Yeah, we cringe when we hear about curriculum cutbacks too.
It’s the hope of pretty much every parent and educator that school will have room for activities and lessons that foster vital 21st century skills, and that cover important issues. We want our learners to have the most enriching educational experience possible, to be prepared for life outside the classroom, and to become effective global citizens. It’s more than a little disappointing when we hear important pieces of that experience are going away.
Well, our small, but mighty Red T team has always focused on material that wasn’t really part of the mainstream curriculum, so we know a thing or two about supplementing school work and sneaking in important stuff that should be covered, but isn’t (yet). Here are our suggestions for making sure that crucial concepts and questions remain part of your child’s education:
- Keep in mind that just because something isn’t part of the curriculum, it doesn’t mean it can’t be covered by teachers at school. It’s probably safe to say that a whole lot of teachers go above and beyond what’s expected of them, to include things they feel are of benefit to their students. Doing “extras” isn’t a foreign concept to educators. The trick is to make covering these extras as easy as possible. Finding ready-to-teach resources is key. If you know teachers, and you know of something that might make their lives easier, pass it along!
- It’s also essential to pull in technical tools that cover additional educational ground. Games, apps, and websites are never a substitute for an actual teacher or parent, but choosing the right ones can provide opportunities for kids to revisit some pretty important material. It’s truly amazing how much gaming content stays with a child after their device has been turned off.
- Most importantly, parents have to remember that it takes a village to educate a little thinker. If you’ve ever wanted to become more involved in your child’s learning, now is the time, and it needn’t be a daunting task. You may not be up for giving quizzes and marking assignments, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help your child make up for what’s been lost in school curriculum. Seek out resources that are fun and engaging, sit down and read and play together, and try to find teachable moments in your everyday routine. The fact that something doesn’t show up on a report card doesn’t diminish its importance.
- No matter what is gained or lost in school curriculum, always put priority on thinking skills. Educationally speaking, they’re universal currency (this is why we do what we do). Emphasize to your child that learning how to think will always leave them in a better place than merely learning what to think. Make sure they know (and you know) that learning should never stop when the dismissal bell rings. Model this yourself by showing curiosity, and keeping the lines of discussion open.
In the meantime, don’t lose momentum. Yes, keep pushing for curriculum to expand and not contract, for it to be updated to reflect the needs of our changing world. Keep talking to your young learner about what they’ve covered at school, and give them ample opportunity to expand on it. Keep being involved, and being supportive of both learners and educators (both have tough jobs these days). Most importantly, keep seeing yourself as a key figure in your child’s education, and don’t hesitate to take a DIY approach to their learning.
Good luck, and let us know if we can help!