If you want to show your child that you’re interested in what she’s doing at school, don’t just encourage her to do her homework. Do a bit of homework yourself.

It’s easier to talk with your child if you are armed with knowledge. Not only will you and your child have some common ground but you can avoid the old scenario: “What did you do in school today?” “Nothing.”

Here are some ways to have better school conversations with your child:
  • Know the contents of your child’s backpack. Make sure you ask your child to share the contents with you rather than going through them without her knowledge. What your child pulls out of her backpack—essays, projects, worksheets, books—should be a gold mine for conversation. Ask you child to tell you about the work and how she feels about it. Do not use this time to criticize or nag.
  • Keep your ear tuned for new ideas your child may express. Show interest in your child’s opinions—they sometimes reflect what she is learning in school and what she thinks of it. Say things like, “That’s an interesting conclusion. Can you tell me how you reached it?”

http://www.chelseahouse.com Source: Vito Perrone, 101 Educational Conversations with Your 6th Grader, ISBN: 0-7910-1989-6 (Chelsea House Publishers, 1-800-322-8755) Reprinted with permission from (c)2007 The Parent Institute, a division of NIS, Inc.