5 must-ask questions for your teachers and kids this school year

A Common Core checklist for parents

Common Core Help for Parents

For many parents, questions remain unanswered about the impact of the Common Core State Standards in their child’s classroom. Even worse, lack of information or misinformation has led parents to challenge aspects of their child’s learning that don’t have anything to do with classroom standards. 


One of the best ways for parents to keep informed about what’s new in their child’s classroom is simply knowing the right questions to ask. 

Achieve, a leading voice for the mission to helps students graduate college-and career ready, has been involved in the standards movement way before there even was a Common Core. 

Based on conversations with hundreds of parents and teachers from states across the country, Achieve has developed the following checklist of questions that every parent should be asking his/her child’s teacher and his/her child regarding Common Core.


Five Questions Every Parent Should Be Asking Their Child’s Teacher throughout the School Year:


  • What are the most important skills my child should master this month/semester/year?

  • Will homework be different this year? If so, how? What will you do differently in math and English language arts instruction this year?

  • What will my child be reading this year?  How will her writing assignments look different?

  • What sources could we turn to for additional fiction and non-fiction texts to read at home?

  • What resources are available to assist parents if my child requires additional help at home or wants to learn more about a particular topic?


Five Questions Every Parent Should Be Asking Their Child throughout the School Year


  • What did you read today?  What was a particular piece of the text that interested you or surprised you?  Tell me about it.  Connect with your own anecdote regarding the topic.

  • What new words did you learn this week?  What do they mean? Can you spell them for me?

  • Let me see what your teacher(s) is (are) asking you to write this week.  What do you think the purpose of the assignment(s) is (are)?  Follow up on whether your child is completing the assignments.

  • Can I see your math homework?  Can you do it on your own? Do you need help?  You may not have the answer, so it’s okay to ask your child’s teacher for help or do your own research.

  • Later in the school year, real world application of math knowledge: What do you know in math now that you didn’t when school started?  Give me an example of how that is used in your everyday life.  How did you figure that out and why is it important to know that?