Step 1 - Call or email your child's teachers to set up a conference.
You need to know who your child's teachers are and they need to know who you are. If your child is in elementary school, he or she may have one or possibly two regular classroom teachers. These teachers are the adults responsible for teaching the main reading, writing, math, science, and social studies lessons to your child. If your child is in middle or high school, he or she may have up to eight course teachers.
The teachers need to see you. This conveys a message that you care about your child's education. Actions speak louder than words and when you do not reach out to your child's teachers at all, unfortunately, it usually sends a bad message that you are too busy to care or other things are more important.
Don't worry about feeling nervous or intimidated. The teachers are here to help you and will be thankful that you took this initiative. Don't worry about not knowing what to say. Just tell the teacher that you would like to know their role in helping with your child's education, what role they expect you to have at home in helping your child, and these will lead into other questions. If you would feel more comfortable with a set of questions to ask, see the conference questions below.
Step 2 - Go online and research your child's school.
All schools are not created equal. Many schools have special focuses. They could focus on math and science, the arts, leadership, foreign languages, etc. It's important that you know the focus of the school that you have enrolled your child in. Researching the school's website will also give you more questions to ask during your conference.
Step 3 - Start asking your child daily questions about how things are going in school.
You will not know what is going on in our child's school, if you do not ask your child. Answers such as "fine" and "okay" are not good enough. Try asking questions such as these:
"What was your best part of the day and why?"
"What is the hardest thing that you are studying in school right now and why do you think it is so hard?"
"What did you learn in school today and can you teach me how to do it or tell me why it is important to learn?"
These questions require more than a one word answer. If your child gives you an answer that is troubling, ask more questions, and do not hesitate to contact his or her teacher by email or phone (email will save you more time) for clarification. Contacting your child's teacher does not question his or her authority. It lets the teacher know that you are involved in your child's education, you know what is going on in the classroom, and that you are here to help.