Creating Consistency at Home & School
Human beings are creatures of habit and don’t do well with change. Think about those adolescent years when you were going through numerous changes and how awkward life seemed. Even as adults, once we are established in our family, daily work schedule, and hobbies, we tend to get comfortable in our lives and can have significant emotional events when presented with changes like moving or changing jobs, or even with less-consequential events like trying out a new church. Even worse, have you ever had a job where you had multiple managers or bosses with wildly different expectations and the confusion that can cause?
Just as adults get used to a routine, so do children. One of the challenges of parenting, particularly in young children, is developing a structured routine that encompasses all of the daily tasks and activities a child needs during development.
Once a routine is established, however, ask any parent and they’ll tell you how much easier life is, particularly at bed time. If a child knows that they eat dinner, take a bath, read a book, and brush their teeth before bed, those activities help prepare their mind for sleep. It’s painfully obvious how disastrous a botched routine can be when parents come home to the babysitter and wide-awake or crying children. As humans, we all need consistency.
So too should be our approach to school and parent-involvement in school, especially when it comes to our expectations of the students. At Heritage Oak School, maintaining a level of consistency between parents and teachers is so important that new parents are required to take a parenting class.
A parenting class might sound ridiculous or unnecessary but it shouldn’t scare parents of prospective students away from the school. On the contrary, the class encourages parents with the knowledge that raising school-aged children is a team effort with teachers and parents working together for the betterment of the students. Not only does this class teach biblical techniques for parenting, but enforces the idea that parents play a vital role in a child’s education.
To further the idea of expectations, teachers are the leaders in the classroom and set the tone and the standards that students should follow. As Proverbs 22:6 states, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
For parent classroom aides, it’s important to get on the same page as the teacher to provide a seamless environment for the students. For teachers with multiple parent helpers throughout the week, it is especially critical to make sure that all of the different parents are maintaining a consistent standard from day to day. Think back to the example of two bosses with different expectations. Can you imagine being a student and having one set of standards on Monday, another on Tuesday, and so on throughout the week? You’d feel extremely frustrated!
Heritage Oak also holds regular meetings for all of the parents called the Parent Academy. One goal of the meetings is to present parents with a topic that we can all work on with our kids. Past topics include things like how to handle social media use with our kids. The idea is that a partnership is established between the school and parents so we can address different situations that may arise in life with the same correct solution, giving our children consistency to guide them down the right path.
I talked a lot about having consistency and not subjecting students to unnecessary change. That isn’t to say that all change is bad. In fact, being able to adapt to change and stress is good. The important thing, though, is that we should maintain consistent expectations and standards for our children to help them succeed, and do it in a way that reflects God’s love!