What can you do in just fifteen minutes to improve your child’s educational experience?
Your September challenge is to pick one of the ideas below and get going! (And if you’re already doing most of them, congratulations – you’re a Super Parent!)
Read with your child and talk about the book. Not sure about finding an appropriate book? Talk to the teacher, the school media specialist, or the children’s librarian at your local public library. They are there to help.
Ask about homework every afternoon, and check it over when it’s done. Keep the homework center stocked with supplies. Make sure the finished homework gets in the backpack to turn in the next day.
Turn off the TV and the tablet, and silence the phone. Have a conversation with your child about the school day. Not just “how was your day?”, but “what was your favorite thing today?” or “did something funny happen today?” Ask questions that can’t be answered with “yes”, “no”, or “fine”.
Write a thank you note to a teacher or any other school staff member. A little appreciation goes a long way!
Pack a healthy snack and a healthy lunch – or check the school lunch menu for healthy alternatives.
Make an appointment to have your child’s eyes checked. Vision can change quickly when kids are young, and they usually don’t notice.
Check the classroom website at least once a week for grades and missed assignments. If your child’s school doesn’t offer classroom websites, check with the teacher once a week – in person or by email. If there is a problem, get it taken care of immediately.
Write down school events on the family calendar. Keep it updated! Make a commitment to be there for your child.
Stop by the local library and get your child a library card. Browse! Include library events on the family calendar.
Read the information your child brought home about Scouts, Honor Chorus, or any other opportunity to expand his horizons. Find out if he is interested. Make the commitment.
Prepare for a parent/teacher conference by writing down your child’s strengths and challenges. What motivates her? What consequences work best? What does she love? Share your insights with the teacher, and ask the teacher for her thoughts and ideas.
Check the school website for volunteer opportunities (or ask the teacher), pick one, and make a commitment to follow through. Volunteering is the best way to partner with teachers and stay in tune with what’s going on at school.
Ask your child if he needs any school supplies or homework supplies. They get used up quickly! Put them on the shopping list. Plan to buy some extra supplies to give to the teacher.
Check the school system website for information that affects your children – the discipline policy, homework policy, athletic eligibility, school calendar, attendance policy. Be aware of the regulations, your rights, and your responsibilities.
Help your child brainstorm ideas for an appropriate science project and make a list of necessary supplies. Supervise, but let your child do the project on her own!
Check your child’s backpack for forgotten notes and assignments. Do this at least weekly. You will be amazed at what is crumpled at the bottom of a backpack! (Hint: it could be anything from an apple core to a notice for an IEP meeting.)
Find a day you are free to eat lunch with your child at school. Schedule it. Do this at least once a quarter.
I challenge every one of you to pick one thing – just one – to get started. Your goal? To become a strong, positive member of your child’s school community and a strong partner in your child’s education. It takes commitment, but your child is worth it!
Copyright Alice Wellborn 2014. All rights reserved.