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Schools Ground Helicopter Parents

Kathleen Thometz

Posted on December 16, 2018 09:10

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Educators are trained to deal with kids, so parents don't need to be supervising that process under the guise of "volunteering" at their children's schools.

My idea of the perfect school experience went something like this: my kids go to school in the morning and I don't see them again until they return home in the afternoon. They have a snack, we chat about the day, and they play. They don't do any homework until middle school and none of it requires my help. Nice and easy and no one gets anxious or depressed.

So, I was unpleasantly surprised when my kids started kindergarten to find out that parental involvement was not only expected but also desired by many parents.

I never felt the need to check in with my kids during their school day. When we lived in Tennessee, parents were allowed to join their child for lunch in the cafeteria, which I did a couple of times. This disruptive practice has recently been discontinued in Darien, Connecticut and parents are outraged. It never should have been started in the first place.

Upon moving to Illinois, I was shocked to discover that my kids were allowed to come home for lunch every day, and was relieved to learn that if I paid a dollar a day they could stay. They loved recess and I've always felt that the middle of the school day was my time, so I protected it.

Because I was a stay-at-home mom, I was uncomfortable not doing any volunteering, so I chose an activity that meshed with my interests, Art Appreciation, and did only that. I said no to requests for helping with wrapping paper fundraisers and bake sales. I didn't feel that they were a good use of my time and was once shot down in a meeting when I suggested giving parents the option to write a check instead of helping with fundraising.

That being said, I still don't understand why public schools have foundations and fundraisers. Why isn't everything paid for by our taxes?

Thankfully, by middle school, parental involvement requirements are less, so I showed up to one fun lunch and chaperoned one school dance, per kid, per year. I was glad when they got to high school and weren't too sporty, so I rarely had to set foot there.

Am I a bad parent? Some might think so. But I can tell you, my kids, especially when they were in middle school, didn't want me there "embarrassing" them. And Darien, Connecticut's move is a clear message to parents that schools don't want them there either. Our educators are well-trained and don't need parents "supervising" them on a daily basis.

If your kids are having a problem at school, they need to be given the opportunity to solve it on their own. If that doesn't work, they have to learn to advocate for themselves with the professionals at their school. Parental involvement should be the last resort. Our only "educational" job as parents is to be available sometime after school to chat, to listen, to read to, and, to love our kids.

Kathleen Thometz

Posted on December 16, 2018 09:10

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Source: People

A Connecticut town has announced a new rule that will prohibit parents and guardians from eating with elementary school students...

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