The easy part of the year is over. We’ve finally reached the 100-day mark, a little late because of the snow days. That puts us past the halfway mark, and now the road is mostly uphill, with standardized testing seeming to reach all the way to June. Teachers are also “picking up the pace”, knowing how much curriculum they need to get through before the end of the year.
What does this mean for your child? Right now, your child is giving you vital information about how well they are handling the flow of expectations in their particular grade. This has nothing to do with report cards. Your child tells you every day how things are going; we just need to be paying attention.
This information shows up in your child’s mood, energy level, interest in social activities and extra-curricular activities, and in the all-important homework folder and agenda/assignment book.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What kind of mood is my child in when he arrives home? Is he grumpy, unhappy, uncooperative, or annoyed? Does he pick on his siblings or argue with you about things? Is this different from his usual mood?
- When it’s time to do homework, does she whine, delay, or seem to have no energy left? Has her need for sleep changed? Does she go to bed willingly and get to sleep without difficulty?
- Is he asking to play with friends on weekends? Are kids calling him to get together? Does he complain about having no friends?
- Does she look forward to after-school activities? Is it becoming a struggle to get ready and go? How hard is it to get her to work on scout badges or to practice her instrument? Is the enjoyment pretty much gone?
- What does the homework folder look like? If classwork comes home, is it mostly finished, and done correctly- or are things messy, incomplete, with spelling and arithmetic errors?
- Can your child (any age, any level of skill) tell you what they have for homework? Do they have the necessary papers and books? Do they understand what to do, or do they seem confused?
- What does the agenda book look like? A few hard-to-read words scrawled on some days, with nothing at all on other days? Does it look like it’s being stomped-on from frustration, or as though it is helpful? What does your child say about how consistently it is used, how easy it is for him to get all the information down, whether it is checked by a teacher- heck, whether he can read what he wrote down?
These are just some of the observations that will help you decide how this second half of the year is going. If you are using the white board that I recommended in previous blogs, you have some idea of how the skills practice is going at home, but now you can focus on how the school day is going, based on your child’s behaviors once they get home.
If you have concerns, now is the time to communicate with school to talk about what you are seeing and hearing. As always, you can email me with questions or concerns about your child, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Always remember, you are the best person to notice when things are not going well (or when they are!) because you are the expert on your child.