I was happily preparing my next DIY for the Homeschool room post when something much more important (and far less pleasant) was brought to my attention. My sister, a Suddenly-Homeschooling mama this year, texted me a few screen shots last night of a parenting article she had stumbled upon. It’s content is at first glance dismally disappointing, but upon a closer read communicates a truly deplorable message. And unfortunately, this message is not an isolated one but rather a growing school-of-thought being broadcasted to parents far and wide. It is being sold as back-to-school 2020 “support” and as “parent empowerment” for the Covid-generation.
My dad always told me growing up to let someone else bell the cat. But this isn’t a cat. This is a wolf. A big one. A bad one. And a sneaky one at that.
A wolf who plays the sheep . . .
and naïve little Bo Peep . . .
and magical, glittery Tinkerbell . . .
and the man with “goods” to sell.
Before I do my part to “bell” the wolf (which is not my favorite thing to do . . . I much prefer pretty posts about back-to-school book bunting) I want to be clear. I am in no way saying that the writer of this post herself is the “Big Bad Wolf.” In fact, the post itself isn’t really all that bad. In fact, it’s pretty subtle . . . if not vague. But the not-so-bad message it promotes is subtly planting seeds into our culture that are also . . . not-so-good.
I have nothing against this blogger and do not wish to attack her or her site personally. However, I am attacking the beginnings of a big, bad message that is sinking it’s claws into parenting rhetoric far and wide these days. And yes, I say “attack” because I believe this message to be a mounting attack itself on parenting, an assault on education, and an atrocity against childhood and the role of the family.
I am sure that the writer of this post has the best interests at heart for her children as most of us parents do. On the whole, I think we all do what we believe to be right in our own eyes. I can only believe that the writer has been duped herself by this big, bad, self-validating message that is huffing and puffing at our doors.
The scariest part about this big, bad message is that at first it doesn’t seem that scary. In fact, it seems pretty friendly. Who’s afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf? He doesn’t seem to be that harmful. Plus, we’ve gotten really used to seeing him around. He masquerades like a lot of pleasant and loveable characters. We could easily open our doors to this Big, Bad Wolf, or allow him to blow the fragile walls off our flimsy foundations. But once his disguises fall off, once we see him in his true coat, it’s clear: he is a wolf— all teeth and claws. Let’s be safe, not sorry, when the wolf comes to our door.
Don’t let him in!
Not by the hair on your chinny-chin-chin!
Here is the link to the post I am addressing for you to read for yourself: “Remember, You Are Not Your Child’s Teacher.“
The huffing-puffing BIG, BAD PARENTING LIES
1.) “YOU ARE NOT YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER.”
“This school year is going to be many things (I personally have plenty of labels for it, but there’s no need for me to type out all those curse words here). But unless you actually pulled your child out of their school and committed to homeschooling them this year, there is one thing we need to remember this is not: This is not homeschooling. And you are not your child’s teacher.” -Life Hacker
Oh, where to begin. “You are not your child’s teacher?” Sorry, but WRONG. Whether you are Homeschooling or not, you ARE a teacher to your child. You may not be their only teacher, but every time you open your mouth and say anything, you are their teacher. And you aren’t just ANY teacher to your child . . . you are your child’s FIRST teacher, you are your child’s MAIN teacher, you are your child’s FAVORITE teacher, you are your child’s MOST TRUSTED teacher, you are your child’s MOST LONG-TERM teacher, and you are your child’s MOST INFLUENTIAL teacher.
By the way, I am not anti-teacher. I was a teacher. I am currently a teacher-author and a Homeschool teacher. I am for honoring and respecting teachers. I am for supporting teachers. I am for paying teachers more. So . . . I’m very pro-teacher! But I’m also pro-parent, because to be pro-parent is to be pro-humanity. And, also, I’m pro-child. Statistics show us decade after decade who the most important person is to a child’s overall well-being. The parent. Statistics show us who is most responsible in a child’s ultimate success or failure in life. The parent. Statistics show us who wields the most influence over children entering the work-force, the university, or the prisons. The parent. I am sure the teachers play a significant role as well, but they are not the most critical.
The truth is, as a former teacher who broke my back (or at least my brain) every day for my students, I can tell you no matter how much I poured into my 20-25 students per class, I could never, ever be a match for an involved, present, proactive, and persistent parent. The truth is, YOU are the single most important cornerstone of your child’s education, Homeschool parent or otherwise.
