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Beyond Textbooks

Dinnertime Conversations

We have all been there.

You ask your child, "How was school today?" and the answer comes back, "Fine." Our goal here is to help you ask some open-ended or directed questions that will prompt more of a response from your child, and lead into a real conversation. This linked article provides some more great ideas.

Some tips we have found useful are:

  • Take a look at your child's planner or agenda. That should indicate what they are working on today or this week.
  • Visit your child's teachers' blogs or websites. They may list the standards your child is working on.
  • Ask questions like, "What did you learn in social studies (or science, or language arts, or math, etc.) today?" If your child answers in a vague way, keep asking! If they say, "We read a book," you can follow up with questions like, "Which book? What's it about? Who are the characters? Which character do you like the most? Why? What has happened so far? What do you think will happen next?" And so on... 
  • Ask your child to explain their homework to you! That both helps them reinforce what they are learning, and also is a great way for you to be involved in their learning. If they are learning a new way of solving a math problem, have them teach you. Current state standards expect students to be able to explain and justify their work, so this is great practice for them. This conversation will help get them ready for the state test in the spring!
  • Use the "What Is My Child Learning, And How Can I Help?" section to find the official name for the standard your child is working on. Once you know the official name, check the web resources here, or other sites that support this standard. If your child has textbooks at home, look up that topic in the index or table of contents.



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