Book Bag Boogie
How can parents get more informed about what goes on each day at school?
Easy. Just do the "Book Bag Boogie."
As soon as you can, each day after
school, meet with your child, open up the child's backpack and go through it
Make it a daily ritual.
Too many parents stay frustrated
that they don't really know much about their child's school work because when they
ask how things are going, the most their child ever says is "fine."
The key is for you to look at and
touch your child's schoolwork. It's a tangible "icebreaker" that will get a
conversation going. And it tells your child that what goes on in school is
important to you.
Ask your child to show you what's
different each day: a newly-assigned book, a new page of math problems, a
graded test, a completed worksheet, a new chapter of a textbook to be read, or
a note about an upcoming event.
This process will help you keep an
eye on things that go on in classrooms that you otherwise would have no way of
n A teacher with poor spelling, as
evidenced by handwritten notes on your child's papers, or typed instructions to
n Assigned novels, especially in
grades 5-8, with content that is on inappropriately mature themes and if it
were put in movie form would carry a PG or R rating.
n Your child's tendency to make
careless mistakes on tests due to rushing, while homework, with less time
pressure, is very well-done.
Ask a question each day. Remember the 80-20 rule: make 80% of the
input to your child praise or neutral, and 20% or less critical. The smarter
your child, in fact, the less criticism you should give; perfectionists tend to
exaggerate it to the point of dysfunctional thinking.
However you go about it, give your
child center stage for just a moment after school to emphasize how important
"Neat! Where on earth did you get
that great idea?"
"How did you double-check that math
"Does this story remind you of any
stories you've read before? Which one? Why?"
Your child will probably pooh-pooh
you a lot. But keep doing it anyway. Treat school like a gift, because it is.
Open up that book bag, and let your child share what he or she "got" that day.
Homework: More help for your child: www.FamilyEducation.com