Our parent orientation on Wed 9/22 focused on the relationship between social/emotional health and academic success. We tried to stress the importance of building a collaborative relationship between families and school staff/teachers. After Claudia shared our expectations and suggestions about creating a safe and supportive relationship with your children, I reiterated this message with a few specifics. Below I share a couple key opportunities for strengthening the connection between you and your child with regard to their educational experience.
- On-line work: all of our work, assignments, and grades are available on-line. More often than not, kids and parents argue because the expectations aren’t clear. Our Moodle pages, googledocs, and emails are all accessible by students and their families. In this way, we can eradicate misconceptions and keep energy focused on the task at hand. If you have questions, just call, email us, or set up an in-person meeting.
- Watch movies/read the same books/articles: our students interact with a wide range of resources, almost all of which are NOT text-books. Whether they’re watching videos on TED.com or reading Nobel Laureate speeches, these are great activities to do together and then discuss. These brief assignments give you a chance to experience your child’s education as a PARTNER and to help them flesh out their thoughts before they return to class.
- Field Experience: our students do Field Experience every Friday; this means that they’re out in the city exploring curricular connections. However, there is no possible way that we can do everything we’d like; there just isn’t enough time. But you can do these things together. You can visit different neighborhoods, watch/listen to music and shows, check out cool exhibits, and research connections that are meaningful to your children.
In each of these three cases, you are closing the gap between the sometimes non-verbal and meaningless responses that teens might give, and your aspirations for how they will grow and mature.
- For example, a parent may ask how was your day or what are you doing in class and a teen might reply, “fine” or “boring,” and “nothing.” That doesn’t help either of you very much. And then it’s hard to keep pushing because you feel like a nag and they feel like withdrawing.
Please understand that the distance is ok and so is the feeling of awkwardness you might experience. Just try to work through it by letting go of judgment about who they should be as learners and just participate with them.
Good luck and please let me know if this works for you and if you have any questions or thoughts.