Parenting Tip: How Can You Tell If They Learned Anything this School Year?
What happens when you see the kiddos after school and you ask them how their day was? If your children are anything like mine you may get a “Fine.” When you ask what they learned today perhaps you get “Stuff” like me? Well with summer just a two week sniff a way it is time to see how all of those ‘fines’ and ‘stuffs’ add up. It is the end of the school year and this is the time when I really find out whether or not our three really learned (aka retained) anything. For the little ones it’s a little easier to tell. I read with them every night. I am able to help them with homework and can tell if they have finally moved on in understanding certain concepts. It also helps that their teachers send notes home if there is anything in particular we need to help them with. But for the oldest it’s a little trickier. Since she’s on track (thank God) to go to high school next year I’ve turned over the responsibility of homework and preparing for tests to her. I no longer receive weekly emails from her teachers telling me what’s next and understandably so. I see high school as the final step before college. We won’t be there in four years every day to tell her to be on time, to study or to go and see professors if she has a problem. The responsibility will be on her. Thus, I have to wait until her standardized tests and final exams come back to see how much she’s moved forward this school year. In the meantime my plan this summer is to have my own projects to see how much the oldest learned. And I figure my projects won’t hurt the little kiddos either.
Each project below combines what our children should have learned or gotten better at after this school year in each of the four core subjects (Social Studies + English + Science+ Math). In each project there is a mix of two contents (aka killing two birds with one stone).
For the Big Kids:
Pick certain time periods in history covered this school year. For instance:
Global Studies/World History:
- For example, military veterans, women’s rights/equal pay or civil rights of all Americans
- Ensure proper use of photos by having your tween/teen read up on copyright policy
- Create a model, life size or not, of chosen site (be sure to include surrounding cities/states/lakes etc.).
- Have tween/teen make future population predictions and determine how their model may change as a result.
- Plot on a graph statistics of interest from the past and present.
- Create a new design for an area that may lend to improvements.
- Have your tween or teen create a movie or documentary about a local historic/science event.
- Interview as many people as possible who witnessed event.
- Set up a meeting with your local climatologist to discuss global warming.
- Set up a meeting with local professors to discuss impact of such events as Nagasaki.
For the elementary kids:
Social Studies: + English/Language Arts: Find a pen pal.
- Our oldest elementary schooler can connect with another student in another country (or state even). We will try Students of the World or Amazing Kids
- We will create a rug sized map of the world (oceans and all) and pin point the distance from where we live and the new pen pal.
- Momentum - whether you're running toward the ball when you kick it or toward the goal when someone passes it to you - can move that ball down the field at very high speeds.
- Mass (which is related to your body weight) multiplied by your velocity, or motion in a particular direction, equals a lot of momentum.
- We will also compare the momentum and velocity of other balls and record on a chart
For the Preschool and Kindergarten kids:
Geography + Math + English: Learn the 50 states and count them too.
- Introduce geography with this app, Stack the States:
- Count all states and then have the little ones practice writing the states on a sheet of paper – neatly.