“What did you learn in school today?”

At dinner tables across the country, parents are asking children what they learned in school every day. Those questions are filled with answers such as “I don’t remember”, “I don’t know” and the always popular “nothing”. Even though parents know that this is not possible, they don’t know where to turn for the answers. Yes, they can do directly to the source and ask the teachers but it is also important for parents to take ownership over their son or daughter’s learning.

Starting in elementary school, most curriculums are based on state standards. These standards are published online and anyone can research them without much difficulty. These standards highlight benchmarks and goals that students must reach throughout and by the end of each school year, depending on the grade level. Along with needing to meet certain standards, each school uses specific programs for each subject area. Anyone can ask their child’s teacher for this information and most likely, the program outline can be found online also. Take a look at these standards and programs and be prepared to see work come home that supports each of these.
When I was teaching, back to school or meet the teacher night was arranged to meet with parents of my students to give an overview of our yearly goals and daily routines. This was generally very well received by parents and a lot of those initial questions they had were answered throughout the evening.

In addition, I sent home a monthly newsletter highlighting topics that will be covered in each subject area, class birthdays, class field trips and book of the month (determined by the school). I encouraged parents to keep this paper handy and refer to it throughout the month. This way, instead of accepting the answer of “nothing” at the dinner table, they could reply with a specific answer such as “I think you are learning about balls and ramps in science, did you do this today?” Letting your child know you are involved and aware of what is going on in school is helpful for you but also for them. Forming a connectedness between home and school is crucial for them to recognize.Other parents are a great resource. Teachers typically give out a class list with the other parents contact information. Form an email group to keep in contact with them. Share stories, ask questions and form a network to help each other. If you are a first time school parent, talking with parents that have older children in the school can help. They have more experience with the school, administration and teachers. Schools are communities and becoming part of this community will make the transition much smoother for the children and parents.

Today’s Guest Post is brought to us by Amanda. She says:

My name is Amanda Lehrman. In 2000, I graduated from University at Buffalo with a B.S. in Business Administration and worked in the advertising and marketing field for two years. In 2002, I attended Fordham University and received an M.S.T in Elementary Education. After 5 years of teaching in New York City and Long Island, I joined the world of corporate education. I trained teachers on the use of reading intervention programs and also planned professional development for teachers and parents. Currently, I am a stay at home mom taking care of my son Jack!

Amanda also has a blog called TheMommaFiles! TheMommaFiles was created to help parents supplement their child’s education at home. Whether you are sending your child to public school, private school or homeschooling, there is always time for learning outside of a school setting. Often times, parents are looking for ideas to use with their children but are not sure where to look for them. I provide easy to follow, family friendly tips for turning everyday situations into a learning experience. With the start of the school year, TheMommaFiles is a great resource for continuing a school education at home, on the weekends and during vacations. Complete with book recommendations and activities, TheMommaFiles is a parent’s answer to the question, “What can I do with my child at home”?

View TheMommaFiles!




  • Jasmine on September 10, 2011

    Wow! This post is extremely helpful as we are facing this with our son daily! We always want to know what he has done and what he is learning and he always says “i don’t remember” or “nothing” like you mentioned above- how funny! When I know he knows, he just for some reason won’t tell me. I am so excited to hear about his day but I get nothing. I will definitely take your advice on looking at the handouts and specifically asking him about certain things I know he is doing. Thank you so much for this! I am going to start Monday after school.

  • Kaydee on September 10, 2011

    Great post! I also volunteer in my son’s 1st grade classroom which helps a lot, I know not all parents are able to on a regular basis but doing it just once can give you great inside into the Inner workings of the classroom. I feel more involved and can mimic the teachers style and the way she explains or directs the children with their work. Sometimes when homework packets came home I’d have to ask my son how they do it in class, but not anymore. Also, sometimes it can be hard on the teacher to constantly have to explain the curriculum to all the parents who have questions, so I love the idea of finding it online. My son’s school is very proactive with that at the beginning of the year, we get a ton of information specific to our child’s teacher and grade. And all staff (especially the office) has an open door policy, so when questions do arise there’s always someone to talk to. I guess we’re pretty darn lucky to be in the school we are!

  • Carol Berman on September 11, 2011

    Great information for parents on how to be an active participant in their child’s education. As a former teacher I found it very beneficial if parents felt included in the everyday goings on at school rather feel like an outsider. Parent-Teacher-School partnerships are one of the most important parts of any child’s education. Thanks for bringing this to light. I will advise parents to check out any further posts here as well as refer them to TheMommaFiles.

  • Jessica on September 11, 2011

    The first day my daughter went to school, she told me it was a secret what she did that day, ha.


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