What is important to you, when it comes to your childs education?

April 27, 2013

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I have a child in elementary school, so I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this whole common core thing. From what I’ve read, Common Core isn’t a specific curriculum, it‘s supposed to be a set of goals and expectations of what knowledge and skills students need at each grade level. I guess the state suggests curriculum, and it’s up to the local school boards to decide what they actually teach. The content of the suggested curriculum can be found on the Montana Office of Public Instruction website, under the link “Montana Content Standards”

http://www.opi.mt.gov/index.html

This is mostly what I’ve been looking into, and I’ll warn you right now, it’s a heck of a lot of reading, but I would encourage every parent in Montana to do the same. When it comes to my kids, the word trust, and the term benefit of a doubt, do not apply. If I don’t know, I find out.

Obviously I’m looking for things that would conflict with my culture, my heritage, and my religious principals, and of course things that would amount to political indoctrination.

My daughter is going into the 5th grade this coming fall, so I’ve been focused on the suggested curriculum for the 5th grade. So far I’ve only managed to skim all the way through the section on health enhancement, and I’ve found one thing so far that makes me nervous. I wont say it specifically conflicts with my principals, but I can imagine how very easily it could. There’s just too much room for interpretation.

This model lesson plan is called The Student Parenting Magazine. The objective of this lesson plan is to describe characteristics students think a responsible parent should have. Now I’m not going to say that couldn’t be good. If such a thing were done right it could reinforce a family structure, but if it were done wrong, it could do a lot of damage.

I already make an effort to explain, why I do the things I do, to my kids. In my mind, it’s important that my children understand why parents have authority in the home, and children do not. It is the parents responsibility to guide children as they grow.

It’s a good thing if this lesson plan encourages children to look at what their parents do, and encourages them to be appreciative and respectful. On the other hand, it’s not a good thing, to encourage children to critique their parents.

Let me give an example. I believe parents have the right to pass on their cultural traditions. I know it is very common in certain middle eastern cultures, for the father and the first born son to eat before the rest of the family. This is not a part of my culture, but I stand 100% behind my fellow Americans of middle eastern origin, who might be inclined to include this tradition in their home. I can imagine a child from one of these families, doing this activity, and being encouraged to tell their father that he is not a responsible parent. At the very least, this would cause discomfort within the family, and I wont condone that sort of thing. If a child doesn’t like their culture, they don’t have to live by it when they’re an adult, but public schools have no business, encouraging minor children to make such decisions.

Of course my concern about this lesson plan, isn’t solely based on consideration of possibilities. I already have a reason to expect my authority as a parent to be undermined.

Somebody taught my daughter that she has the right to speak to me, and argue with me, like an equal. Yes, I do see my daughter as a living human being, with thoughts, feelings, and opinions, but she is 10 years old, and she is not my equal. My child does not have the knowledge or the life experience to effectively manage her own life. If she doesn’t have the right kind of respect for her parents, she isn’t going to learn what she needs to learn, to live as a responsible adult.

It’s a simple matter really. Young children should not be encouraged to expect an explanation, because there are a great many things in this world, that they are not capable of understanding. This isn’t just a knowledge base problem, that can be remedied by freely providing information. The human brain develops in stages. I’m not going to go into the science of the whole process, but it’s a fact, even legal adults, say 18 to 20 or so, still aren’t as mentally capable, as those who are a bit older. Usually, maybe not always, the frontal lobe, which in a big way helps us with forethought, doesn’t fully develop until the early 20’s.

That fact right there, is probably one of the biggest reasons we have, to defend the concept of establishing discipline, through unquestioned authority, in our homes. Our children are the most vulnerable at the age of 18, because they are fully accountable for their actions, but not as capable of considering the long term effect of consequences, as they will be just a few years down the road. This is the point where they need, the kind of respect for authority, that only has a significant effect, if it’s programmed into their thinking from the very beginning.

Glenn W. Uncles Jr.

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