Home Responsibility for Educating Children
Parents and caregivers bear great responsibility for children’s early learning and for the genesis of and support for the curriculum that children will use for their entire lives. Parents also have a significant role in nurturing the academic work children experience after entering school. No formal or legal demands exist that require parents to instruct their children. At the same time, common cultural assumptions regarding child rearing imply that parents will guide and prepare children for life in a community. Also, statutes concerning abuse and neglect have emerged over the years, and parents parsimonious in nurturing and guiding their children risk citations of maltreatment and its consequences (Lazzara & Poland, 2001). Parents must also be vigilant in protecting their child from abuse from others entrusted with their care.
Most societies do little to formally prepare parents for rearing children, and the United States is no exception. When extended families were more common, child raising was probably more coherent. Informal advice from other parents and extended family was more available, community standards were more constant, and families were far less mobile (Walsh, F., 2002). In today’s society, with its matrix of ever-increasing forces producing stress, mobility, and differing home styles, child-raising practice has become less consistent and more pressured (Elkind, 2001, 1994). Daily lives now are more frenetic, and some families come close to abandoning responsibilities for home guidance, and by default the media assumes a larger role. Unfortunately considerable amounts of information on television, films, video games, CDs, and the Internet tend to offer role models that “emphasize commercialism, sexuality, substance abuse, and violence” (Bronfenbrenner, 2001, p. 199).
Nonetheless, expectations for parents do exist, and persons in other social settings anticipate that families will provide these beginning experiences as children grow and move into the conventional school environment and the neighborhood.
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