Questions From You

Parenting questions submitted by our community members and answered by a YOU Program facilitator.
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From a Teacher: 3 Tips for Parents to Start the School Year Right

August 15, 2017

By Kevin Rutter

From a Teacher: 3 Tips for Parents to Start the School Year Right

Successful students need engaged parents to support them. On behalf of all teachers, I'm asking you to continue to support your child's education as the school year begins. You can make this year successful for your child with these parent engagement tips:

  1. Update your contact information.
    Teachers will need to reach you at some point during the year, so make you're your contact information is up-to-date. If you've moved or changed phone numbers, please contact your school’s attendance office and provide the new information. Having the correct contact information creates the right environment for a timely communication flow between the school and home.
  2. Take advantage of technology.
    We've seen a technological revolution in schools in the past decade. There are new tools available for parents to monitor what is happening with their student at school. Your child’s grades and attendance data should be accessible for review online. These systems can also send you text messages if your child cuts class or their grades dip below an acceptable level.

    Technology allows parents to be more active participants in their child’s education. Please contact your school’s main office to learn how to connect with these applications.
  3. Attend an open house or parent-teacher conference. 
    Make a point to attend open houses or parent-teacher conferences whenever they are offered. It shows your child that you care about their education and shows the teachers and staff the same. Schools also use these events to showcase programs and services that are available for parents to help boost their engagement in their child’s education.

Keep communication lines open with your child’s school by providing updated contact information, using educational technology, and meeting with your child’s teachers and school staff. By following these tips, you will get the most out of your engagement and increase your child’s success in school.

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4 Ways to Keep Your College Student's Grades in Check

August 1, 2017

By Judy Razo

4 Ways to Keep Your College Student's Grades in Check

Parenting is different when your child is in college. Your child might not live at home so you can't keep track of study habits and you're no longer entitled to receive your student's grades.

So how can you keep those grades in check when your son or daughter doesn’t have to show them to you?

  1. Trust your child.
    Start by acknowledging that your child is now considered an adult, and therefore, you should respect and trust them as one. This will only strengthen your relationship and keep the lines of communication open between you, which in turn will make your child feel comfortable enough to show you their grades, no matter what they look like.
  2. Establish a protocol for academic struggles.
    Before your child starts college, discuss a protocol in case they have trouble with a class or grades begin to slip. Present it as a “just-in-case” plan that both of you hope you won’t have to use.

    As a parent you have high expectations for your child. As a son or daughter, your child doesn’t want to hear that you think they're going to fail, so be tactful in your delivery. Acknowledge that going to college is very different than going to high school and this plan will provide wiggle room as your child adjusts.
  3. Agree to share grades.
    Before your student leaves for college, agree on when they should share their grades. This will set expectations and keep your child on track as they remember the agreement to share grades after midterms and at the end of the semester.

    The agreement will vary depending on the relationship between you and your child. If you are able to, you could offer to pay tuition in exchange for a strong GPA. You could also incentivize your student by offering to increase the monthly stipend or upgrade their living or lifestyle arrangements each semester contingent on academic progress.
  4. Walk through their degree plan together.
    Lastly, you can take your parent engagement level a step beyond just grades by having your student walk you through their degree plan and sit down at the end of each semester to check off the completed classes. Stay open-minded to your child’s choices and be supportive if they choose to change their major.

Remember to be confident that you raised a well-rounded and prepared child. This is the opportunity to allow all of the things you taught them to kick in; you just have to be patient, open-minded, and give it some time. Your child will apply what you have taught them and learn new techniques that will pay off.

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Reading in early childhood leads to academic success

June 6, 2017

By Jessica Vician

Reading in early childhood leads to academic success

Think about when you're most proud of your young child. Is it when they conquer a skill you've been working on for a while? Is it when they use a word larger than you thought they could understand (or even a word they did—but shouldn't—have picked up from you *wink*)?

For young children, small steps in learning eventually become their academic development. Their ability to learn now will help them learn once they're in school. Reading can help your toddler develop those early academic skills.

Did you receive children's books as gifts when you were pregnant or after your baby was born? Keep those books out and accessible for your child to pick up. Flip through them together, looking at and talking about the pictures. Ask your child questions:

  • What animal is that?
  • What color shirt is he wearing?
  • Where do you think she is going next?
  • How does she know that woman?
  • Why is he sad?

