Shouldn't parents have access to our kid's schedule and learning materials?
I am an older mom, and would like your views on this issue. In my daughters reading/lit class (grade 2), I asked the teacher for a schedule for my daughters class. This would consist of what she would be teaching during the school year. An example, Phonics, Compound words, Verb Usage, etc. This would give me a view of what to expect during the year. I requested to have a few copies of the reading material that she would be using during the year. I was told that I couldn't have this material. It's like a big secret. If parents are held accountable for what the child is doing at home, why can't parents receive this information. Her teacher also informed me that they want to see how well the child works independently in school. How can I help my child or reienforce what is being taught in class if the teacher will not let me see what is being taught to her? Please help!
It's commendable that you want to be supportive of you daughter. As a former elementary school teacher, I can provide a few pointers to help you with the reading curriculum and her teacher.
1. If you daughter is attending a public school, the school is following state-wide standards for what she should learn in 2nd grade. I suggest you ask the school's office personnel for a copy of the standards for 2nd grade. Some schools provide these to parents at the beginning of the year, but not all do. These standards are detailed with the skills and knowledge each child is expected to achieve in each subject area/grade level. Or you can go to your state's department of education website. The standards for each grade level and subject will be listed there somewhere. Your school district may have additional standards, but, at a minimum, the state standards must be followed by all public schools. Here's a link to the list of state education websites: http://nces.ed.gov/CCD/ccseas.asp
2. If you have not already done so, ask your teacher what support he or she expects you to provide your child. 2nd grade readers are still beginning readers who need lots of practice, so some teachers will ask that a student read to his/her parent for a certain amount of time each day. My daughter did not care much for this, so we doubled the time and alternated. I read a page, then she read a page. Other than reading, your daughter's homework should be practice for things she has already learned at school. If your daughter is having difficulty with something, just write a note on the homework explaining what she couldn't do or didn't understand. Most students will not struggle with 2nd grade language arts homework. If homework problems persist, make an appointment with her teacher to discuss how the two of you will help your daughter.
3. Teachers cannot easily provide copies of materials used in class to parents. Schools have strict copying budgets, and teachers have limited time to make copies. I had a monthly allotment of copies, and I always ran over, and I had to pay for copies made over my allotment. Aside from that, good teachers are constantly adjusting the materials they use to the abilities of their students, district requirements, and new teaching materials and techniques that are made available to them. So anything she might tell you or give you is likely to change within a few weeks.
4. This one is very important. Be sure to make an appointment with your daughter's teacher whenever you want to discuss something with her. It is very difficult for teachers to engage in a worthwhile discussion while they are with a class of students. Teachers welcome questions and input from you to help improve your child's learning, when done in an appropriate time and setting.
5. If there's something more that you would like to do to support your daughter's learning -- read to her at least 15 minutes a day. Research has shown that students who are read to daily, and who read daily themselves are much higher achievers than those who do not.
6. The US Dept of Education has an excellent website, Reading Rockets, that I often recommend to parents and teachers. Their tips for parents of 2nd graders can be found here: http://readingrockets.org/article/7836
Above all, watch in awe and admire as your child matures and starts to accomplish learning independently. Be there to answer her questions, but let her go when she knows what she's doing. That was hard for me to do when my daughter was 7, and now that she's in middle school, I'm learning to be even more hands-off as she learns.