For single parent Lisanne Edwards, being involved in all aspects of her son’s school life is very demanding, but it is a task she willingly undertakes as she believes this level of engagement is vital to his development.
“As a professional, I would like to be more involved, however, I make it a point of duty to ensure that I am as involved as possible in my son’s school life,” she tells JIS News.
Miss Edwards (left) assists her son, Dane, with research on the internet. She says being a single parent compels her to be more involved in his school life
“I also think that being involved in school life is not only academic, but also extra-curricular, because I believe in a holistic development in terms of education,” she says, pointing out that when one gets involved in their child’s life, they also influence other children’s lives.
Her son, Dane Roberts, a 13-year old student at Wolmers Boys’ School, benefits from her involvement in various activities at the school, which include a programme where parents go into the institution in the mornings, and conduct devotion and other activities.
“So we might have a resource person coming in with stress management etcetera. So the parents come in the morning before school to assist the children in other ways, ways that will help with their holistic development,” Miss Edwards explains.
She says she also tries to ensure that she attennds Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and grade meetings. The former is a general meeting of the entire school body, while the latter is where parents meet at the grade level.
Miss Edwards, who is a Lecturer in Language and Literature at a tertiary institution, says she is a firm believer in education as essential to her son maneuvering his way in this present society.
“I find that because he knows that I’m not going to leave him to his own devices, it helps in that he has more of a propensity to be attentive to details; he has his study cards, he knows that when he does his homework, I’m going to be coming and I’m going to be questioning him.If there is an aspect that (he does not understand and I am unable to assist)..I find someone that is good at it and assist him,” she notes.
Miss Edwards admits that single parenthood, which is “quite a dynamic situation to be in,” compels her to ensure that she is there for her child.
“There are times when you would like to be more involved and if it were a dual-parent family, then you would have one parent being able to fill in where the other can’t, but it makes it more of a priority for me to be involved in (Dane’s school) life,” she says.
Miss Edwards notes also that as a single parent, it is more important for her to push herself and ensure that her son has extra tools that will enhance his development, such as books that can assist in certain areas.
She laments that it is often challenging to keep track of her son’s academic performance in school, due to time constraints. She notes that his grades, which were excellent in preparatory school, are now fluctuating and is something she is working on with Dane.
“He definitely remains excellent in some subjects, but I’m dealing with some fluctuations in the high school aspect of his education, but working on them and trying to let him see that the higher he goes, the more challenging its going to get,” she says.
Miss Edwards encourages other parents to get involved in their children’s school life, advising that if they do not monitor their children, “education wouldn’t optimally be to their benefit.”
“The fact is, if the children know that you are involved, it gives them the impetus to want to do better and to know that they have to do better. Little unexpected checks, just popping in now and then, speaking to the teachers, just observing one day, just going into the classroom.they need to know that someone is there who is interested in them too,” Miss Edwards advises.
Making reference to author and neurosurgeon, Dr. Benjamin S. ‘Ben’ Carson, whose mother could not read but ensured that her children did their school work,
Miss Edwards points out that even if parents are unable to assist with academics, the child knowing that “mummy and daddy will look over my books, and ensure that my homework is done,” gives them the support that is needed.
“Do get involved.it will assist not only for now, it’s a life investment. Any little thing that you can do – get someone extra to assist, get them their study and flash cards, any additional books that they might need, give them time limits on the internet to find out additional information… accompany them to the internet caf