As a teacher, one of the questions I get asked the most is “How can I help my child?” If that is a question that you’ve had at any point then this article is for you.
Here are some tips that can guide parents when trying to help their child in school.
Read Weekly Newsletters & Any Updates
Often teachers give out weekly newsletters, updates, and calendars. Most of my teacher friends (including myself) have moved from paper versions to digital ones.
Newsletters have important information about due dates, important events, and most importantly what your child will be learning.
If your child is not getting a weekly or monthly newsletter, checking their backpacks and notebooks regularly is the best way to find out what they are learning.
If this doesn’t help or your child isn’t the best note taker or often forget to bring their work home, then reach out to the teacher and ask them what standards or learning goals your child is learning this month.
Knowing what your child is learning is the first step to helping them at home. You don’t want to waste time focusing on things that your child doesn’t need help in.
Go Over Graded Assignments
Reviewing your child’s graded work can help understand what areas your child is struggling in.
Pinpointing your child’s strengths and weaknesses enables you to understand how to help them.
Many school districts are moving towards a paperless platform.
Assessments and even classroom assignments are given online more than ever.
If this is the case for your child, reach out to their teacher and ask how you can access their test scores and online assignments.
Often all it takes is their login information to access their online platforms.
Check Your Child’s Grades Weekly
It’s important to know how your child is doing in school in real-time.
Teachers often input grades on a weekly basis. Some subjects may have more assignments or grades than others.
One missing assignment can be detrimental to your child’s final grade. Students often fail due to incomplete or missing work.
If you notice your child has missing work, reach out to their teachers immediately and see what can be done.
Build Good Study Habits
If your child does not get homework sent home, ask them to take out any work that they are doing in class.
Many teachers assign work online through different platforms such as MS Teams, CANVAS, or Blackboard. Check this platform each day to see what assignments your child’s teacher is assigning.
Review what your child has learned in class at home. Create flashcards with academic vocabulary* words on them. Have your child review them each night.
Have your explain to you what they’ve done in class using their *interactive notebooks.
This will help you see if your child has a clear understanding of what is going on in class as well as reinforce the skill taught that day.
Before tests or quizzes review notes in their notebooks that cover any topics that your child needs to know for the test.
If none of this sounds familiar to you, reach out to your child’s teacher and ask them what is the best way that your child can review what was taught in class.
*academic vocabulary: vocabulary words that are specific to the subject area that is being taught ex. Math examples: Factor, multiple, denominator. Reading Examples: main idea, key details
*Interactive notebooks: often composition notebooks, or binders that have examples of what the teachers are teaching in the classroom. May also be in the form of a digital notebook on an online classroom platform.
Use Online Resources
The way math is taught these day’s is almost like trying to learn another language! This is where online tools come in handy. Here are 3 online tools that you can use to help your child.
One online tool that has tutorials for almost any topic in reading or math is Khan Academy This is my number one resource that I recommend to any parent who just seems lost when trying to help their child.
Khan Academy has step-by-step tutorials that teach students standards, then give them practice problems for them to do.
Youtube is another great resource for helping your child in school.
There are several educational channels that offer great tutorials for your children to review content.
Simply searching the topics that your child is learning about can give you insight on how the teacher may be teaching the content.
Youtube is a great resource to look up math skills. Let’s be honest math just isn’t taught the same anymore.
There are several great videos on you tube that teach “newer” math methods that may be foreign to us parents.
Some of my favorite educational youtube channels are
*Warning if your child is struggling with phonics skills please be aware that some of the letter sounds video’s on youtube do not teach the correct sound for some letters. Please use this video as a guide to ensure the video’s your child is watching are giving them to the correct sounds. Click here for more information.
Don’t Wait To Communicate
The number one thing to do if you are unsure about how to help your child is to communicate with their teacher.
Every teacher has a different method of how they teach, how they expect students to take notes, if students bring notebooks home, or if they send study guides instead.
Talk to your child’s teacher and ask them the following questions:
- How does my child take notes in class?
- How can I find out what my child is learning in class?
- What resources can I use to help my child review at home?
- How do you send work home is it digitally or via paper copies?
- How do I check my child’s grades?
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