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Teaching Our Own Children

February 2, 2014
By MIKE MYER , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Every child ought to be home schooled. Too many parents rely on schools, both public and private, to educate their children.

Then, when teachers can't make up for years of neglect by moms and dads, guess who gets blamed?

Now, professional educators reading this probably know what I mean about home schooling. It doesn't have to be parents taking on the whole burden of teaching their children. Precious few have the time and/or skills to do that.

But a child's first and best teachers are his or her parents. That should continue even after they enter school. Too often, it never starts. Hey, what are we paying teachers for, after all?

A very, very disturbing report came out last week. It was from the Kids Count organization, which monitors a variety of factors involving the well-being of children.

Kids Count officials say their research indicates between 2003 and 2013, only four states saw declines in average reading proficiency among fourth graders.

West Virginia was one of the states (the others were Alaska, Michigan and South Dakota).

Here in the Mountain State, 73 percent of fourth graders do not read proficiently, according to Kids Count. The number is even lower for children from low-income families.

That is inexcusable - and public schools are not to blame.

Could they do a better job of getting kids without good reading skills up to speed? Probably. But the foundation for reading ability is laid before children ever step into a classroom. It is provided by moms and dads who read to their children, who insist that when they watch television, educational programming is on. In some homes, computer programs and online educational offerings help.

I wish Kids Count would do some more research. My bet is that children from homes where books are revered read at or above grade level.

Is it tough to provide home schooling of the type I'm talking about? It can be, after a long, hard day at work.

But it also can be a joy. How wonderful it is to watch a 2-year-old soak up knowledge while you read a book to her!

Why should teachers have all the fun? They certainly shouldn't get all the blame.

Myer can be reached at: mmyer@theintelligencer.net.

 
 

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