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A Guide to Getting Involved At Your Child's School (page 2)

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Updated on Aug 6, 2013

The message: Talk to your kids and don’t stop. “Even in 10th grade it matters that you regularly talk to your kids about what they’re doing in school,” says Conway, who has a 9th grader of her own and reminds herself of this research often. Conway doesn’t know why conversations make such a difference, but, “I think that some of it is the signal to kids that [education is] important.”

But sometimes conversations about school can seem like a one-way street. Here are some tips for clearing the lines of communication with your child:

Don’t stop as they get older. Elementary schools often do more to help parents become involved than middle or high schools. But, says Joyce Epstein, director of the Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships with Johns Hopkins University, parents need to continue that involvement into middle school and high school. Know that just because your child may not be excited to see you, doesn’t mean they don’t want you there.

Provide age-appropriate involvement. Take advantage of the opportunities, advises Epstein, whether that’s helping in a kindergarteners’ classroom or attending a high schooler’s football games. But, don’t be overly excited to see a middle or high school student, they may not want to be hugged in the hallway.

Discuss content. In the upper grades, if the general, “How was school today?” gets you nowhere, ask what they did in math, or how the science lab went. Specific questions will get you more information.

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