How to Check in Often During Your Child’s School Year

Simple things that mean a lot when it comes to school.

We check in with our kids about school all the time. Sometimes we get more information than other times. Sometimes the information we get is awesome; sometimes it isn’t. How often do we check-in with ourselves and our families about how we are doing as a community?

The following suggestions were compiled after I sat down to do just such a check-in with my family.

  1. Create a homework station at home if there isn’t one already. At my home we use a small cart where I keep everything my boys might need for schoolwork. It is stocked with folders, pens, pencils, tape, highlighters, a stapler and staples, white paper, lined paper, construction paper, colored pencils, gel pens, sharpies, crayons, glue, scissors, a ruler, an eraser, earbuds, chargers and a calculator. I keep it next to my desk, so that I can make sure it is always stocked. Above the cart, I keep a cork board for important papers from school. There is never an excuse not to complete homework.
  2. Be sure that your child has a quiet place to study, read and do their homework. Each of my children is committed to their work in unique ways. I know which child absolutely needs to be at the kitchen table, or even better, the library, in order to get his homework done. If he is in his room, the temptation to open a new tab on his Chromebook is too high. In the kitchen, I can keep an eye on his computer.
  3. Find out what your child is learning about. Ask them to see their teacher’s website. Find out how you can support their learning. If your child is learning to play an instrument, attend a concert with them on the weekend or watch a concert on TV. They are probably always supposed to be reading a “choice book.” Give them more options than what the school has by bringing them to the public library or bookstore to find a “just right book.”
  4. Does your child need extra support? Tutors can be expensive, but they can also be free. Your local library might even have free tutoring options. In our town, the high school’s National Honor Society offers free tutoring every school evening and on Sundays for two hours. It is amazing how quickly and efficiently my children get their homework done when they are working with a high school student.
  5. Take time to celebrate your child’s successes during the first half of the school year. Make a special meal and sit down as a family to celebrate all of the successes. Small and big! Model gratitude by ending the meal with a promise to thank the people who have helped your children succeed. Help your child write a meaningful thank you card to important people in their life — coaches, teachers, administrators, counselors, doctors, neighbors.

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