GCP co-hosted the Back-to-School #ReadinessCheck Chat last Wednesday, along with @BeALearningHero, @GreatSchools, @NationalPTA and other education advocates. This lively session offered a lot of great suggestions as to how parents can best help their children to be ready for a strong start to the school year. Here are some of the highlights:
How to Prep For the New School Year:
1. Commit to taking an active role in your child’s education. How? Learn as much as you can about the school and your child’s new class as you can before the school year begins. Check out colorincolorado.org’s tips for How to Prepare for the Beginning of the School Year here.
2. Visit the school with your child before school officially starts. Connect with the teachers and establish communication channels very early in the school year.
3. If you can’t spend much time at school, find a parent buddy to keep you informed about school activities.
How to Find Out How Your Child is Progressing in the New Year:
1. If your child is in grades K-8, you can get a quick read on what he remembers from last year and find out how ready he is to handle next year’s work with Readiness Check, a new free interactive tool. Be prepared to talk with the new teachers about your child’s strengths and where you think help might be needed. Let them know you will work with them to support your child at home.
2. Find out if the school/district has a parent portal on their website. If it does, access it, study it, and check back regularly.
3. Be prepared with questions when approaching teachers, principals and counselors about your child’s development. You can use this UNCF parent checklist as a guide.
How To Support Your Child at Home:
1. No more summer bedtime hours! It will be tough, but move up that bedtime so that your child can get a full night’s sleep. Adjusting to the new school year is harder if you stay sleepy.
2. Ask teachers how much time should be spent on homework; think about the best way to balance homework with activities and chores.
3. Do a Tech Check: Does your child have the proper technology for the school year? If he uses a laptop, is it in good shape, does it have enough memory? Make sure he has an external backup–really important. There is no quick fix for lost data on a crashed computer!
How to Help Your Child Develop Learning Muscles and Life Skills:
1. Be interested in hearing what is happening at school from your child. What does he want to know more about? Share his excitement and help him explore.
2. Know how to be supportive in tough situations. Check out these Parenting cue cards from GreatSchools,org for suggestions on what to say and do in some difficult parenting moments. A thoughtful response can help strengthen your child’s emotional intelligence skills. And, a thoughtless response can chip away at his confidence.
3. Don’t forget about Everyday Learning: reading, shopping, cooking, playing, repairing, chores all foster learning. Talk with your child about what things cost, how they are paid for. Financial literacy starts at home, and it should start early.
These are just a few of the highlights; You can see the entire chat by typing #ReadinessCheck in your Twitter search box. In our next Back to School post we will focus more on what else you can do from home to support a strong school year for your child. Stay tuned!