What did you learn today?
This weekend I was fortunate enough to be a guest blogger on http://moderndaymoms.com. Below is the published article.
At dinner tables across the country, parents ask children what they learned in school every day. Those questions are filled with answers such as “I don’t remember”, “I don’t know” and the always popular “nothing”. Even though parents know that this is not possible, they don’t know where to turn for the answers. Yes, they can do directly to the source and ask the teachers but it is also important for parents to take ownership over their son or daughter’s learning.
Starting in elementary school, most curriculums are based on state standards. These standards are published online and anyone can research them without much difficulty. These standards highlight benchmarks and goals that students must reach throughout and by the end of each school year, depending on the grade level. Along with needing to meet certain standards, each school uses specific programs for each subject area. Anyone can ask their child’s teacher for this information and most likely, the program outline can be found online also. Take a look at these standards and programs and be prepared to see work come home that supports each of these.
When I was teaching, back to school or meet the teacher night was arranged to meet with parents of my students to give an overview of our yearly goals and daily routines. This was generally very well received by parents and a lot of those initial questions they had were answered throughout the evening.
In addition, I sent home a monthly newsletter highlighting topics that will be covered in each subject area, class birthdays, class field trips and book of the month (determined by the school). I encouraged parents to keep this paper handy and refer to it throughout the month. This way, instead of accepting the answer of “nothing” at the dinner table, they could reply with a specific answer such as “I think you are learning about balls and ramps in science, did you do this today?” Letting your child know you are involved and aware of what is going on in school is helpful for you but also for them. Forming a connectedness between home and school is crucial for them to recognize.
Other parents are a great resource. Teachers typically give out a class list with the other parents contact information. Form an email group to keep in contact with them. Share stories, ask questions and form a network to help each other. If you are a first time school parent, talking with parents that have older children in the school can help. They have more experience with the school, administration and teachers. Schools are communities and becoming part of this community will make the transition much smoother for the children and parents.