Parent-teacher conferences are wonderful opportunities for families and teachers to come together to create action plans for helping children succeed both in and out of the classroom. But what do you do when this first meeting doesn’t occur until the late fall? Waiting until that first report card, and later parent-teacher meeting, can often be an uncertain time. Report cards, good or bad, seem to be condensing weeks of ups and downs into a few short phrases. How can you be aware of what your child is learning right now? What can you be doing at home to help make sure he feels successful in his learning all year round?
- First and foremost, make sure that your child understands how important school is by asking specific questions about her day. Ask what book the teacher read that day, and what was their favorite part? Make a habit of playing a game like High/Low where once a week each person at the dinner table takes a turn sharing what was the highest point of their week and what was the lowest point. Take note about the highs and lows your children share about school, and then work with them to either encourage them or improve the situation.
- If you are already in the habit of displaying your child’s schoolwork around the house, consider collecting their pieces into a portfolio of work after they are ready to come off the fridge. This is a collection of work your child is really proud of, and they will love looking through the folder with you as the year goes on and seeing their progress. This can also be an incredibly useful resource to bring with you to parent-teacher conferences so that you have work to reference if you have questions about your child’s strengths and needs.
- Go ahead and get in touch with your child’s teacher to ask for suggestions about what your child can be practicing at home. You can use the work that your child brings home or the stories about their school day as a way to launch this conversation. If your child mentions loving a counting book that his teacher read, ask the teacher for similar books you can read at home, or skills from the book that you and your child can practice Even if you are not quite sure what your child’s academic needs are you can still get in touch with their teacher to ask what they have been working on that you can also work on at home. Remember, practice makes perfect!
Engaging in any one of the activities above will help strengthen home-school connections for your child and will underscore the importance of the skills they are learning in school. You will not only gain insight into what they are working on and what they need help with, but you will also be able to come prepared to talk about your child’s progress at the first parent-teacher meeting in the fall. This sets a strong foundation for working with your child’s teacher to create an academic plan that will help your child get the very most out of their school year!
What tricks do you use to keep up with your child’s day-to-day schooling? Let us know in the comments below.
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