Parent's Corner

 *Ask questions to help your child develop high- level thinking skills*

Thinking skills are the basis for learning every subject, from reading comprehension to math. These skills will help your child be successful in school and in life. To develop his thinking skills, encourage your child to:

* Evaluate how he did on a test or homework assignment. Ask your child, "What did you do well? What would you change next time?

* See patterns and reasons. Ask your child what he sees in a spider web, for example. Or ask him to explain his or another's' behavior in a certain situation. What happened first, second, etc., Why?

* Practice making decisions.  Ask your child how he would spend $5 and why.  What if he had $100?

* Explore different ways to solve a problem. Help your child look at the pros and cons of each likely solution. Ask for specific reasons for his choice of a final solution.

* Connect topics that seem very different. If he's learning about bees in school, ask, "How is a beehive like a town? How is it different?
*Tips for better grades & improved attendance*

* Homework time. Take a "same time, same place" approach to homework on school days. Your child might study at the kitchen counter each day after school, for example. This encourages independence and responsibility.

* Goal setting. Ask your child what she'd like to accomplish in and out of school. Set one or two reasonable goals. "I want to read a chapter book this week," "I want to build a model plane/" Make a step-by-step plan for success.

* Reading time. Find creative, appealing ways to fit reading into your schedule. You might read at bedtime, take books to the park, act out a story or read a book and then see the movie version.

* Academic activities. Incorporate math, science, history and more into everyday life. Help your child manage her allowance, for instance. Do a science experiment just for fun. Visit a historical site, if possible. Show your child that learning is fun and useful!

* Non-academic activities. When kids make progress in sports, arts, music, technology and other areas, they gain confidence. This helps them become better students. Support and compliment all kinds of hard work.  

*Show your child that learning is an important responsibility*

You have work to do everyday, and so does your child! As the school year begins, encourage him to see learning as an important duty he can enjoy. Research shows this will help him succeed. Make it a priority to:

* Speak positively about school. How will your child use what he learns? What goals will he reach with his education? Compliment teachers, classes and your child's abilities. Recall positive experiences you had as a student.

* Help your child stay organized. Encourage you child to clean out his backpack and school desk frequently. Pick a quiet, regular time and place for studying, too.

* Encourage time management. If you child receives a weekly homework packet, help him break it into daily assignments. When older kids are assigned long-term projects, divide them into small parts with manageable deadlines.
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