Family Involvement through “Course Conversations”

IMG_1020After speaking to a mother of a 10th grade student who is struggling with World History, I suggested that they set up a quick  routine that every school night the mom would ask the daughter to tell her one thing about what she is learning about in the course. The daughter was allowed to look at her notes or her textbook when telling the mom as long as the fact that she explained was what her class was currently working on such as, “During the French Revolution, the clergy owned about 10 percent of all of the land.”  Some nights, this fact or detail was quick and there was not much discussion about the subject. However, about three nights a week, the mom and daughter were able to get into an interesting conversation regarding the topic.  These conversations leave the mom and daughter both pushing themselves to think deeper about the concept, the time period, and the lasting influence that this historical event has left on their own lives. This strategy is simple  and does not require the parent to be an expert on the topic for the emphasis is on thought and quick “check-ins” so the mom had awareness of what her daughter was learning about in World History, a course that had created a great deal of friction between the two because of the daughter’s grade and the mom’s feelings towards the difficult subject matter herself. However, through simply opening up a conversation through a fact or detail,  both the mom and daughter end up googling ideas during the conversation because they come up with other questions, thus pushing the daughter to draw deeper connections to her course content.

Literature//Press Here

In a world of apps and high-tech gadgets how could a book with only primary colored dots make kids giggle, clap, scream and bounce with excitement? Herve Tullet figure out how. Press Here is an amazing picture book that allows children to interact with the book in their lap. They follow simple instructions such as, “Clap” and “Tap three times.”

Press Here


Every page holds a new surprise. The dot grows, multiplies, changes directions and turns off the lights. The simple magic of words and illustrations allow children to feel like magicians as they change the dots.

Education//How Was Your Day At School? (for teens)

“How was your day at school?”


Conversation done.

If that is how your afternoon car-ride conversations are, try these questions to get your teen sharing more:

1. What class has your favorite group of friends in it?

2. What classes are you finding the most interesting?

3. What is something interesting you learned in ____(insert class name)_____ today?


Education//Airplane Mode

Did you know that  Airplane Mode is an easy way to reduce distractibility during study time? Just have your child slide it on and their study time will no longer be interrupted with calls, texts and social media notifications. iPhone users can also use the “Do Not Disturb” setting and only program calls to come in from VIP people… .like you (the parents)! I spoke with a parent the other day that reduces her social media and phone chatting time after dinner so she can spend quality time with her kids by using this same strategy. Having a distraction reduced environment during study time is important. You may also want to encourage your teen to shut down their messaging on their computer during study time because those pop-ups can lead to frequent interruptions.


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