Supporting the School's Efforts
One of the most important steps you can take in support of your child's education is to be an active participant in his school's initiatives and efforts. Getting involved not only makes you better informed about the school's expectations of your child, but it also validates the importance of school for your child. You can support your child's school's efforts and initiatives by doing the following:
- Maintain open dialogue with your child's teacher(s). Take advantage of every opportunity to communicate with your child's teacher(s). At the beginning of each semester, reach out to the teacher(s) and introduce yourself. Share any information that you think would be useful for them to know about your child and her progress in school. Be sure to take advantage of opportunities to participate in school events, such as open-house nights and parent-teacher conferences. Making use of Kmail to communicate on a regular basis is a great way to establish and maintain an effective relationship with your child's teacher(s).
- Communicate expectations about school to your child in the same lingo the teacher uses. Become familiar with the behavioral expectations in each of your child's classes and adopt many of the same expectations at home, using the same terminology to describe them. Teachers sometimes use this approach to maintain a consistent set of expectations from class to class. Using the same strategy at home further reinforces the school's efforts.
- Brush up on grade-specific standards. Prepare for the transition to new grades/courses by reviewing the standards for specific skills and concepts that are essential for those grade levels. Before the school year starts, practice skills and concepts from the previous grade level to make sure your child hasn't regressed during his time away from school. Then move forward with the material that's central to his upcoming grade/courses.
- Know what your child is learning in each class. Keep abreast of the topics being covered in your child's classes. A great way to this is to review assignments and other materials that are sent home. Staying familiar with the content your child is learning allows you to support her understanding through extra practice at home. Even having basic conversations about what she learned at school on any given day communicates to your child that you value her education and are there to support her.
- Keep track of your child's progress. Don't wait until report cards come home to check on your child's progress. Review graded assignments that are sent home. Ask your child's teacher(s) whether and how you can find out about any missing assignments or areas in which your child is struggling. Find out about any technology available that enables you to monitor your child's performance and progress and maintain contact with the teachers, and then make use of these tools. As you track your child's performance and progress, consult the Common Core Standards to determine whether your child is learning what he needs to know to achieve the standards for his current grade level.
- Communicate the importance of organization and meeting deadlines. Help your child organize her school materials in a way that's efficient and understandable to her. This may include the use of folders, binders, or other organizational methods that are reasonable for use at home and school. Teachers sometimes require their materials to be organized in a specific way, so check with your child's teacher(s) before getting started. Also consider posting a calendar in your child's work area at home that contains important dates for school. You can model this practice by doing the same by posting dates for important family events in your home. Learning to track deadlines is an important skill for students to master early.