Lois Stoffle: Practice is justified

I was a little dismayed while reading the letter to the editor from a mom who was complaining about having to practice “sight words” with her child. The fact that the teacher sent a letter home explaining the need for practice was justified! Children learn at different paces or speeds. One child may excel in spelling and reading but be slow at math and vice versa. I went to a parochial school that had small classes. We were sent home with “homework” nightly, from first grade on. Our teachers had made “flip cards” for us to take home and practice our sight words and simple math problems. My parents had no problem whatsoever with helping me practice. After all, who is your child’s greatest educator? You are. You may not have a college teaching degree, but you are the one who your child looks up to for guidance and acceptance from birth through, and including adulthood. Who teaches your children good manners and good behavior? Who teaches them how to make good decisions and to know right from wrong? Who instructs them on the ways of the world and how to get along with others? That’s our job as parents. Assisting with their formal education also is our job. A child will excel only is if the school and the home work together. Having a job outside of the home is no excuse for not helping your child with homework. Taking turns reading with them while they are reading their required books makes for a fun and interesting evening or afternoon and gives you something to discuss later. My children may be grown and maybe this is just old-fashioned thinking on my part, but I actually enjoyed helping them. And I loved reading with and to them. It kept us close and talking with each other. More parents should get involved with their precious children’s education. They are with us for such a short time before they move on into the world. Speak with their teachers and find out what you can do at home to help your child excel in their education and their lives.

Lois Stoffle



Patrick Germond 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I agree with some of what you said Lois, but not the main point you were making. I think you misunderstood the letter you are referring to. Parent involvement should be a "plus", not the "the only hope". When I went to school in the early eighties I learned my times tables in school, no home work. My kids, who went to school here, and are going to school here, are learning their times tables because we are teaching them, excessively, at home. Like a public-home school hybrid. I came from a stable home, and so do my kids. So that leads me to the conclusion that our schools are lacking in their basic teachings. I think that's because too much emphasis is put on teaching other things and teachers can't just foucus on reading, writing, and arithmetic. Also, I believe our schools are becoming a propaganda factory in many ways, rather than a place to learn the basic fundamentals. That problem will only get worse if amendment 66 passes and all funding comes from Denver and the Federal government. I fear we will lose what little bit of control over the curriculum we have left. The parent that wrote that letter was justified in their concern. What if she doesn't have time to help out? What about all the broken homes and those kids who's parents don't have time? Are those kids destined for failure? I think we need to up the quality of our schools first. Place 100% reponsablity on the schools. Parents already feal 100% responsible and do what they can, so we don't need to lecture them. Anytime responsibility is shared, many just blame the other entity. It's time to stop sharing responsibility, and start taking it. Every third grader should have their times tables memorized and down from the class room first. Then if a little extra home work is needed for some, then that's fine. But factoring in parents doing homework for our school to come up is a flawed plan. I'm running for the School Board District seat #4, and that's where I'll start. And I won't blame parents, and I'll be 100% responsible for your children learning and recieving a good eduction. Patrick Wayne Germond


Brian Kotowski 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Parental involvement is not a “plus.” It is the single most important component of your kids' education. Public primary education has been anemic for decades and remains in steady decline. In no small measure because of parents like Mrs. Mogus, who reacts to a request for 10 minutes (!) out of her day with stunningly childish outrage.

As a youngster, I had a devil of a time learning to read. My parents took it upon themselves to procure a stack of 3x5's, upon which were printed basic words. The cards were arrayed every morning in simple phrases and word combinations on the kitchen table, and I had to get through them before breakfast. One of my parents was there to help me sound it out, but I had to do the work. Their efforts paid off, and it was water downhill from there. They invested a good deal more than 10 minutes a day, and they did it without any outrageously outrageous outrage.

Parents should also consider volunteering in the classroom. Many schools have programs which welcome parents on campus. And more importantly for parents like Mrs. Mogus who are unhappy with what is or isn't happening in school: get off your duff and attend school board meetings. Educate yourself about the whys and hows of the decisions that affect your kids. Take your concerns directly to the source. Frustrations can be channeled much more productively than through a whining rant in the local rag.

I'll wager a year's pay that most – if not all – of those who complain they don't have time to supplement their kids' classroom regimen can still find plenty of time for Duck Dynasty and Breaking Bad and the Kardashians and the Broncos on Sunday.

Those who refuse to lift a finger at home to help their kids in class deserve everything they get from their schools. And less.


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