MAKE THE MOST OF THIS YEAR

The school year is in full swing and everything is running smoothly.  Parents might want to ask themselves if their children are on track.

Each year teachers are given basic requirements on what needs to be taught for each particular grade.  Usually the state mandates that certain topics and skills be taught in order for children to transition from grade to grade.  These topics and skills are referred to as standards, which in general, indicate what children should be learning and what teachers need to be teaching.  A curriculum specifies the content of course materials that meet the standards and are put together by the teachers and administrators of each school. Lesson plans represent the plan teachers use to deliver daily instruction.

If you want to learn more about Hawaii’s academic standards you can visit: www.doe.k12.hi.us/standards/aboutstandardsbasededuc.htm

Parents and educators alike have long said that parents are crucial to a child’s success.  National research has proven that when parents get involved students achieve more.  Grades, behavior, attitude and attendance improve and graduation increases.

How to know if your child is on track:

Communication is always key.  Make sure to attend open houses, school functions, and events to keep informed as to what the teacher’s expectations are for the school year.  Become a volunteer at the school or in your child’s classroom.  Meet the teachers and do not be afraid to talk to them if you suspect any problems.  It is very easy to set up a conference, email, or place a phone call to teachers. The key to success is to work together with mutual respect, with a positive outcome for the child.

Pay particular attention to their daily schoolwork.  Always check your child’s homework to see that the answers are correct.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, but if your child is starting to struggle in a particular area, this could mean they do not understand a concept or subject.  Maybe they are being taught contrary to their learning style.  It could mean they are exhibiting a “unique learning style”.  Chances are some extra attention on that topic is all that is needed.  Help from a teacher, parent, sibling, a friend, or a tutor can help strengthen your child’s skills.

Is your child happy?  Do they enjoy school and talk about their experiences from the day?  Are they excited about what they are learning and want to share it with you?  Or are they exhibiting a change of behavior or signs of depression.  If so try to get to the bottom of it immediately before it escalates. It might just be a disagreement with a friend but it could be that they are frustrated with their studies for some reason and are starting to shut down.  Signs to look for are: Do they have stomachaches?  Do they object to going to school in the morning? Are they extra sensitive and cry often?   These are signs that something is not right.  Talk to your child, and if you don’t get results, call his or her teacher and try to figure it out together.

Does your child say they are bored in school?  Sometimes when kids say they are bored it means the material is too easy and not challenging enough. Or they may be having trouble keeping their attention on academics, and don’t fully understand what is being taught.  Avoid using the term lazy to describe a child’s state of mind and behavior. They may have lost motivation. It could be an attention deficit that makes it extremely difficult for them to concentrate and focus.  Sometimes learning problems or lack of organizational skills can interfere with a child’s success.  Again, parents need to put on their investigative caps and check to see if there is something else going on.  It could be as simple as the child not getting enough sleep.

When families encourage learning, express high expectations for their children, and become involved in their school and community, the end result will be a happy, successful, “on track” academic school year.