Girl Meets Candid Classroom – What Parents Want to Know & Teachers Want to Tell Them

When my daughter entered Kindergarten, my husband and I had no doubt she was going to take on the world.  We also had no clue what we were doing and what was expected of us as parents in this new environment.  Having just entered second grade, our daughter is definitely taking on the world and we have been in the back seat giving direction {or should I say, my husband is in the back seat and I’m hovering above.}  How do I know I’m hovering above, like one of those helicopter parents?  From reading “Candid Classroom – What Parents Want to Know & Teachers Want to Tell Them.” 

Candid Classroom

I never thought I was a helicopter parent, but Erica Ladd’s straightforward book on education and how parents and teachers can work together for the benefit of our kids, let me know ever so gently that in fact, I am a FULL ON helicopter parent.  I like to help my daughter out because I worry about her having too much responsibility.  She is only seven years-old and she’ll only be this age once in her life.  Bingo!  Classic helicopter parent behavior.

Erica makes some substantiated arguments on why this is not beneficial to the child.  For one, I’m not allowing her to foster her own independence and responsibility.  So, as of this year, I am giving up control of making sure the homework is done or the backpack is ready for the day.  These items are solely my daughter’s responsibility {I may still give a reminder or two}.

Along with opening my eyes to my parenting style, the book also taught me some other important things, such as how important Clorox Wipes are to a teacher.  I knew they were important, but they truly are essential to running a classroom, and I will never again complain when I’m asked to purchase 3 containers of wipes as part of our school supplies.  In fact, I may even drop off some extra containers throughout the year.

The book uses wit and humor to get the point across and really focuses on parents and teachers working together by offering some good lessons in parent/teacher communication.  I’m not a constant e-mailer, I do believe that a teacher has a lot on her plate and I don’t want to add to it unless absolutely necessary.  But, given that point of view, there may have been times I should have e-mailed a teacher and didn’t.  Erica offers some great advice and suggests you definitely e-mail, call or make an appointment with your child’s teacher if there is a concern.  And if there’s not, just send the teacher a little note to let her know she’s doing a great job!


I didn’t agree with everything in the book, specifically the chapter about cursive writing.  Erica thinks it should not be taught at school given the fact that most communication these days is via keyboard.  I agree to a certain point, but I want my daughter to learn cursive, I just may have to teacher it to her myself.  I am waxing nostalgic, but you can’t argue with the fact that a pretty handwritten note isn’t awesome, can you?!

Erica dives into other topics, such as math and how we tend to label our kids as either being good at math, or not good at math.  I was labeled as not being good at math, and I labeled my daughter that, too.  She learned to talk, read and write quickly, but always struggled with numbers.  Erica believes this labeling is wrong, and in fact everyone can do math, we may just be going about it the wrong way.  After reading this chapter, I agree and will not lable my daughter as anything but amazing.

Finally, Erica talks about testing and homework and grades.  She talks about how we as parents can keep all of these things in perspective, how teachers view these things, and how important they really are.  I will tell you that she’s not a big supporter of homework at the elementary school level, and again, I agree with her.  She states that homework has become more a matter of routine than an actual learning tool.  It’s also one of our least favorite things to do in our house and it tends to cause a lot of stress.  Any tips on alleviating some of that stress are greatly appreciated; I just wish more educators shared her view.

I think this is a great book for parents and teachers.  I think Erica makes a lot of valid points and offers great tips for parents in helping guide them through the elementary school years with their kids.  If you struggle with parent/teacher communication or if you feel clueless about navigating this world, I suggest you read this book!

On a semi-related note, one of our favorite shows right now is the new Disney Channel “Girl Meets World.”  If you watched “Boy Meets World” in the 90’s {I did, even though I was in my 20’s:)  Don’t judge!}, then you know Cory and Topanga.  Now you get to meet their daughter Riley, and watch as Cory and Topanga try to guide Riley through the perils of middle school, while not being helicopter parents.  Sounds like my future.


Related Links:

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  1. Erica Ladd says

    Thank you Angela for your honest and well-written review! It makes my day to know you learned something in a gentle, fun way and that you feel more equipped and confident as a parent in this crazy world of school!

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