These questions encourage your child to interact with the book, develop cause and effect critical thinking skills, and use their imagination about what could happen outside of the written story.

Once your child starts to develop an interest in books, head to yard sales and the library for inexpensive ways to expand their reading options. You can even use newspaper comics and magazines.

By including your child while reading books—asking questions during the story, pointing out details in the illustrations, and prompting your child to share their own version of the story—you are encouraging academic development in your child and setting them on the path to success.


How can you teach your child to read? Try this teacher's tips

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What Is the Summer Slide and How Can You Prevent It?

May 30, 2017

By Sandra Braceful-Quarles

What Is the Summer Slide and How Can You Prevent It? Here are activities to prevent the summer slide from happening to your child.

With summer break on the horizon, kids are looking forward to a break from school and spending more time with friends. As you plan your child's summer, incorporate activities and learning opportunities to prevent the summer slide from happening to your child.

The summer slide is the loss of learning that takes place during the summer months when children are not engaged in educational activities, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Over 100 years of research shared by the National Summer Learning Institute suggests that students score two to three months lower on the same standardized test given at the end of summer compared to the beginning of summer vacation. After a few summers, those months can easily add up to a loss of one school year.

To prevent that loss of knowledge, plan activities that focus on your child's interests to ensure they're having fun while learning over their summer vacation.

Visit your local library.
Many libraries have summer reading programs to encourage students to read over the summer. Kids usually receive a reward at the end of the program based on the number of books they read.

Cook your way through lessons in the kitchen.
Cooking is a fun way to incorporate reading, math, and art into a learning activity. The reading part comes with following the recipe, which makes the dish taste delicious. Have your child—the chef of the day—read instructions aloud as you act as his or her assistant. The math is the measurement part of the recipe. Instead of using 1 cup, use 1/3 cup (pour three 1/3 cups into 1 cup) to show that they are equal. Children can show artistic skills when plating and presenting the meal.

Learn more about their hobbies.
Hobbies are the perfect opportunities for reading and learning. If your child shows an interest in a particular topic, suggest he or she learn more about those activities. For example, if your child is interested in swimming, read about how to become a better swimmer, convert laps in pool meters into miles, or learn about famous swimmers.

Optimize your vacation.
Use the weeks leading up to your summer vacation to learn about your destination. Read brochures or books together before you leave. While on vacation, point out locations and cultural qualities that you learned about in those reading materials. During the vacation or upon your return, encourage your child to write about the activities in a summer adventure journal.

Enjoy your summer. Your child has many resources available to prevent any learning loss. With these tips, the only summer slide your child will ride is at the local playground or amusement park.



Sandra Braceful-Quarles is an educator, community liaison, and tutor working in the south suburbs of Chicago. As an active member of her worship community, she is passionate about giving back and volunteering to help others. She and her husband have three children and two grandchildren.


Looking for more ways to improve your child’s learning experience outside of school? Pick up a copy of YOU: Your Child’s First Teacher on Amazon.

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Celebrate Your Child's Teacher During Teacher Appreciation Week

May 9, 2017

By Jessica Vician

Celebrate Your Child's Teacher During Teacher Appreciation Week

Image courtesy of PTA.org

Teachers do so much for our kids—not only do they educate, they also look out for their social, emotional, and physical well-being while at school. They're building confidence and self-esteem while curbing bullying. They're teaching for academic success and inspiring a thirst for knowledge outside of the textbook.

With the PTA's Teacher Appreciation Week in full swing, how will you thank your child's teacher for all that they do?

The PTA put together a toolkit that will help you and your fellow parents say thanks. From thank you cards to appreciation certificates to flyers, head over to their site to download and print.

You can publicly thank the teachers on social media using the PTA graphics included in the kit and the #ThankATeacher hashtag.

Ask your child to name several things they like about their teacher. If your child is old enough to write, have them write a thank you card. If they can't write yet, write the thank you card for them.

For older kids, ask them to think about what they love about their favorite teachers and find things they admire about their least favorite teachers. Encourage them to write thank you cards to both. It's the least we can do for the people who do it all for our kids.

Tags :  teachersacademicsocial
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