Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Do you know what's going in your child's class?

A few weeks ago, I got a notice that Max would be learning about safety and personal space at school. So I contacted the teacher and asked her to fill me in after each session. She's emailed me notes, including a five-step plan on how to tell someone they are in your space or that you don't want to be hugged: 1) Face the person 2) Make eye contact 3) Use a strong voice 4) Stand (or sit up) straight 5) Say what you mean. Good advice for anyone, right?! 

For me, details like these are everything: Max learns best through repetition and lots of it, and I can reinforce what he's learning at home. At my request, the teacher who teaches him both math and English zaps me weekly emails explaining what he's learning about. His physical therapist, occupational therapist and speech therapist do that usually every other week. 

Letting parents know what kids are learning in school doesn't always happen organically, as you may well know. This can be especially challenging when kids are young and don't get homework, or when schools have a no-homework policy (that was the case with one of the high-schools I toured for Max; when I asked why, they said most parents felt their kids were too wiped out after school to do it, though it could be individualized). When Max first started elementary school, one day it occurred to me that I had absolutely no idea what was going on in class. While the teacher was very responsive to my questions, and told parents about special class activities like cooking or guest visitors, there was no communication about what the kids were learning.

I spoke with her about it, and she ended up starting a newsletter called Learning Link. For every subject taught, the list detailed what students were learning and what parents could do at home.

Trust me, I know we have enough on our plates to handle. Make that more than we can handle. It's such a big relief to not be fully in charge of one thing in your child's life (all the more power to parents who homeschool). Thing is, it's not like you always have to anything with the information you get from teachers. Sometimes, there's no time or will to go over stuff. There are days when Max is just done by the time I get home from work. Some days, I am just done, too.

But knowledge is power. Even if you're not going over schoolwork, once you have a handle on it you might find ways to organically work little teaching moments into your day. Like going for a drive and looking for the letter "D," watching YouTube videos about how electricity happens or whatever's fun. 

If you'd like a copy of a Learning Link template to share with your teacher or school, email me: lovethatmax [at] gmail [dot] com. 

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Thanks for sharing!

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