Our lives are super busy. It’s hard to find time to sit down and relax. Kids keep us busy. Raising kids who have disabilities keep us extra busy. There always seems to be a doctor’s appointment to run to. Therapy fills our week. Add to that all the school stuff and ARD meetings. Sometimes it feels like all the paperwork we have to shuffle is a full-time job.
On top of that is the emotional stress. Always wondering if we’re making the right decisions. Always wondering how things are really going at school when we’re not around. How do we know our kids are being treated well?
If you’ve ever asked to observe your child at school, you’ve probably been told you can’t. Many parents are told that they can’t observe a special education classroom because of confidentiality reasons.
If you are allowed, there are usually some restrictions. First, you usually have to schedule a time. You can only observe for a short amount of time. You can only observe during certain times of the day. You can only observe in certain settings. My issue with this is you only get a snapshot of your child’s day. If you schedule a time, the staff will know you’re coming. They can prepare for you. Are you really getting a true picture?
As I said, we are super busy! Adding something else into our day seems impossible. However, if you really want to know what is going on at your child’s school, you should volunteer! Join the PTA. Volunteer in the library. Volunteer in the cafeteria. Volunteer to be a classroom helper. It doesn’t even need to be in your child’s class. A lot of schools now have a program for dads where they can be role models at school.
Volunteers get a sneak peek inside the school. When you’re involved in your child’s education through volunteering, you get the inside scoop about what’s going on behind closed doors! Volunteering helps the students and staff, but it also helps you! You get the chance to observe what’s happening on a more informal basis. These “informal observations” are priceless.
Finding the extra time to volunteer isn’t easy. Especially if you have a full-time job. But if you can find a way to make it happen, you’ll learn so much about your child’s day.
Volunteering also builds a strong relationship with your child’s school.