- Watch your child carefully and listen to them as they begin the school year. As soon as you see them struggling in any area of their schoolwork or homework or they start saying that something is hard. – Watch, listen and record.
- Go the parent teacher interviews. Ask the teacher how your child is going? Ask for details. Request to see samples of their schoolwork. Also ask about their behaviour at school, so you can be aware of any differences between home and school.
- Look for the curriculum requirements of your child’s year on the school or education department website in each subject area. This will give you a good understanding of what they will be learning throughout the school year. Be warned…it will take you back to when you went to school.
- Wander around the classroom from time to time at school drop off and pick up to look at the children’s classwork on display to see how your child compares with the general classroom standards. The emphasis shouldn’t be on comparing your child to others so they can be the best, but seeing what other children at the same year level are capable of producing.
- Ask the teacher to email you if any difficulty arises for your child that you may be able to give them extra assistance at home. In the areas of maths, spelling, punctuating or grammar; ask the teacher for the processes that are being taught in the classroom, so you don’t cause mega confusion when you start teaching long division if your child is learning short division.
- Attend any school information nights about learning, reading, spelling, maths, parenting and child behaviour. Not only is this a great way to meet other parents, you can learn new tips and tricks and be abreast of the latest trends in education.
- Don’t be afraid to contact your child’s teacher either via email or in person if any issue arises that you want to discuss in more detail. Teachers don’t want to be bombarded by daily emails, but they do want to work as a team to support your child and help them to reach their full potential.
Remember if your child is just starting school, the range of abilities of the children in their class will be huge. Some children start school reading novels others won’t know the difference between a ‘B’ and ‘D’. It always takes a year or two for this disparity to even out, but it does, and usually by the end of the second year of formal schooling.
Also remember the day your child started school they had every intention of doing well and making you proud. They never intended to struggle and to fail, so if they do, it will cause them great confusion and distress. It’s our job to keep the communication lines open and be aware, so we can support them at the earliest possible opportunity.