Are You an Involved Parent?
With the start of the new school year, I have always been involved in my children’s education by communicating with teachers, attending parent-teacher meetings, being a room mother, and going to school events. Is there anything else parents should do to be involved in their children’s education?
What you describe is what it means to be an involved parent. You know what is happening at your child’s school and have the information you need to have meaningful conversations with them about what is going on in the classroom. However, there is one more thing you should know.
Parents need to be involved at home as well as at school. You can do so much at home to ensure your child’s success in school. On the non-academic side, you can teach patience, responsibility, and respect for others — all traits that will enhance your child’s educational journey.
Another area parents should be involved with, especially in the early grades, is monitoring homework. This will give you an opportunity to expand the curriculum through related learning activities at home, even if it is just during conversation at the dinner table.
Finally, it definitely helps if you read, every day, to your child. Be willing to go beyond reading with younger children by asking questions about what is happening in the story. For preschoolers, identify objects on the page, talk about color, or play a game where you ask your child to count how many cats or birds appear on the page. For early readers, get your child’s opinion on the characters’ behavior — are they mad, sad, happy, or funny? — and have them predict how the story might end. With older children (grades five and beyond), discussions can include information about the author and the author’s point of view.
Finally, let your children see that you are excited about what they are learning. This will make them even more eager to learn and share what they are learning with you.
Easing the Transition to Middle School
It’s transition time for our daughter as she moves up to middle school. Although she does not seem too anxious, I have heard middle school can be challenging. What are some things that I can do to ensure this transition goes smoothly?
Hopefully, your daughter has visited her new school so she has a good idea of the physical layout. The more familiar your child is with the new environment, the more comfortable she will feel.
Besides visiting a school in person, your daughter should visit the middle school’s website. It will definitely increase what she knows about the school with information about policies, vacation dates, grading, and possibly pictures of the teachers.
Her comfort might also be enhanced if she can reconnect with former classmates before the first day of school. It can be very helpful for kids if they arrange meet up with friends they already know and discuss the upcoming year.
It also pays dividends for them to talk to students who are already established at the new school. Friends can give helpful advice about what to do and not do.
You may also gain a greater perspective on what middle school is like by reading books like Middle School: The Inside Story: What Kids Tell Us, But Don't Tell You.
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