I heard this term a while back when my sister was debating on whether or not to homeschool her kids. She is currently in college pursuing her degree in elementary education and wasn’t very confident that she could pull off homeschooling and college. Her concerns prompted us to do some research and that is when we discovered “co-schooling”.
It is a fancy name for what parents of public, parochial, private, and magnet schools should be doing anyway. But, you know we like to give everything a name so…
Co-schooling is another form of home education that works in partnership with the school the child attends. The premise for this method is that the parents are the absolute authority over the child’s education and they work closely with the child’s teachers to give the student the best education possible. Without open communication and a desire to teach and train your child this method will not work. The point is to not leave the bulk of the responsibility up to the school but instead take some of that responsibility upon yourself.
- Become acquainted. Get to know your child’s teacher and help her or him get to know your child. This is a team effort and all great teams require strategic planning.
- Communicate. Set up meetings or phone calls all throughout the year so that you can each get a glimpse of the child’s progress and needs.
- Plan and Prepare. Ask for lesson plans and homework schedules so that you can supplement the education they are receiving in the classroom with appropriate materials at home: books, games, trips, TV shows, etc. The homework schedule allows you to monitor the child’s work and see how they are doing in regards to mastering concepts. It also helps you to keep them accountable.
- Learning Environment. Give each child a space for doing homework in peace. Make sure there is lots of light, pens, paper, and any other necessary supplies within reach.
- Set Goals. Talk with your child and help them to set goals for each school year and then break them down by semester. Review them every so often to make sure the child always has that goal in view. It is easier for them to walk towards success if they have a plan for doing so.
- Volunteer. It makes you a part of your child’s world away from home. You can get to know those who engage and encourage your child each day and become a part of the process instead of just being a spectator.
- Know your rights. Educate yourself on the laws and rules that govern your child’s school. Find out whom you are to speak to if there is a problem. Find out what the school’s responsibilities are and then make sure you understand your own responsibilities.
Above all, know that you are the parent and that the child’s teacher and other administrators are there to help you educate your child. Don’t take a backseat to the system. Unfortunately, the majority of parents of school age children have just handed over their children to the schools and because of this those children are educated under a broad spectrum. Without an advocate, your child’s teacher has to guess as to his or her abilities and they have to discipline and train without your input or support. This is not what was intended and this is not being a good parent.
Even if the only thing that you can do is email or call then do it. No one knows or loves your child more than you and no one else should be more involved in their education than you.
What about you? Do any of you have tips or advice on how to effectively co-school our children. Any teachers want to weigh in?