It’s the start of a brand-new school year, which will be full of new adventure for your child. Soon, you’ll receive his or her first report card—an official status update on how things are going. “Parents should take this first ‘check-up’ of the year as an opportunity to open the lines of communication with their children and their children’s teachers,” says Eileen Huntington of Huntington Learning Center. When the first-semester report card comes home, what should you address during those conversations? Here are several questions to ask:
Questions for your child
How has this year gone so far? Give your child a chance to talk about the first couple of months of the school year candidly. How does your child feel about the teacher, each subject and any homework and tests?
What are you proud of? Allow your child to ponder what has gone well this year as a result of his or her efforts. Perhaps there will be one or more classes where the grades were hard earned and a few that came much easier. This insight will help you understand your child’s journey to date and what concerns he or she has that weren’t on your radar.
How do you learn and study best? Before offering your own observations and ideas about how your child learns most effectively, ask for his or her opinion. Be sure to talk about how this year is going and if your child is noticing any changes in his or her most useful study and learning methods.
What do you want to change going forward? Bring this up after reviewing the report card together. If your child received a poor grade, it’s understandable that you might want to lay out a game plan to fix it, but let your child talk first. What does he or she think is the best course of action?
Questions for your child’s teacher
What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses? You have your own thoughts, but it is invaluable to understand the teacher’s ideas about your child’s areas of strength and areas to improve upon. This gives the teacher a chance to talk about your child’s performance compared to grade-level expectations and how he or she is staying on track thus far in the year.
How would you describe my child as a student/learner? The more you know about your child’s learning preferences, tendencies and methods, the better equipped you will be to offer support at home. Ask the teacher what he or she sees in the classroom as far as the environment and types of lessons that seem to “click” with your child the best.
Where would you like to see my child make changes? This question should hopefully open the conversation to your child’s working habits and demeanor in the classroom. Whatever adjustments the teacher brings up, make sure you ask for suggestions on how best to proceed.
What can I do to support your efforts? It’s always helpful to get an understanding from the teacher as early in the year as possible of the role you should play in your child’s education. Ask about tips for approaching homework time, what the appropriate level of involvement is and how you can stay in touch with the teacher for your child’s benefit.
Before any conversation about the report card, Huntington encourages parents to write down their own list of questions, springboarding from the above topics. “All parents have a unique perspective of what their children need to work on, so it’s a good idea to keep that big picture in mind when communicating both with their children and the teachers,” she says. “Parents can keep those conversations focused and constructive by spending time in advance putting any issues or concerns down on paper.”
If the first report card of the year brings up issues that are of serious concern, call Huntington at 1-800-CAN-LEARN. We can develop a customized, one-to-one plan of instruction to help your child address any problems big or small and make this a great school year.
Huntington is the tutoring and test prep leader. Its certified tutors provide individualized instruction in reading, phonics, writing, study skills, elementary and middle school math, Algebra through Calculus, Chemistry, and other sciences. It preps for the SAT and ACT, as well as state and standardized exams. Huntington programs develop the skills, confidence, and motivation to help students succeed and meet the needs of Common Core State Standards. Founded in 1977, Huntington’s mission is to give every student the best education possible. Learn how Huntington can help at www.huntingtonhelps.com. For franchise opportunities please visit www.huntingtonfranchise.com.