Parents are the first teachers for their young ones. While schools and teachers take the centre-stage when it comes to education during later years, the role of parents doesn’t diminish one bit. From teachers, they transition to being mentors and facilitators, further on to that rock which is there for the child in her quest towards understanding the world and making her own mark. The only thing more difficult yet satisfying than teaching your kid is having given birth a few years earlier.
While preliminary years may be about helping the child identify things such as the earth, sun, moon, stars and so on; as the child starts reaching later years of primary education, she starts to build up a curiosity so strong, that it’s imperative to feed the mind with the right information and stoke the fire of critical thinking. It’s easier said than done.
There may be issues with patience, with information itself, contradictions with religion, even common sense at times.
Adding to these is modern world’s biggest problem- the lack of time. With both parents working more often than not, in the default nuclear family setting, the child can get lost if adequate attention is not paid to how she spends her time. A proper schedule needs to be maintained- in terms of studies and play. And that schedule needs a good smattering of subjects, topics, and an evaluation/progress measurement pattern. Parents could divide this schedule as per the requirements or guidelines from regulatory bodies or reputed institutions such as CCSS, NGSS etc.
So what could be the options? Parents could opt for either a full time nanny who could teach too. This sounds more of a dream than reality for a majority of the American middle class. However, smart usage of technology could be a winner.
Technology as the enabler
Online courses and tests, or may be educational programmes on satellite networks could be useful. Even more personal and immersing could be mobile educations sites and apps. However utmost carefulness and parental controls must be exercised while using these While nothing is as critical as real monitoring and guidance, a practical solution is to use technology. In fact it’s easily done on mobile handsets, tabs etc. You simply have to lock all apps/browser which are not required for the child, using any good screen and application locking app. These can be downloaded from the app store.
While looking for apps, parents should look for the value they bring to the table, whether the subject matter covered is comprehensive and in sync with guidelines from government agencies and regulators such as NGSS. They should also look at language used, and whether the interface is easy to use and attractive to look at for the child. Parents should keenly look for gamification tools used such as points given, leaderboards etc. That kindles the competitive spirit in the child and encourages her to spend even more quality time. Lastly but importantly, the tool should have a good parent engagement mechanism via feedback forms, support services, and importantly regular progress reports.