Elementary Education: Information for Parents

Do you have a child in elementary school? If so, keep reading for more information about elementary education and how you can help your child get the most out of it.

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An Overview of Elementary School

Elementary education creates a foundation for lifelong learning. The skills and concepts introduced in elementary school may become particularly important in your child's daily life as well as for his or her future education and career. The following are a few pointers to help you help your child.

How Does Elementary School Prepare My Child for the Future?

Elementary education introduces a child to a wide array of subjects, such as mathematics, English/language arts, social studies and science. Many new concepts may be difficult for a child to learn. However, there are many things you and your child can do to ease potential frustration. The earlier you provide your daughter or son with good habits, the less frustration you'll both have later.

Although elementary school curriculums vary a bit from school to school and state to state, reading, writing and math are almost always of the utmost importance. By the end of elementary school, your child should be able to read and interpret different kinds of texts, such as poetry, books, short stories and plays. Your son or daughter will also be required to have a firm understanding of all basic math skills so that he or she can begin pre-algebra in the 6th or 7th grade.

Elementary school is not only about setting an educational backdrop to build on later. It's also about socialization and identifying your child's strengths and weaknesses early on.

What Can I Do at Home to Help My Child?

It can be important to create a positive, supportive and learning-friendly environment at home. Maintain a consistent schedule so that your child gets accustomed to learning at the same time every day. If it's possible, provide your child with her or his own space for schoolwork and keep it free of distractions.

Stay in close contact with your child's teachers and any other learning professionals who may be working with your child. Monitor your child's tests, quizzes and school assignments regularly to ensure that he or she's progressing in school. Sit down with your child and provide any help that you can.

What Kind of Testing Is There in Elementary School?

The exams your child will take depends on the type of school he or she is enrolled in. The testing will probably be very different if your child attends a public school than if he or she attends a private, art-focused school. However, there's a fair chance that your child will be required to take placement exams every year and a strong chance that he or she will take standardized tests. The content of these standardized tests will typically be based upon the learning standards of your state. You can usually expect there to be sections for reading, writing, mathematics and sometimes social studies and science.

What Resources Are Available to Help My Child?

Educational games and activities on the Internet can help your child to practice her or his lessons in a fun and interactive way. Language arts websites have games that focus on grammar and sentence structure and others that test a child's reading comprehension. Many sites will help your child with math, science and social studies and some offer volunteer tutoring and homework help.

If your child is struggling in elementary school, don't hesitate to ask your child's teachers for help. After school, weekend and summer programs at your child's school or a local learning center may prove to be helpful. It may be necessary to hire a private, one-on-one tutor. Alternatively, many tutoring services online offer help via instant messaging, e-mail and Web cam.

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