Let’s talk about the parent portal, shall we? I know how it works for the most part but have conflicted feelings about using it. For those of you who don’t know what the parent portal is, it’s a way for you to view your child’s progress at school. You log onto the computer (if you can remember yet another password) to find your child’s grades and assignments and scores and whatever else they post on there. I do go on it to see report card grades but that’s pretty much it. I’m old school. I much preferred the former system of getting the report card in the mail. Our school district used to mail the report cards on Friday which meant they would arrive on Saturday. This was very smart because they figured you couldn’t call to complain until Monday by which time you probably would have calmed down or forgotten about the report card altogether. The timing tended to ruin my entire weekend because I generally had no idea how my child was doing, having been led be believe things were rosier than they actually were. Although the shock of seeing the report card was worse for one’s blood pressure (I think I may have had a mini stroke a few times), it was less stressful overall. With the new parent portal, there is definitely pressure to be more involved (and therefore more upset) on a continual basis. I know there has been a shift towards transparency and more communication but how much information is enough? Or too much? I do not think is beneficial to either parent or child to be able to view each assignment and grade. Perhaps this is a good idea for the younger kids. But for the older kids a mid progress report is more than enough. The portal seems to be yet another way to promote helicopter parenting and becoming overinvolved. While it may be true that you don’t HAVE to look at the portal, for some people the temptation to check may be too much (kind of like the temptation to check Facebook).
If you have young children and are starting out with this new portal system perhaps it’s fantastic but when you had gotten used to the old way of doing things it just isn’t.
I have a tacit agreement with my youngest child. He tells me what I need to know and I make no attempt to look at the assignments and test schedules. If at the end of the marking period he has not been forthcoming, I may have to get involved, which I really prefer not to do. Perhaps the portal may have use as a backup system –“don’t make me have to check THE PORTAL.” But on a daily or even weekly basis I have to trust that my now high schooler is learning what he needs to do and how to manage his time. After all, there aren’t parent portals in college or graduate schools. Are there?