Tips for Parents
In January, 2002 President George Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Law. This law makes sure that parents in Title I schools have certain rights.
Did you know…..?
- You have the right to know the qualifications of your child’s teacher.
- You have the right to know, when your child has a substitute for more than four weeks, the qualifications of the substitute teacher.
- You have the right to know how the school is rated based on the Massachusetts MCAS tests.
- You have a right to understand the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and Standards, the MCAS Assessment Program, and your child’s test scores.
- You have the right to expect regular communication with your school in a language that you understand.
- You have a right to work with other parents, teachers, and the principal in developing an action plan for the school – School Improvement Plan.
- You have the right, if you child’s school is in Corrective Action because they haven’t met the state and district student achievement goal, to transfer your child to a higher performing school with transportation provided.
- You have the right, if your child’s school has not made their student achievement goals for two consecutive years, to enroll your student in free tutoring classes.
- You have the right to ask for a meeting with the principal or you r child’s teacher or Title I teacher.
- You have the right to volunteer at the school.
- You have the right to join your school’s PTA/PTO (Parent - Teacher organizations) and the school council to learn more about the school.
Tips for Parent Teacher Conferences
1. Prepare ahead of time for the conference.
2. Look over recent assignments and test grades so that you know how your child has been performing in class. Look through books and see what your child is learning.
3. Ask your child questions, such as what is their favorite subject, what are they having a difficult time with, what subject do they find easiest, and who are their friends at school.
4. Write down questions you have for the teacher so you will remember what you wanted to ask.
5. List your child's strengths. Keep this in mind during the conference. Many times as we hear teachers talk about what our child is doing wrong, we forget their strengths. Remind the teacher about your child's strengths and ask how you can work together to further develop them.
6. Be on time for the conference, most are tightly scheduled. Being even 5 minutes late will substantially cut down on the time you have with the teacher.
7. Be open to suggestions from the teacher. Ask what you can do at home to help your child be more prepared for school.
8. Offer suggestions and insights into your child. You know your child best and you may be able to offer information that will help the teacher to better help your child succeed.
1. Ask about social interactions as well as academic. Children struggling with friendships can suffer from low self esteem which can cause additional problems in school.
2. If you find your child is struggling in school, ask to reschedule the conference for the following week. This way the teacher will be able to spend more than 20 minutes with you and you can both work together to develop a plan to help your child succeed.
General Homework Tips for Parents
- Make sure your child has a quiet, well-lit place to do homework.
Avoid having your child do homework with the television on or in places with other distractions, such as people coming and going.
- Make sure the materials your child needs, such as paper, pencils and a dictionary, are available.
Ask your child if special materials will be needed for some projects and get them in advance.
- Help your child with time management.
Establish a set time each day for doing homework. Don't let your child leave homework until just before bedtime. Think about using a weekend morning or afternoon for working on big projects, especially if the project involves getting together with classmates.
- Be positive about homework.
Tell your child how important school is. The attitude you express about homework will be the attitude your child acquires.
- When your child does homework, you do homework.
Show your child that the skills they are learning are related to things you do as an adult. If your child is reading, you read too. If your child is doing math, balance your checkbook.
- When your child asks for help, provide guidance, not answers.
Giving answers means your child will not learn the material. Too much help teaches your child that when the going gets rough, someone will do the work for him or her.
- When the teacher asks that you play a role in homework, do it.
Cooperate with the teacher. It shows your child that the school and home are a team. Follow the directions given by the teacher.
- If homework is meant to be done by your child along, stay away.
Too much parent involvement can prevent homework from having some positive effects. Home work is a great way for kids to develop independent, life- long learning skills.
- Stay informed.
Talk with your child's teacher. Make sure you know the purpose of homework and what your child’s class rules are.
- Help your child figure out what is hard homework and what is easy homework.
Have your child do the hard work first. This will mean he will be most alert when facing the biggest challenges. Easy material will seem to go fast when fatigue begins to set in.
- Watch your child for signs of failure and frustration.
Let your child take a short break if she is having trouble keeping her mind on an assignment.
- Reward progress in homework.
If your child has been successful in homework completion and is working hard, celebrate that success with a special event (e.g., pizza, a walk, a trip to the park) to reinforce the positive effort.
Reading Homework Tips for Parents
- Read over homework assignments with your child every night. Make sure the directions are clear to your child.
- Choose a quiet place, free from distractions, for your child to do his nightly reading assignments.
- As your child reads, point out spelling and sound patterns such as cat, pat, hat.
- When your child reads aloud to you and makes a mistake, point out the words she has missed and help her to read the word correctly.
- After your child has stopped to correct a word he has read, have him go back and reread the entire sentence from the beginning to make sure he understands what the sentence is saying.
- Ask your child to tell you in her own words what happened in a story.
- To check your child's understanding of what he is reading, occasionally pause and ask your child questions about the characters and events in the story.
- Ask your child why she thinks a character acted in a certain way and ask your child to support her answer with information from the story.
- Before getting to the end of a story, ask your child what he thinks will happen next and why.
Math Homework Tips for Parents
- Encourage your child to use a daily math assignment book.
- Follow the progress your child is making in math. Check with your child daily about his homework.
- If you don't understand your child's math assignments, engage in frequent communication with his or her teacher.
- If your child is experiencing problems in math, contact the teacher to learn whether he or she is working at grade level and what can be done at home to help improve academic progress.
- Request that your child's teacher schedule after-school math tutoring sessions if your child really needs help.
- Advocate with the principal for the use of research-based peer tutoring programs for math. These tutoring programs have proven results, and students really enjoy them.
- Use household chores as opportunities for reinforcing math learning such as cooking and repair activities.
- Try to be aware of how your child is being taught math, and don't teach strategies and shortcuts that conflict with the approach the teacher is using. Check in with the teacher and ask what you can do to help. Ask the teacher about online resources that you can use with your child at home.
- At the beginning of the year, ask your child's teacher for a list of suggestions that will enable you to help your child with math homework.
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