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A Note From The Teacher

by Jennifer Cummings, M.Ed.

A Note from the Teacher FAQ’s

Here are some of the most frequent questions about education that come up every day. I hope that some of these can help you to answer any questions you may have about education and your family.

My child was retained in second grade for this year. He’s nervous about seeing all of the other kids and having new kids in his class. I thought this was the right idea, but now I’m not sure. What can I do?

First, please stop putting yourself through so much self-doubt. Retention is never suggested without valid reasons, and I am sure you have already spent much time considering if this was a good choice for your child. By making yourself uneasy about the new year, you will certainly be transmitting those fears to your child as well.

Now that the new school year, it’s important to emphasize the positive things that will happen. Your child will most likely have a new teacher with new ideas and new activities, the school work with be easier for them to understand, and there are lots of new students to be friends with.

If you are having difficulty helping your child make the transition, contact your child’s guidance counselor. They are trained professionals who specialize in helping students through difficult times. The counselor can not only talk to your child but can also give you concrete ideas to work with at home to keep your child’s mindset positive.

I know my child begins standardized state testing this year, and I am nervous about her passing the tests. What can I do to help her?

The best thing you can do to help your child meet the standards set in state testing is to keep an emphasis on education in your family. In what you do and say, make sure education is a priority. Make sure your child completes assignments, reads regularly at home, and experiences lots and lots of things outside of television and video games. Giving children a real-world appreciation of learning goes a long way in helping them in school.

If you know your child is struggling in specific areas, be proactive and speak with the teacher about possible tutoring or extra help in those areas. However, ask for these things to help your child learn more, not just for the testing she will do. The very worst thing you can do in this circumstance is create stress about the testing for your child. By always talking about how tough the tests are, or how fearful you are about her results, you will only create unnecessary test anxiety.

My work has me traveling to Florida during the second month of the school year. I’m able to take my family with me, but the kids will miss a week of school Does it really make a difference?

Taking students out of regular class time does impact their learning at any time of the year. There is simply no way of making up the information missed in classroom discussions and examples completed during the day. If you really feel you need to take your children out of school, be prepared to make up quite a bit of written material, some of which may not be available until you return. Many teachers are unable to completely predict how much work they will get through in an entire week, and there may be a significant amount to make up when you return.

My community has a charter school that opened 4 years ago, and I am considering entering my son there. I have friends who say charter schools are better for kids because they’re smaller and more focused on what each kid needs. But other friends say they’re not as good as my public school. What do you think?

I think that charter schools are like any other school; some are better than local schools and others aren’t. Much of the success of a charter school depends on its leadership, its staffing, and its resources. Charter schools that have solid foundations in these areas are more likely to be successful.

Before making your decision where to enroll your son, I would visit both the charter school and the neighborhood school your son would attend. Speak to administrators at both schools, detailing any specific concerns you may have for his education. Also, contact your local board of education to see what testing scores look like for both; these can help you see how successful the school is. Whatever your choice, it’s most important to make sure that the school, its staff, and its programs are a good match for your son’s overall academic and social needs.

I want to help my daughter with homework at night because she struggles so long, but it seems like all we do is fight! Every time I try to help, she ends up crying and I end up yelling and nothing gets done. Help!

It sounds like you’re trying to do the right thing for your daughter, and trying to be a responsible parent, so hats off to you for your effort! Helping students with their homework has got to be one of the most challenging issues facing parents on a regular basis. It seems that parents never know the right way, the right words, or the right answer to help. You are certainly not alone.

As with other forms of advice, homework help sometimes is tolerated better when it comes from someone who is not as close as a parent. Older siblings can be good choices, as can uncles, cousins, aunts, close friends, or tutors. When people who are not seen as authority figures interact with students with their homework, things are less likely to escalate into fight mode. Keep trying!

Thanks to everyone who reads our column regularly. We look forward to sharing new ideas and advice with you each month. Remember- have a question?

Jennifer Cummings

Ms. Cummings, author, and editor of the Education and School Section, she has a B.A.in psychology and an M.Ed. in special education from Framingham State College in Massachusetts. She was an elementary teacher in Massachusetts serving both regular education and special education students. She has taught grades 1,4, and 5.

"I believe that families' involvement in their child's education is one of the key ingredients to creating a successful school experience for children. Keeping parents informed about school-related issues helps parents and teachers work together for the best possible outcomes for their children. Learning together makes learning fun - for everyone!" - Jennifer Cummings.
https://imgsub.familiesonlinemagazine.com/uploads/2011/07/girl-computer.jpghttps://imgsub.familiesonlinemagazine.com/uploads/2011/07/girl-computer.jpgJennifer CummingsSchoolEducation and SchoolA Note From The Teacher by Jennifer Cummings, M.Ed. A Note from the Teacher FAQ's Here are some of the most frequent questions about education that come up every day. I hope that some of these can help you to answer any questions you may have about education and your family. My child...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids