A Parent’s Guide: Assessing Your Child’s School Experience

430_4125293 Your child only has one opportunity to move through her elementary, middle, and high school years. How can you be sure her school is doing everything it can to offer her the best possible experience?

It is well documented that parents play a vital role in their child’s education. Schools and parents must work together in an active partnership to assure that children get the most out of their educational experience.

But what steps can you take to be sure your child is getting the most out of school?  How do you know if your child’s experiences at school are preparing him for a lifetime of learning and problem solving? How can you be sure that your child’s school experience is preparing him appropriately for college and beyond?

Frankly, how do you know that the school your child attends is the right fit for him?

Below is the first of five key areas to consider as you assess whether your school is doing all it can to help your child be as engaged and successful as possible in his educational experience.


Children are an important source of information about their educational experience. And it is important to hear from them about how things are going.

Make a point to ask them more than “How was school today?” or “What did you do in school today?” Asking children to describe particular aspects of their time in school can lead to more meaningful and thoughtful responses. 

430_4125139These responses can reveal a great deal about how well the school is doing. The goal of these questions is to learn what it feels like for your child to be at school.  That can be different for every child, and it is important to know how your child is feeling.

These questions can help determine whether there is a sense of joy and wonder evident in your child’s educational experience.  Learning should be fun.  For a child to become a lifelong learner, he must enjoy the process of exploration and discovery.  Learning does not have to feel like a chore – it should be something children enjoy talking about.  Something they are excited to share!

Here are some essential questions to ask your child about her experience at school.

  • What do you love most about school?
  • What was challenging at school today?
  • What did you write in school today?
  • What questions did you ask at school today?
  • What homework do you want to do first tonight? Why?
  • What did you create at school today?
  • What made you laugh at school today?


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Bill Diskin

Bill Diskin

Bill Diskin is Director of Admission and Financial Aid at Cannon School in Concord, NC.