The Savvy Parent’s Guide to Public School is a down-to-earth, user-friendly resource for parents of school-age children, kindergarten through high school. Alice Wellborn was a school psychologist for over 35 years, and she has served as the education specialist at FlyLady for many years. Alice offers a practical guide to help parents navigate the often frustrating world of public education.
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Here is an excerpt from the book, continued from last week:
Tools for Success: Be a Partner with School Staff
Find the person at your child’s school who is family-centered and willing to listen to parents and help them out. Ask around your neighborhood or your church to see who other parents recommend. This person is often the guidance counselor, the school psychologist, or the school social worker. Call her! These student support folks work for the schools, but they serve the children. They aren’t as tied to rules and policies as the school administrators have to be, so they can think outside the box a bit. If they can’t help you, they probably know who can. Or if there is no help for the situation, they can probably explain why and help you work out the best plan possible for your child.
Don’t believe everything your child tells you about school, and we won’t believe everything he says about home! Kids misunderstand, and they will also play adults off each other if they think they can. Make the phone call and check it out with the teacher before you get mad. If there is a problem, the grown-ups can work it out between them. It’s a dangerous thing to let children be in charge of the parent/school communication, and it is unwise to always believe your child over the adults at school.
Request teachers only for academic reasons that relate specifically to your child. Unfortunately, many teacher requests are based on what your neighbor said or what you heard in the laundromat and not on your child’s learning style and educational needs. You have to remember that Mrs. Jones might have been the best thing that ever happened to little Tiffany down the street, but her teaching style could be a year-long struggle for your little Jason. You also have to be very careful about requesting a teacher for social reasons rather than academic ones. If you have real concerns about choosing a teacher, you can talk with the school principal during the summer and describe the type of teacher who works best with your child. In many schools, the child’s current teacher makes recommendations to the principal for the next year’s teacher, and that’s probably the best way to do it.
I hope this week’s excerpt gave you some ideas to work on! Next week we’ll finish up the series with a discussion of self-esteem and developing your child’s gifts.
Excerpted from the book The Savvy Parent’s Guide to Public School, available on Amazon and at www.schoolsavvyparents.com. All rights reserved.