At this point in time parent portals are old hat for most parents and school districts. A password protected program for parents to login to and see their child's grades, attendance, behavior and lunch account. Seems like a genius idea for opening the door for parent/child communication right?

Filed under the things that make me crazy edition #852 is parent portals and the expectation that I am to, in a sense, micromanage my kids. Especially my oldest kids. I have a major love hate with modern technology when it comes to education today. On one hand, there are so many tools and ways to communicate between school and home but on the other hand there are so many tools and logins and passwords and it's like wait, am I in school again or is my kid?

I mean, when I was in middle or high school my parents had no idea if I was missing a packet from math or bombed my language arts test. They found out my grades at midquarter time and the end of the quarter. Maybe conference time. This meant that I knew when I was struggling, had a missing assignment or bombed a test and I knew when I needed to kick it in high gear. It was on me. 

Now I can tell you how many points my stepson got on his Spanish quiz he took three hours ago and even if he got seconds in the lunch line {I admit, this is sometimes helpful information for my checkbook!}. There are times I could tell you my childs scores on something before they have even seen their score. 

I consider myself an involved, informed parent yet I rarely log on to parent portal programs. Not because I don't care, not because I don't want my child to succeed but mostly because we've outlined the expectation with our children and they know what is expected of them.

My 15 year old stepson wants to drive come January, he knows what GPA he has to maintain in order to not only be on our insurance but stay on the football team. My 8 year old wants to play hockey, he knows that he needs to do his daily homework and make sure that HE is staying on top of his reading minutes for the month. I'm happy to help with homework as needed, I'm happy to time and record reading minutes but I'm not going to be hounding my kids to get their work done. It's a simple cause and effect.

It is funny that when our kids enter preschool and kindergarten, teachers expect and appreciate independence. Knowing how to get dressed, tie shoes, carry ones' backpack and even answer a question from the teacher. Over time this responsibility should only increase.

My goal for my kids is to become successful adults with a job and relationships and the ability to manage their own time, responsibilities and life. If I'm always hovering and logging onto a website and asking them why they got 75% on their Language Test, I'm not doing them any favors. How will this affect them come college or when they have jobs when I'm not there to question why they didn't study before their Math final or making sure they aren't late to work?

Do I think the parent portal can be helpful? Absolutely. If used as a once in awhile check in, yes. If used on daily basis to micromanage, no. And there are probably cases where mom or dad have to get on their kid to get them in gear. There are always exceptions. But my personal take on parent portal? Set the expectations with your kids, check in once in awhile and move on. 

What do you think? Are you a fan of parent portal programs? Do you feel like it helps or hurts your kids?

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