Parents: Check Out Your Child's Curriculum

Knowing what's on tap for your student's class this year may open up learning opportunities for you and your child.

Have you noticed that your kids are even more annoying than usual? It’s probably the reality that school is going to start setting in, thanks to fall fashion and hearty breakfast commercials. Who can blame them really. Beginning a new school year is exciting, but scary and overwhelming too. Well, I have a few ideas that may help you prepare your kids for the coming year.

I’m going to tell you a little secret. Shhhh, come close ….the school curriculum is available, grade by grade, on the district’s website. (Here they are for District 102 and District 96.) And now I’m going to tell you why you care. By reading it, you will not only have a full and detailed preview of what your child is expected to learn over the course of the school year, but, it will give you valuable knowledge on how to prepare your child for the school year as well. 

No, it won’t say “your child will be learning about the Revolutionary War so take a trip to Gettysburg,” but it will say that in fifth grade your child will need to explain the causes and effects of the Revolutionary War. So now that you know that, you can help your child build priceless background knowledge. 

Forget Gettysburg, they don’t concentrate on the battles in fifth grade. Heading east?  Do the Freedom Walk in Boston. Staying close to home?  Watch the Liberty Kids cartoon series or the HBO mini-series John Adams (great for the aftermath of the war).

Of course it’s not just social studies that is laid out in the curriculum, it’s all the subjects. Print out the science curriculum for the grade your child is about to enter and then make a trip to the Museum of Science and Industry. I know you have been there several times already, but it’s a whole different experience when you know what to look for.

Go for the exhibits outlined in the curriculum; spend some time explaining how the positions of the sun and earth affect seasons to your sixth-grader or the concepts of simple machines to your third-grader. Now you have some great activities to help your child build a strong foundation and understand the concepts he or she will be taught this year.

As an added benefit, you are sure to learn something too. So, hypothetically speaking, when your child asks you for help you won’t have to pretend you know what you’re talking about, not that you ever do that.


Sue Schaefer is a certified teacher and Academic Coach. Submit your education questions to Sue at susan.schaefer@academiccoachingct.com and visit her website, Academic Coaching Associates.

Sandra Anderson August 14, 2011 at 01:04 PM
Great idea. We get the curriculum at the beginning of school but I never thought to use it to direct summer activities. Please remind us agaIn in June so I can get an early start to planning out our summer.


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