Recently, we had the chance to work with teachers from another organisation and we were sharing our experiences about how students learn and pick up new knowledge. We came to the topic of parental involvement in learning and did a comparison of back then and now.

Back then as in 10-35 years ago.

There has been so many changes in the education system and naturally the type of lessons or curriculum taught. Then came the discussion of a parent’s role.

10-20 years ago, our parents ability to send us to enrichment was greatly influenced

  • Affluence
  • Time
  • Family & Education Background

I’ll explain a little with a summary of the age strata of parents.

Adults aged 50^ (Year 2014): 

The driving factor was that they were children born in the 1947 – 1957, where the post war baby boom occurred. With that many mouths to feed in the family, money was scarce. Very often, the concern was more on food and lodging and not so much on education and standard of living. Family planning was not a topic that many were aware of. While the importance of education was known, not all could afford it. Minimal parental involvement in learning, and learning was mostly done in school.

Adults aged 35^ (Year 2014)

Back in the days of studying, we often recount stories of running through the school fields, hunting for spiders and crickets; playing soccer; babysitting our younger siblings. I would say the subject of tuition was not as common. In fact, I think most of us did not attend much extra curriculum classes back then. Many of us started working early to help with the household income, and chose to complete our degree or certification while we were working.

We had a pretty much fun childhood, where there was healthy competition, lots of fun and laughter while growing up. There was awareness on education, but the depth was not heavily emphasized on. Parental involvement perhaps increased a little, but there were other areas of concerns that parents were focusing on.

Adults aged 25-35 (Year 2014)

Adults at this age have probably gone through a few classes, but nothing too extensive. Perhaps ballet, art, abacus or supplementary/tuition for subjects. We would move on to complete our education in the ‘expected’ course which is Primary, Secondary, JC/Poly/ITE, followed by other vocational institutes or University. It is a widely discussed factor on how a degree certification was important as it would have determined your salary range. Parent involvement has increased, with our parents sitting with us to do our homework and guiding us till a certain age (up till Primary 6).

Perhaps it is us, who makes it more competitive. With better education, we have more awareness on the importance of education and how it can possibly affect our future. Perhaps we want our kids to do more with their lives, to be able to experience what we may have missed out, to prepare them for a more competitive society.

So what do we do as parents?

Well when we turn parents, we do our best to give the best to our children. Apart from guiding and helping them with homework and learning from a young age, we also scheduled activities for them, perhaps some of which we have not attended before. Some of the newer classes these days are phonics and brain development. Likewise the usual maths, science, chinese, english lessons are not to be left out. There’s piano, tennis, ballet, swimming, bowling and the list could go on. There are so much more opportunities these days to experience activities, which may not have been available during our time. Having lessons are not a bad thing, but sometimes we do have to take a step back and re-look at how the schedule is. I’m sure both parents and children don’t want to be overloaded.

Parental Involvement

Coming back to the topic of parental involvement, I would say that for adults in their 25^, we had more parental involvement during our schooling years. While our parents were mostly busy with work, or perhaps taking care of the family, they would still make the effort of staying up with us to help with our schoolwork whenever they could.

But as new age adults mature into parents, the trend shows three distinct categories:

Minimalist: Parents receive feedback on areas of weaknesses of their children, but are often much too busy to be able to coach the child themselves. They may send their children to classes which they think is beneficial to the child’s future. Otherwise, parents may find themselves lacking in the knowledge of the field of interest and may want the teachers to take over entirely on educating the child. Some parents may not be able to guide the child on learning at home due to their busy schedules.

Fair Sharing: Parents are informed of weaknesses of their children and there is parental involvement where parents do the necessary research and perhaps schedule some extra classes for their children. Parents are keen in getting involved and helping their children excel, but are also concern if the child is interested. Parents may take time off to be more involve by engaging in similar activities at home, be it schoolwork or extra curriculum activities.

All In: Many stay home moms/dad are heavily involved in their child’s learning. Be it home schooled or extra classes, parents take a lot of time and effort to get to know the content and subjects, in order to be able to teach the child, at the child’s pace. Lots of hands on learning and maybe family activities which revolves around a well balanced education. Parents are open to new learning techniques and prefer to give the child the ease of freedom of learning, rather than sending for multitudes of classes.

I believe that all parents want their children to excel, and be able to meet up to the ‘standard’ of education as placed by society or perhaps even excel beyond that. Circumstances will also affect what kind of parental involvement we can afford. Perhaps we can allocate more of ourselves into our kid’s learning when we are able to free up more time. It is a give and take situation after all, and you can’t have the best of both worlds (Time & Money), but you can try your best to achieve a balance in both.

Have a good week everyone!

Signing Off~

Side note:

Here’s a study done based on the US education by informED on parental involvement. It is interesting as admittedly time, money and involvement are linked in affecting a child’s learning and growth.

Here the link for the full picture