My beast is a freshman in high school. High school (if you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing YOUR child in high school yet, just you wait), is a whole. new. ball. game. She is fiercely independent (which she comes by naturally), but is unable to grasp that I am still the conduit to all the things in her life. She doesn’t yet know all that she doesn’t know. Part of the growth process, I am sure. Each grade level, each stage of this educational ladder that she climbs up, is designed to take her one rung closer to independence, to college, to real life… right?
The problem is, there isn’t a “how to be a grown up” class. There are opportunities for her to learn from missteps. (But it sure helps when someone points them out to her!) There are opportunities to reflect and correct. (But it sure helps if she has someone who models that!) There are opportunities to learn about time management when you’re juggling sports, clubs, friends, and oh, and an all Pre- AP and AP course load. (But it sure helps when you have parent privy to all those calendars providing reminders and nudges.) This is a path I am walking with her. I don’t care that the police club sponsor awarded her with the “Most Likely to Have a Helicopter Momma” award at her police club banquet (side eye at officer Stewart). I am involved in her world. I am her chauffeur and her bank account. I am the questioner and the friend picker upper. This is what I do.
The beast has zero forms of social media. (Caveat: no allowed accounts that I know of, anyway!) I am an involved parent. I am the parent who still signs up for snacks at the high school during teacher appreciation week. I am the mom who texts the other moms confirming plans, times, and expectations. I am the one who rolls the window down every. single. time, and yells “Don’t forget you love Jesus, make good choices!” (I think she likes it.) We make sure she checks her grades regularly and has conversations when she needs to concerning a reteach or make up. We make sure SHE is responsible for all of the follow ups she needs to be successful. Is that helicoptering? Or parenting?
If I hadn’t connected with her school on Facebook, or her church group in Instagram, or her HS principal on twitter (Virdie Montgomery, a good follow!) there are so many things I wouldn’t be aware of or have the chance to talk to her about. Thankfully, it’s 2017. There are no paper flyers that come home from the high school that I have to hunt down. Through our LMS we are able to access them all digitally, and of course, I am able to keep up that way. Don’t know if your school has/offers a LMS? itslearning is a great place to start! It’s a way for parents to stay connected with their campus, and as a leader, I make sure I push out all that I can so that again, parents NEED to stay connected with your student and oh my lizard, you have to start somewhere!
Be involved with your children. As an educator, I see the value in what it looks like when parents are more connected and involved with our campus. Parental involvement is an important factor in a successful school community. We can’t do it alone! It also helps for students to see that parents and educators are on the same team. We all want our students (your children!) to be successful… and the best way for educators to know what that looks like is for you to be involved. Help us help you! A trusting two-way relationship ensures that neither side will have to make assumptions on the other. Don’t know where to begin? Knowing the way communication is usually handled and through what channels is a great way to start.
There is such outrage circling the interwebs right now about the young adult series on Netflix “13 Reasons Why”. I made my teen read the book several years ago, and we watched the series together. If parents were more involved, genuinely, truly involved, that series actually might not rank at the top of your “to be concerned about” list. The amount of inappropriateness that cycles through SnapChat, or IG, or Quiz Up would astound you. There are conversations that need to be had. If you think your child “isn’t ready” for those kinds of convos, all the more reasons to have them! I preach that social media should be taught to the younger kids ALL the time. By the time they’re old enough to actually handle it, they’ve been all trained up by their peers and are uninterested in what you have to share.
Your children need you. They may not want you…but they NEED your wisdom, your experience, your voice. Don’t be scared of the things that go viral on Facebook, friends, be more scared of the stuff we know nothing about.
Communication is key, and parental involvement is important. Utilizing an LMS is just one part of the parent-student experience. If your school doesn’t already use an LMS, check out itslearning today!
This piece is sponsored by itslearning.
Side note…if my calling my teen “the beast” puzzles you, read this. 🙂