A student’s ability to learn cannot be placed solely on the teacher. Although an effective teacher is the single biggest indicator of student achievement, support at home is a huge factor as well. As students get into the middle school years, they become more independent, relishing their freedom and sometimes resisting our efforts to help them. We must be diligent in this approach though and create a partnership between parents, teachers and students that helps support student learning in and outside of school. Below are some tips and resources to help foster these connections.
Monitor your child’s progress
We have some fantastic interfaces through our school’s website that help parents access information on their child’s progress in every subject. I encourage parents to check on them periodically. They are:
- Moodle-Information on assignments and links to online content.
- Powerschool-Real time information on your child’s grades, and current assignments.
Get involved with your child’s learning
A number of teachers have a classroom blog that you can subscribe to and get feeds sent to your email address. Most teachers are happy to share news about what students are learning about in school and this encourages discussion at the dinner table back home. Consider volunteering to be a speaker in class, volunteering your time at the PTA and being a chaperone for school events.
Provide designated work time at home
Middle school is a time when students build and learn the skills that they need to be successful in high school. Some things you can do at home to ensure that assignments are being completed are:
- Monitoring their social media time. As we march forth in the digital age, students are spending more and more time online socializing with their peers. Our students use netbooks so they are essential in doing work outside of class. However, some students struggle in balancing their work and play and spend 3 hours to do an assignment that should have taken 30 minutes because they were chatting through facebook, skype or twitter.
- Have expectations at home about school work. Consider having designated places or times that your child does their school work. There is no universal system that works best for every student, but this is great link for some questions you might consider asking yourself and your child when developing a system. A rule of thumb when calculating how much homework your child should have per night is to take their grade level and multiply by “10″ and that is realistically how much homework your child should have in all their subjects combined, per night. As a sixth and seventh grade teacher, that means that sixth graders should have roughly 60 minutes per night and seventh graders per night. If homework takes much longer than the alloted times mentioned, your child may not be using their time effectively.
Don’t be afraid to contact your child’s teacher
I love when parents contact me! Typically, the parents who come to me most often are the parents of students who are making the most progress academically. Please, don’t ever feel embarrassed or burdened by the task of an exchange with a teacher because we want the best for your child and cherish them as much as you do. If English is not your native language, we can arrange translators for you.