More than any other time in the year, the beginning of school is the time when teachers lay out their expectations. This usually happens through Back to School Night or a written class syllabus or calendar. Take advantage of these to find out:
- When will tests typically be given and how much will they cover?
For younger students, weekly spelling tests are normal. How many words are there usually? What about math facts test? How many questions? How often?
- What long-term projects will be assigned and how much time will there be to complete them?
Some teachers are on a constant long term “track” while others may assign just a couple of projects during the year. Find out the expectations and “ground rules” now so that you can plan.
- How much time does the teacher expect students to spend on homework daily?
This is a VERY important question. If your child is spending lots more time than the teacher expects, find out why. It could be that the teacher doesn’t know how much is being assigned. It could be that students need a little time to adjust to the new kind of work.But it can also mean that there are some learning issues that ought to be dealt with.
Just keep comparing the teacher’s expectations with the reality at your house.
- What are the expectations for AR (Accelerated Reader)?
How many minutes a day / week or how many books per week / month? What grade level books should be read? What if your child can’t keep up? What if the books are too hard? Ask the questions NOW so that you get a clear idea of the expectations.
- What does the teacher expect regarding use of the computer for research and final copies of written work?
Each teacher has his / her own expectations. Get very specific when you ask to be sure. There is nothing worse than spending the time and doing the work only to find that it won’t be accepted.
Really “dig” to get the answers. DON’T wait until things are a BIG problem!
Armed with this information, you and your student should set aside time to do some long term planning. It’s always best to have plans written down, even if it is a “skeleton timeline.” This will help everyone know what to expect and provides a sense of security.