that challenge my youngest, who is in kindergarten, to explain what she’s reading and tell me the story; which helps with her comprehension. That information alone has been enormously helpful to me as a parent.
In addition, the program also touches on how to engage your child’s teacher so that you’re working together to support the school work, and how to approach the school about things you don’t like and want to change. I’ve also joined the PTA as a result of taking the course. The PTA is a great avenue for being more involved in the school and with teachers. I wish I’d known this earlier on for my oldest, who’s now in 8th grade; but the coursework applies for parents with children in any grade. And I’m asking her questions about her school work now too.
I also didn’t really think before about my power as a voter to change the dynamics around education through my vote and my voice. Whether at the school, the school board, or the state legislature. I feel more empowered to exercise that right to influence education and other policy to improve the lives of my kids.
What would I say to other parents? Get involved. Engage with your kids. Set down the television remote and take the fifteen minutes each night to show your children that you feel their education and their efforts matter. When they see you caring more about what they are doing, then they will care. It matters.