2.) YOU SHOULD DEFER AND NOT INTERFERE.
“. . . our kids need to learn how to communicate their needs and their personal stumbling blocks with their teachers, the same way they would if they were in the classroom. If our kids are struggling—when our kids struggle—they can work with their teachers to come up with solutions. If our kids are old enough to read and write, we can work with them on how to write a polite message or email, asking their teacher for help or additional instruction or clarification. If they’re not old enough to read and write, we can schedule a time for them to talk with their teacher so they can explain what they’re having a hard time with.” -Life Hacker
By constantly deferring our children back to their virtual teachers at every turn we are slowly, step-by-step, systematically removing our involvement, removing our input, and removing our influence from the very people we should have the most invested in —our children. We are giving our children a virtual surrogate that the Big Bad Wolf has duped us into believing to be more competent and capable than we could ever be. To believe that is to accept inadequacy rather than seize the advocacy that is our ordained privilege as parents.
We should FEAR being told not to INTERFERE. You are the parent. He is your child. You are not interfering. You are engaging. You are instilling. You are equipping. You, my dear mama or papa, are enriching your child’s education in a way that only you can.
Parent/Teacher segregation is not the answer for Back-to-School 2020! Teachers have always needed the support of parents, and many parents certainly need teacher support . . . . this year more than ever. We should work together, utilizing all our assets to the betterment and holistic development of our children. We do not need more finger pointing— “this is YOUR job, it’s not MY problem.” We do not need shoving off and shirking the responsibilities of our collective children’s education. We need a parent-teacher partnership. We need to join hands, not draw more lines in the sand.
3.) “WE ARE HERE TO FACILITATE, NOT EDUCATE.”
“But that’s not the same as sitting down and actually trying to teach them the material ourselves. That’s not the same as trying to re-learn third grade math using a different method than we were taught, as I found myself doing last spring. Third grade math was my limit; if he needs help with fourth grade math, he’s going to have to take it up with his teacher, a person who is not me. We are here to help facilitate, not educate.” -Life Hacker
Heaven forbid we actually have to sit down and have an engaged, present moment with our child! And if we can’t do third grade math, maybe re-learning it with our child is the absolute best use of our time in that moment. For our sake as much as for the child. We can absolutely facilitate. Especially if we are working full time, part time, or upper level math or science is involved. But we always educate. We are parents. It’s our job.
The moment we discount the prominent role of parents, we curse the role that family values play in society. We lose our place, our purpose, our privilege. Without the family, there is no heritage, no heart.
4.) “IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT” IF YOUR CHILD’S SCHOOLING IS A DISASTER THIS YEAR.
“I know not all situations are created equal. Parents of students with special needs: I see you. I know your challenges are great, if not impossible. But remember: You are not their teacher. If this year is an absolute disaster (and it very well might be), it’s not your fault. You are their parent and you’re doing the best you can.” -Life Hacker
All we seem to do is pass the buck these days. Everything is someone else’s fault, someone else’s problem, someone else’s responsibility.
Our investment is paramount to the development of our children. And that includes our children’s education. If a teacher fails our children, what is at stake for them? Possibly their scores, reputation, or conscience. If we fail our children, we will live everyday with that sentence. Our children are ultimately our responsibility. To say otherwise would simply excuse parents from any lack of involvement, or exonerate them from any blame, rather than empowering those same parents. To validate our detachment, disinterest, or disregard for the development of the precious beings that have been entrusted to us.
This article, this message, this school-of-thought is not encouraging, inspiring, equipping, or empowering to parents. It is discouraging, disheartening, debilitating, and downright demeaning. It is not pro-parent, it is not pro-teacher, and it is certainly not pro-child. This message is only pro-individual. Self-validating, self-seeking, and self-serving. We are better than that. Or at least we should be. We can rally, we can rise to the occasion, we can reclaim our rightful and powerful role as parents. We can put our children before ourselves. We can pour everything we have into the next generation, the hope for our tomorrow.
Don’t believe the message he’s blowing under your door . . .
It’s time to blow the Wolf Warning Horn!
before he teaches little wolves his tricks . . .
be practical and build your house of bricks.
Thank you for reading. You’ve got this!
Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~