Education begins at home

Well, it’s that time of year again. Students in Marion County are returning to school this week. The students have fresh new clothes and new haircuts. The classrooms are clean and the pencils are sharpened. Parents are posting one last first-day-of-school photo before sending their children off to school to learn and become better citizens.
Because, let’s face it, that’s ultimately what school is all about—teaching children to become a better citizen who will impact the future in a positive way. Teachers love their profession or else they wouldn’t be doing it. Lord knows they are not in it for the money. But teaching a child is a heavy burden to bear without any help. It’s been said that education begins at home. And the educators know this. That’s why during the beginning of the school year, teachers send home with the student information sheets that the parents will hopefully read and take to heart to make the students’ education process something that all—the teacher, the student and the parents— invest in.
Winfield Middle School is sending home with the students a School Compact Mission Statement. The statement lists the school’s and students’ responsibilities during the upcoming year. The students will be responsible for completing and returning homework assignments and showing respect to adults and classmates every day, among other responsibilities. The school will be responsible for communicating regularly with parents about the child’s progress through newsletters, report cards and progress reports and assisting parents with home learning activities.  
But, the list also includes responsibilities for the parents. Parents are responsible for their child’s punctuality and school attendance. Parents are responsible for maintaining a time and place for homework and reviewing it regularly.
But the school also wants the parents to monitor their children’s television viewing time and time spent on hand-held electronic devices. These devices can be a distraction and a negative influence on children.
Hamilton Elementary School guidance counselor Erica Salter urges parents to encourage their children to read, and she hopes parents will keep an open line of communication with the teachers regarding their childrens’ progress. Salter encourages parents to help their children set obtainable goals throughout the year. And she also encourages parents keep a great attitude and to constantly encourage their children to do their best.
These are great tips for any parent in Marion County. The education of children is not relegated solely to the classroom. Parents are the first educators and how that child develops is a reflection on the parent.
In Hamilton Middle School there is a huge banner strung across the wall for all to see. “We are respectful, responsible, and resourceful,” it reads. Those are words that we all should take to heart. The students of Marion County should be taught to be respectful to themselves and to other people because that one quality—respect for others—will lead to a better future for all involved.