Tag Archives: elementary

Back in School, Part 3: Teachers

Every morning when you send your child to school, you are putting her into the educational, social, emotional and physical care of other adults.  This can be intimidating at times, but it doesn’t have to be.

The vast majority of teachers are in classrooms because they want to be, because they care about the students and love the material they teach, and because they want to make a difference.  They spend time in the classroom trying to instill in youngsters the love of learning.  And they spend time outside the classroom preparing lessons, grading work, and keeping the mountains of records and paperwork required by the school system.

Most of all, they want every child—your child—to be successful.  That success is far less likely without your support.

  • Speak positively about your child’s teachers.  If you hear complaints from your young student, listen with an objective mind. 
  • Establish a relationship with a teacher.  If you can volunteer at the school, wonderful.  Your schedule may not allow that, so find other ways to be in touch.
    • Stay connected.  Most teachers and classrooms have a website.  Send the teacher an e-mail when you appreciate something he’s done for your child or if you have a question.  If there’s ever a problem, you will have built a positive base for your relationship, and the problem will be easier to deal with.
    • Attend parent-teacher conferences.  These are important for everyone concerned:  student, teacher, family.  You will learn things about the classroom and how your child interacts with adults and classmates, and will come away with a much more rounded picture of the education process in that particular class.
    • Make appointments.  Don’t wait for a conference if you have questions or concerns.  Face-to-face meetings are helpful and teachers want to be available to you.  They will want to hear from you sooner rather than later.
    • Reinforce at home what’s happening in the classroom.  From spelling tests to chemistry homework, from learning how to talk out problems with fellow students to deciding what to eat for lunch, the teacher and you are on the same team.
    • Of course, if there is ever concern about inappropriate or illegal activity by a teacher or any other adult, notify the authorities immediately.

Teachers are on the front lines of helping your child develop in age-appropriate ways.  Support them, connect with them, and thank them.

© 2014, MBS Writing Services, all rights reserved

Back in School, Part 2: Homework

If it seems that with the new school year your kids’ amount of homework has increased, that’s likely true.  Each year a new grade brings with it increasing amounts of responsibility, including homework.  Some homework can be started during the school day, but often it needs to be finished after hours.

Homework can sometimes seem overwhelming, both for your child and for the whole family.  Here are a few helpful tips.

  • Attitude.  If you treat homework as positively as possible, that will help your young student.  Doing schoolwork at home has many up sides, including letting you in on how things are going at school.  You’ll learn what your child is studying and how easy or difficult a particular subject is for him.
  • Assistance.  You shouldn’t do your child’s homework, but there are many things you can help her with.  Memorization is one of the biggest.  Make practicing for spelling and arithmetic tests fun.  Make flash cards together out of scrap paper cut into squares.  Use free online websites to get ideas or even create games around specific words or subjects.  Prepping for a social studies test about Mexico?  Make sure you understand what topics are being covered, and look at some web videos that show art, culture and travel.
  • Time.  This is the biggie, isn’t it?  You’ve been thrown from sleeping in and days by the pool, to waiting for the bus and trying to decide what to have for supper and how you’ll get everyone where they need to be when they need to be there.  Every day is crunch time.  How to schedule in homework?
    • These first few weeks are important in figuring out which subjects and days of the week will require more time.
    • Negotiate with the students in your house.  They may need a little down time to play a game and have a snack when they first get home, or they may prefer to get homework out of the way.
    • Do a back-off timetable from bedtime.  Figure out when they need to be in bed, about how much time homework will take, and work out with the students when and how they’ll get the work done.
    • If the time is overwhelming and your child is spending far too much time with homework, talk to the teacher.  This is important information for any teacher to know.
  • Space.  Find the right space where you can keep an eye on computer screens while also limiting distractions.
  • Support.  The Scott County Library has online help from 2 p.m. until midnight, a great local resource.  Many teachers and classrooms have their own website where homework assignments may be posted.  For middle and high school, get familiar with the Infinite Campus site, where you can follow grades and attendance.  There’s even an app in the Apple Store.
  • Involvement.  If you see problems developing, don’t wait.  Talk to your child’s teacher right away.  Usually they’ll have good ideas for helping your youngster’s academic progress at home.  If you worry that there may be a medical problem or learning disability, contact our office for an appointment.

Homework is an essential tool in learning, both now and in developing the right skills for a lifetime.  With your help and encouragement, the students in your family can do well.

 

© 2014, MBS Writing Services, all rights reserved