Monday, November 1, 2010

Parents on Board

Since teaching Kumon I have realized once more how important it is to have the parents on board with the students' learning. The way that Kumon is set up I am able to work with each student for a half hour twice a week; one hour each week. Although this time is valuable, as I am able to work with specific skills that go with their worksheet homework, but encompass much more as far as literacy goes, the parents typically spend 10-30 minutes each night with their students on Kumon homework (the nights they do not come to the center). This totals up to anywhere from 50-150 minutes each week (or about 1-2 hours). A parent who is spending time reviewing flashcards with their students in addition to the worksheets will easily spend 2 hours a week or more working with their student on learning (which is twice as much time as I have to work with them).

Where my frustrations arise is when I have parents (and I have several) who do not feel that it is important to be on board with the students' learning. I have a couple of students (remember these are 3-6 year olds) who are responsible for doing their homework on their own and if they choose not to do it, it isn't done. I can understand a parent letting the student suffer the consequences in 4th or 5th grade-but in preschool? Most students don't have the self discipline yet to make sure it gets done. This snowballs when they come to me, take the whole 30 minutes to do their worksheet (because they don't understand how to do it or haven't had practice in their homework) and I have no time to work on the fundamentals of reading, such as letters and the sounds they make and strategies to figure out unknown words. This is just one of the struggles I face (yet have no power to change) while I teach Jr Kumon.

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