4 Questions to Ask Your Child About School

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4 min read

Through report cards, parent-teacher conferences, and grades posted online, tracking your child’s educational progress is often relatively easy to do. Aside from these mediums, though, one of the best ways parents can assess progress is by having regular conversations with their student. This will help you not only gauge how they’re doing, but also teach them to reflect meaningfully on what they’re working on in school. Questions to ask your child about school include what they find interesting, areas where they encounter confusion, and their favorite activities.

Looking to help your student finish the school year on a good note? Keep reading to learn four questions to ask your child about school.

Question #1 to ask your child about school: “What do you know, what do you want to know, and what have you learned?”

KWL—which stands for “know,” “want to know,” and “learned”—is a series of questions that may already be familiar to your child, as some teachers begin units by filling out KWL charts as a class. This technique works at home too, and is best for gauging progress on a specific subject, unit, or concept. Have your child list things that they know about a concept, as well as what they want to know. This is especially helpful to do during a unit to see how they’re progressing through the quarter or semester. At the end of the unit or course, ask them what they’ve learned. Is there anything they’ve been exposed to, but still don’t quite understand? Have they learned everything they wanted to know? A mismatch between the “want to know” and “learned” columns could signify one of two things:

  • There’s something that you and your child should focus on and make sure to clarify as the class moves on.
  • There’s an interest of your child’s beyond what the course is designed to teach. This could be a place to explore and expand in terms of your child’s academic or personal interests.

Question #2 to ask your child about school: “What do you find interesting about [a specific subject]?”

KWL charts can be a wonderful tool, but sometimes students say they’ve learned nothing at school when asked. One way to better focus your conversation is to ask about what’s interesting about a subject or class instead. When your child talks about the subject, notice the way they speak about it and if they seem to have a strong grasp of the subject. This information can help clue you in on how confident your child feels in the given subject, and whether or not that confidence matches their comprehension of the material.

Question #3 to ask your child about school: “What do you find confusing about [a specific subject]?”

Similarly, asking what’s confusing about a subject can help you learn more about how your child experiences school or a specific class. This may be difficult for your child to even put into words, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor and will often shed light on what’s happening in class. Some follow-up questions can include:

  • “What do you do when you’re confused in class?”
  • “Does your teacher notice or know when you’re confused about something?”
  • “What does the teacher do when you or your classmates are confused?”

This might be a great time to offer some in-class or at-home strategies for your child to use when they get stuck. Consider their personality; when a student is shy or simply nervous to express their confusion in front of the whole class, suggest that your child write a note to the teacher or ask to speak to the teacher while other students are working on an assignment.

Question #4 to ask your child about school: “What are your favorite and least favorite activities?”

Finally, assessing your student’s educational progress can include getting a sense of class activities—including what they enjoy and don’t enjoy, as well as what activities are most or least helpful. This can help you understand the ways in which your child participates in class, works with other students, and how they best learn material.

The answers to any of these questions about school are great for you to help your child make a plan for how to best use homework time, in addition to coming up with strategies and things to do in class that will help them make the most of class time if they’re confused. This information would also be good to bring up in a conference with a teacher or guidance counselor. Remember that your child’s teacher is on the same team as you to help your child succeed, and sharing information can help to best accomplish this.

Any topics you want to know more about? Let us know! The Varsity Tutors Blog editors love hearing your feedback and opinions. Feel free to email us at blog@varsitytutors.com.