Another post prompted this, which is really a ramble of what I personally think parents and teachers and students should be responsible for and why: Reading another thread it got me thinking about schooling our young and homeschooling. Personally if you have strong beliefs that often seem to be in conflict with 'today's cultural norms', I would highly recommend home schooling. In high population areas, a liberal parent might be 'lucky enough' to find an 'alternative school' that fits them like a glove. Ditto for the Christian conservatives, there are many great Christian schools in our area, other than Catholic or Lutheran. Alas, most cannot home school, they may not have the $$$ for private education, or may not live close enough to find an acceptable private school. Heck in even private schools, one can come into conflict with curriculum, other parents, teachers, or other students. If you find the school/teacher doing something you disagree with, start with the teacher and work your way up. If that doesnt work, if you have developed good relations with other parents at the school, carefully start contacting them, asking if they are aware of your concern. See what they think, you may get a new perspective or they may share your concern. If the latter, you can see how many may agree with you and ask them to come to the next school board meeting. Come with solutions, there may be many that think your concerns are not in line with many-but if you have an alternative solution, which accommodates many, you will probably be listened to, especially if it wont cost more money. Someone, I think Zoomie, said that if 100 parents were concerned, something would be done, that is so true. I dont think parents should be looking for issues to disagree with school, teacher on, it sends the wrong message to your child. However, with something like teaching homosexuality is normal, many Christians and others would have a problem. Rather than going to a PTA meeting and speaking of sin, political correctness, etc., it would be better to state that your personal beliefs and those of others-hand in petition-are being disregarded. While you have no desire to create curriculum those you are speaking for and you wish to propose an alternative lesson for the class or a separate group, schools choice. Suggest a book that is age appropriate that addresses a thesis on tolerance such as civil rights, religious freedoms, physically challenged, etc. (Yes, I know that Im using PC language, its advisable to do so when dealing with educators. If you are able, it would be great to throw in some teacherese, they dont understand it either!) Having addressed some of the ways that parents might deal with off track educational system, I am led to the things parents might do to not only help their student, but also the teacher. During the process, the parent may well end up saving thousands, nay tens of thousands of dollars at the end of high school. In the lower grades, parents cannot be too involved; unless they are making excuses for child's bad behavior or doing their work for them. In upper elementary, (3-5th) it's important for parents to provide a consistent time and well supplied area for children to do their work, which in general should be about 20 minutes for 3rd; 30-40 minutes for 4th; 50-60 for 5th. By the 5th grade, children should be self-disciplined enough to sit down and get their work done; this does not 'just happen'. In 3rd and 4th the parents should really keep the schedule and provide guidance on breaking the assignments into reasonable 'chunks.' It's usually good to start with the least strong subject and work towards strengths, so they feel good when finished. Parents should check their childs assignment notebook daily and pitch a fit when the assignments, including study are not in there. When the child says they are finished the parents should look at what the child has done. Unless you KNOW the child just is doing zippo, as long as it's done-Say nothing, (that's the hard part, don't catch and encourage 'correcting'. Homework is one way that good teachers use to gather data about what the class understands and whether or not they need to reteach-BEFORE a test. (If the students are getting 90-100 on homework, they should be ready for formal assessment). If your child is bringing home tons of 'worksheets' above 2nd grade, that they 'whip through' and start getting sloppy on-try talking to the teacher, nicely. It may be that other kids need the 'practice', you could suggest that perhaps some more challenging assignments be made available as an 'alternative' assignments for students that have mastered the material more quickly. (That way they keep in the habit of homework, build their skills, while not being bored.) Middle School/Junior High is hard on parents, less so usually on the kids. It is normal that they are beginning to pull away a bit. They are experiencing changes they assume their parents don't relate to and are both excited and embarrassed at times. They need some privacy, but not too much. Very dangerous to let this age group have computers, cell phones, etc., without supervision. I would NEVER put a computer in a kid's room. Cell phone texting can be the same problem, my own opinion, don't allow. These are great rewards after a couple, few years of honor roll in high school. I'm shocked at how many parents give 12-14 year olds PDAs, cell phones with photo ability, Ipods, $250 purses. What will they do to 'buy' them in high school? In most schools, homework at this age will fluctuate, with sometimes 2 or 3 tests/projects being due on the same day-usually Friday. Parents/kids can flip out on teachers when this happens; in all likelihood the problem was the child's lack of scheduling. This is where parents can help. Keep checking and insisting that they write all assignments down-including 'studying, for some reason, kids seem to think if they don't have to 'produce' something, it really doesn't need to be done. If 3 weeks is given for a report, really they need to get to the library earlier than 2 days before; it's likely they are going to keep getting other assignments, (actually I guarantee it). It's possible that another teacher 2 weeks later, will also assign a project, due in a week-same day. Then another teacher and the first, will assign a test on the same day, with 2 or 3 days notice, (of course if the kid has been writing down their assignments, it's noticeable that he just completed a chapter review-definite hint that a test is imminent). Starting in 5th or 6th grade is the time to start discussing the relationship between hard work in middle school, leading to honors/AP courses in high school. It's not too early, though not at one sitting or one time, to check out college requirements regarding GPA, scholarship, costs, etc. If a child begins high school with a high B or A average from middle school, knowing he would really like to get into Northwestern, but parents can only pay for a state school, with help; Well, then he knows what he needs to do regarding grades, activities, sports, part-time work, etc. Funny how that can keep a high school kid straight, busy, and focused, thus successful. They even have fun, since they are using body, mind, and discipline. (Supplies to keep on hand: Old legos, Tinker toys; logs from building kits; matchbox cars; the Fisher-Price peoples and trees; etc. Also Crayons, googly eyes, feathers, glitter, markers, construction paper, empty shoe boxes, glue, ruler, calculator, loose leaf paper, plain white paper-computer; poster board, decent supply of old magazines, tape, blue and black pens, pencils, sharpener, dictionary, thesaurus).