School Psych Made Simple

September - Getting back into the Swing of Things

Chats to have with your children about school

Showing interest in you child's education is the foundation for school success. Research shows that supporting your child's education at home is even more important than volunteering in school. Here are four suggestions from Resources for Educators for conversations that will help keep you involved in your child's education.
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"Let's see what you brought home!"

Take a genuine interest in what your child is learning in school. Look at completed work to find out what your youngster is learning and how well she is doing with the material. Comment about what an expert she is becoming on the rainforest when she brings home that diorama she created! Today, there are less and less worksheets coming home, so you may have to dig a little deeper to assess how your child is understanding concepts in math or science. Also, respond to notes from her teacher and sign her daily or weekly planner if required.
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"Show me what you have for homework."

Parents often ask, "How much should I be involved in homework with my child." It is a tricky topic because some children are fiercely independent and don't want their parents' involvement in their work. This could be due to the fact that it is easy for the child and they need no help or the child is struggling and they don't want their parents to see how difficult it is for them. Either way, it is important for you to let your child know that it is their job to do their homework, but you play a role too. Make sure he knows what he's supposed to do by having him explain the assignment to you. After he finishes his homework, glance over the work to see that it's complete. If you see that your child had a difficult time with the homework or there are many errors in his work, send a brief email to the teacher letting him or her know about the difficulty. Attempting to re-teach your child a concept that was not understood in class can be a no-win situation, often resulting in comments from your child like, "That's not the way Ms. Smith taught us to do that!" or even better, "You don't know what you're doing!" So before you're about to banish your child to his room for life; it is better to leave the re-teaching to the experts!
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"Tell me about a book you enjoyed reading or listening to today."

This gives you an idea of what your child prefers to read. Then, build a daily reading habit by asking what she'd like to read tonight. Encourage her reading and listening skills by reading aloud to her and letting her read to you.

"Tell me what you learned that you'd like to know more about."

Use her interests as a jumping-off point for activities to share. If she likes geometry, you might do tangrams together. If she's fascinated by how animals adapt to winter, take her to the library to research the subject or to the zoo to see live animals. In school, our approach to tapping into the children's interests is through Genius Hour, so if you have these conversations with your child, they will be ready and excited to pursue their passions in school during that time.

Daily After School Questions

Asking your child how his day went often results in a response like, "Fine." or "Good." But we know there is more to tell. The key is asking the right questions. Try these probes to get more information from your tight-lipped student:

  • "What's the coolest thing that happened? What wasn't so cool?'
  • "Pretend you're the teacher. How would you describe the day?"
  • What made you laugh?"
  • "What was the most creative thing you did?"
  • "How were you kind or helpful today? Was anyone kind or helpful to you?"