A Collection of the Top Ten Parent Hints for Starting the New School Year

By Lori Comallie-Caplan.

1. Teach Children Philosophies of Education by Wenda Sheard

I suggest that parents discuss with their children the purpose of education. Exposing young children to what great philosophers have thought about education not only teaches children history, philosophy and education, but also helps them to create their own educational goals—goals that may differ significantly from the goals of other children. (September Back-To-School Suggestions, The SENGVine Newsletter, September 2011)

2. Get to Know the Teacher by Arlene DeVries

Get to know your child’s teacher early in the year. One parent sends a letter of introduction to the teacher, which includes a photocopied picture of their family. This parent lists some of the special strengths and interests of the child along with some areas of concern or family information that might affect the child’s school performance. This kind of letter might also include a request for a conference with the teacher to discuss in more detail how you and the teacher can work together throughout the year. (ANOTHER SCHOOL YEAR: OFF TO THE RIGHT START! Home and School Report, Parenting for High Potential, undated.)

3. Keep a Positive Attitude by Carol Bainbridge

A positive attitude is important before, during, and after a conference with the teacher. Children can pick up negative attitudes and if a child thinks the parent disapproves of or doesn’t respect a teacher, the child will think such an attitude is acceptable, which will just make any existing problems worse and more difficult to resolve. Leave your anger at home since it can make you look irrational and cause the teacher to become defensive, neither of which will help your child. (Tips for Talking With Your Gifted Child’s Teacher, About.com, undated.)

4. Know what is available for your Child by Lori Comallie-Caplan

To ask for the programs and opportunities that will benefit your child the most, you must learn what the school has to offer and be able to explain why particular options will benefit your child. Ask the right questions:

· What type of gifted programming is available? (i.e. gifted class, resource room, independent study and/or mentorships)

· Is grouping available? (i.e. flexible skills and/or cluster grouping)

· What differentiated instructional strategies are supported in the school? (i.e. curriculum compacting, tiered instruction, acceleration)

· What extra-curricular activities are available for the gifted? (i.e. Future Problem Solving, Math Olympiads, National History Day)

5. Support Homework Time for 2E Kids by Linda Neumann

We must make sure children have the support they need to be successful. That includes providing them with an appropriate workspace, teaching them the study and organizational skills they need, and offering them accommodations where necessary, like extended time or reduced assignments. (Homework: The Good , The Bad and the Ugly, The SENG Update, November 2007.)

6. Be your child’s champion by Karen Isaacson

Remember that you are the person ultimately responsible for the well-being and education of your child. Nobody else can advocate for your child like you can. You are your child’s champion. (Working with Schools to Meet the Needs of Your Gifted Children)

Kathy Jones adds, “Teach your child self-advocacy skills for use at school.” (Facebook Post August 23, 2013)

7. Consider Sports, Not Just Academics by Kathleen Casper

Year after year, educators debate whether parents should be “wasting their time” taking their children to afterschool sports activities. Some argue that children who are tested show very little academic improvement, if any, from participation in sports. Some say that the social and task commitment skills learned in sports positively impact children’s development. And others argue it is good for children to be active for physical health reasons. But very few acknowl