At the Academy for G.O.D. we repeatedly emphasize the need for parent involvement. This may seem more evident at younger ages, where students are learning to navigate everything from going to school for the first time to learning how to read and write. Though it may not seem as pressing, your High School student needs your help to succeed in their classes. Though they may not need you to tie their shoes or help recite the alphabet, the support you can give them now will make a tremendous difference in ending this first quarter well, and moving into the latter half of the semester ready to thrive. Below are some tips you can implement to help them develop into better students in all their subjects:
1) Have them Make Statements about Class Content
The question "what did you learn in school today?" seems to always end with an unimpressive answer. Beyond probing for the whole of their educational content, have them summarize a lesson from a particular class in a succinct phrase. We have been practicing the skill of making positional statements in multiple classes. Challenge them to distill a lesson learned into a concise sentence that takes an ethical position. Here's a recent example from Bible History: In Bible History we learned that, though Egyptian architecture has been praised over millennia for its ingenuity and scale, we learn in Exodus that it was a product of oppression and violence. Don't expect them to nail it the first time; ask leading questions and help coach them to explain words. "What do you mean by 'oppression'? Do you have a definition from class?" The answer would be YES - we did have a definition from class :)
2) Have them Read You Written Essays and Responses
This may be a touchy issue given the sometimes 'personal' nature of written reflections, but your student will benefit from you hearing their work. You can offer feedback on their content: "I like what you said here; that was a great point; perhaps you could clarify this section; this idea doesn't make sense - can you explain it better?" You can also help provide technical help through editing. I've encouraged students in all our classes to read and revise each assignment. I've also provided them with resources to help in that process. I will share those same resources with you below so you can know how to aid them. I want each of the High School students to feel confident in their written communication; you can be a great resource for them.
3) Help Them Study
High School students have already had pop quizzes in a few classes. Within the next week or two, they may also have midterms in some courses. Ask them if they have a test or quiz coming up and help them work through their notes. It will be a great opportunity for them to study well, while also secretly giving you insight into the content they are learning without having to ask incessantly.
4) Connect to Canvas
This last point is a bit more technical, but if you haven't yet, I'd encourage you to connect to your students on Canvas. You can refer to an earlier blog post to see how to do this. Doing so will allow you to see both their assignments and grades.