Friday, February 10, 2006

Tales From the Classroom # 7: Family Values

This week I have been working with my E.L.D. group on a book about their families. One of the pages in their book is entitled Things I Do With My Family. There are 6 pictures of activities that might be done as a family. They are:

1) Play games
2) Listen to music
3) Go to the park
4) Eat meals
5) Read books
6) Watch TV

The kids were to circle the activities that they do and then add some more ideas to the page. We read through those 6 activities and talking about our experiences. When we got to the "read books" section though the reaction I got was shocking and depressing. I was getting ready to ask the kids about their experiences with their families and I heard "Read Books?" and "We don't do that" and then there were a few who laughed because I guess the idea of reading a book at home is just too funny.

I tried to contain myself and not lecture the kids about the benefits of reading at home. I knew that if I opened my mouth I was going to start preaching a bit too much. Just then, one of my kids said "Ms. V. how come playing video games isn't on here?" I almost lost my mind. I let them have it.

I know that the reality of my second graders is that they are still children and not in charge of their rearing. (or at least they shouldn't be in charge of it) They really aren't to blame. How many times do I have to tell parents that they need to take an active part in their child's education. Why should I even have to tell them that at all?

Personally, there is no greater joy for me than to sit down and enjoy a good book. I have shared this with my daughter and she loves it just as much as I do. I realize that parenting is hard and time consuming. I know that it is much easier to let the tv and video games parent your child at times. Parents have to be strong though and take the time to invest in their children right now. The payoff for doing it is great. The consequences of not doing it are potentially disatrous. How can I get through to these parents?

By the way - when the kids asked why there was no option for playing video games on the page, I informed them that at my house we do not own an X-Box or Nintendo or any type of video games. I SWEAR that I heard someone mutter under their breath "Man, I'm glad Ms. V. isn't my mom!"

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