How to Get Your Children to Talk About School

If you are like me, you want to know a lot about your child’s day at school…the more detail, the better. My poor children…their mom is a trained guide, who gets really excited about the lessons. It’s hard to remember, to them, it’s routine, nothing special, just the way things are.

This is a typical conversation in our house:

Me: How was school today?

Any one of the three children: Fine.

Me: What’d you do?

AOOTTC: Nothing.

Really? REALLY? Nothing?! NO THING? Not one? This response drives me crazy. I know, I know, I asked the worst question. Frankly, though, I’ve tried those lists from the internet and they may help me get info about the children’s relationships, but they don’t give me information about what they are learning and how they feel about that. I needed to hack the system.

Spoiler Alert: It’s Transparent Classroom’s photos feature.

So, Nora and I sat down and looked at this photo:

Screen Shot 2019-09-30 at 9.22.45 AM.png

Notice that Kathryn has given me a ton of information because this was a transformative moment for Nora. I want Nora’s perspective. So I ask, “Hey, Nora. What’s this?” She says, “My compound words poster.” Me, ignorantly, “What’s ‘compound word’ mean?” Her, “It’s two words smushed together, like /k/…well, like tooth fairy…toothfairy.” OK, so she gets the gist of it. She doesn’t recognize that tooth fairy is two separate words, but that’s not the point. I get to know that she is still working through the concept of sound vs. word that Kathryn noted. I also know that she can define compound words. So, later we can play games—usually in the car—trying to think of compound words together.

Here’s the important thing: I’m not going to ask her to do more work with compound words. If she declines playing the compound word game in the car, I’m going to respect that. Our excitement about things can often kill the excitement the children have. So, stay curious, but give them time at home to decompress from school and do other things.

—Jen Stoll, Owner and Director

Clay-Platte Montessori