Back to School Night Tips

Back to School Night is far more than an opportunity to meet your child’s teacher, find out where he sits, and see the cute bulletin boards.  This is your first chance to become an involved partner with the school in educating your child.  There is some essential information that you need to have in order to reinforce the concepts being taught in the classroom.  So here are some of the questions that you need to be prepared to have answered:

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  • What will your child be learning this year?  American history, fractions, compound sentences?  If your have this information, you will be able to support the concepts he will be studying.  For instance:  if your child will be reading about Idaho history, plan a day trip to places like Fort Boise, Three Rivers Crossing, or Idaho City.  If he will be learning shapes, point out shapes as you drive through town or ask if he wants his sandwich left in the shape of a square, or cut into two rectangles or four triangles.  You get the point.  Help the curriculum be relevant to the child’s everyday experience.
  • What homework is going to be assigned?  Is he expected to do homework every night?  Is twenty minutes of reading required each day?  Does the teacher want you to assist with homework completion or is homework a way for her to tell if the concepts taught have been learned? (Homework is a critical part of being a good student.  If it isn’t assigned, you need to be prepared to extend the school learning time by supplying activities that strengthen learning.  Come to our "Surviving the Homework Scene” class to learn how.)
  • How will the teacher keep you informed of your child’s progress?  Is there a weekly folder with graded papers that will be sent home?  What day should you expect it?  Does the teacher grade in percentages or letter grades?  How will the teacher let you know when classroom performance or behavior is a problem?
  • When is the best time to contact the teacher?  Does she prefer notes, visits, emails, or phone calls?  Give her the best way to contact you.
  • What can you do to support the teacher?  Does she want parent volunteers?  Or can you assist by grading papers or preparing the materials for projects while you are at home?  This is often a good alternative for parents who work or have pre-school aged children at home.

Answers to these questions will help you to be a well-informed parent who can reinforce the skills and information your child will be learning.  Asking these questions sends the message that you are involved and interested in what’s going on at school.  It is positive for the teacher to know that you are there to help, and it is a great gift to your child!

Good Luck!

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Tags: back to school  teachers  parent teacher night  being involved  childs education 

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