Growing Great Families – It’s Mid Year — How is your son/daughter doing in school?
In our show at the beginning of the school year we talked about what parents need to do to prepare for the school year. The school year is nearing half way and for many children the work has become more difficult and problems are becoming apparent. This is a particularly critical time for parents to get involved before problems become overwhelming and the school year comes to an end. Children who do not receive the reinforcement of good grades and recognition by their teachers for positive performance often seek negative attention and develop a self image as someone who is not able to learn.
Learning is about taking risks. If someone does not have confidence in their ability to learn they will stop trying in order to avoid failure. We discuss what a parent should look for that there are problems when they are not getting negative reports from the school. Comments from kids like, “school is boring” or “my teacher doesn’t like me” are not to be taken at face value and usually are indicative of difficulties with learning. In addition, parents should pay attention to changes in mood or increases in requests to stay home from school because of illness. These can also be signs of school issues.
We talk about what parents should do and differentiate between a child already deemed eligible for special education and one who is experiencing learning problems for the first time. Parents who already have an IEP or 504 plan should make sure that these learning contracts are being properly implemented and arrange a meeting to discuss changes if academic and behavioral goals are not being met. If your child has not been classified as needing special education and is experiencing learning issues, it is essential that you contact your child’s teacher(s) and arrange a face to face conference if possible. Share your concerns, and seek responses from the teacher. Agree upon some short term goals and plan a follow up conference. It is important for the parent to take notes that would be useful if the parent needs to go beyond the teacher and contact a supervisor of principal.
We close the show with a discussion about getting kids to do their homework – often a battleground issue in many families.