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Sometimes when we ask our children how their day at school was, they say "fine." Or if we ask what they learned today, they might say "oh, nothing." Families need to get beyond those answers to find out more.
Here are some questions that will help:
- Did your teacher send anything home with you that I should see? Especially in elementary school, teachers often send home class newsletters, forms for us to sign, or completed work our children have done in class. If you have an elementary school child, be sure to check his or her backpack, because children often forget to give us these things. That's why asking this question every day is important.
- What was the best thing that happened at school today? What was the worst thing that happened? The answers to these questions will tell us a lot about what our children like and don't like about school.
- Do you have homework assignments tonight? What are they, and when are they due? Family help and encouragement on school assignments can make a huge difference in our children's success. Even if students don't have specific assignments, there are always things they should practice, like spelling, math, or reading.
- What book are you reading? Almost all students are reading a book – and if they aren't, they should be. If our child isn't reading a book, it's time for a visit to the school or public library. (Students can also read on the Internet if it is available to them.) Every student should read at home for at least 20 minutes a day. Families who read with their children put them on a path to academic success. Those of us who don't speak or read English can still help by having our children read to us or look at a picture book or photos and describe what they see to us, so we learn together. Reading with our children in our own language also helps develop reading skills, too.
- Who did you eat lunch with? Children's and teens' friends are an important influence on their lives and on their success in school. Families need to know who our children's friends are. We can get to know our children's friends by inviting them to our house to visit, or to go with us on a family outing.
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