You’ve made it through the end-of-year performances, graduations, tests and parties, and school is out for the summer! Before heading off to vacation, now might be a good time to take a look back over the last school year. But how can you know if the last nine months were a success for your child?
We asked teachers what questions parents should ask themselves when deciding if their child’s school year was successful. Here are some of their thoughts:
Is Your Child Showing Signs of Progress?
Progress doesn’t have to be huge breakthroughs or straight As. Improvement looks different for every child and for every school subject. You know your child best, so be sure you’re working with your child to set attainable goals at the beginning of the year.
Your child may not be meeting the traditional definition of success. But any progress—even baby steps in the right direction—are a sign that things are going well.
Is Your Child’s School Connecting with You?
Did you get radio silence from your child’s teacher, or did the school actively encourage you to play a role in your child’s education? Multiple studies show students with involved parents get better grades and have better social skills.
Did your child’s teacher regularly communicate with you? Did they give you information on what the class was currently learning about so you could discuss it with your child at home? Was the teacher assigning projects or activities that could be done with parents?
Beyond your child’s teacher, are school administrators trying to develop relationships with parents? Are they encouraging you to play a role in your child’s education? Is the Parent Teacher Association active? Promoting parental involvement shows your school has the right approach to education.
Is Your Teacher Invested in Your Child?
Teachers are a vital part of making sure your child succeeds. Are they communicating any concerns or areas of improvement with you?
Each child needs an education that meets their unique needs, weaknesses and strengths. Is your teacher providing a variety of resources and support that fit different learning styles? If your child is a hands-on learner, simply listening to a lecture or reading instructions may not help them learn.
Is Your Child Excited About Learning?
Does your child come home excited to tell you about things at school? Learning shouldn’t stop when a student leaves the classroom. Is your child remembering what they learned at school and talking about it when they get home? Better yet, are they making connections between the curriculum and the world around them and applying what they’re learning?
You can help facilitate this by asking questions about what your child is learning and encouraging them to think critically. If your child is learning about fractions, enlist their help when you’re doubling a recipe. If they are learning to read, ask them to sound out street signs or read you a story.
Is Your Child Making Friends?
Social development is just as important as academic development. Is your child developing good friendships with other students? Are they able to name friends at school and tell stories about them? Are they able to collaborate with others and play together? Is your child becoming more mature and independent?
Take time to talk to your child’s teacher. They can give you insights on how your child is developing socially and talk about their student-teacher relationship.
As a parent, you know your child best and know what they need to succeed. If you think through these questions and decide your child is struggling, don’t be afraid to talk to your school or explore other options near you.
Charter schools, private schools, home schooling, your local public school and tutoring all have different strengths and weaknesses. If you’re concerned about your child’s progress, it might be worth looking at other school options. Depending on where you live, there may be school choice programs you can take advantage of.
Getting an education that meets their needs can make a huge difference in your child’s future. Every child is special and unique, and each one deserves a successful school year.
Start asking these important questions so you can help your child succeed and become the best person they can be!