Make the Connection: School, Family & the Real World

When you were in school, did you ever question the benefit of doing a class assignment or taking a particular course? Perhaps you thought that dissecting a frog would be helpful to someone who wanted to be a scientist, but if you were planning to be a journalist, exactly how did that assignment apply to your life's plan? Your children, especially in the middle and high schools, often have similar doubts about the link between their course work and their desire to grow up, get a job, and make some money.

As parents, you have the responsibility and opportunity to help them make the connection between their work now (school) and their potential work (as college students, employees, entrepreneurs, and military personnel). My siblings and I grew up on a farm; picking tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers was grueling work. One lesson that my brother Charles took from that life experience was that no other work in his life was 'hard.' In his 25+ years in the military, he maintained that nothing was expected or asked of him that was as difficult as farm work. Here are few quick 'connections' that you can reinforce with your students – from elementary to high school – to help them stay focused on doing well in school now as a springboard to future successes.
  • Learn to be organized (keeping pencils sharpened, having assignments signed by parents, completing homework in a timely manner)
  • Learn to get along with others (working in pairs on school assignments, being part of cheerleading squad or a member of a rocket club)
  • Learn to finish what you start (completion of a high school degree or remaining on a team even when you don't play shows tenaciousness and commitment to the process)
  • Learn to explore something new (trying a new food or joining the Scrabble club helps demonstrate curiosity about how the world works) Algebra may always be puzzling. Gymnastics may always seem dangerous. Yet there will always be times when something new, strange, and tedious provides a lesson on how to live better, make money, and create new friendships. In other words, help your children 'make the connection' between their current school experiences and becoming a good citizen and exemplary family member.
Share your thoughts: tell how your you help your children to 'make the connection' between their school and home lessons in order to help them succeed. Selections will be posted on the PARENTS tab at www.wcboe.org. Send to: fwilson@wcboe.org. Please include your name [full name or first name & last name initial or first initial and last name] as well as the school(s) of your students.