Now that school is in full swing and your little learners are adjusting to the routine of their classroom and coming home with all kinds of new knowledge to report, you may be asking yourself, “are they really learning?” What can a parent do to get a fuller picture of their child’s academic progress and what they should be doing to help? Having meaningful communication with your child’s teacher, be it a phone call, a face to face interaction at school, an email to him or her, or even your child’s first parent/teacher conference shouldn’t be an intimidating, confusing or one-sided event. Having a quick list of questions for the teacher written out on an index card can make interaction more meaningful for everyone involved. Here are some sample questions taken from Beyond the Bake Sale:
- Is my child performing at a proficient level (up to standard) in basic skills? If not, is my child above or below? If below, ask: What is your plan for helping my child catch up? How can I help?
- What do my child’s test scores show? What are his or her strengths and weaknesses?
- Can we go over some examples of my child’s work? Will you explain your grading standards?
- Does my child need extra help in any area (including adjusting to school)? What do you recommend? How can we work together to help my child?
- Does my child do all the assigned work, including homework?
- Does my child seem to like school and get along with classmates?
- Have you noticed any changes in my child (over the year)?
These types of questions get away from just a child’s behavior and give a parent a truer understanding of whether learning goals are being met. It also communicates to the teacher that the parent and teacher are equal partners in a team effort.