Parent Resource Page

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Parents are a child's first teachers. They are also a child's most important teachers. In that spirit, the faculty at Rosa Parks offers the following tips, strategies and suggestions for making the most of time spent away from school.


Family Field Trips

Field trips are a great way to stir a child's imagination and encourage self-expression. Below is a selected list of great family destinations in and around Washington, D.C. (many destinations are probably undervalued by people living in the area). All destinations are educational, historical or cultural in nature. Some charge admission while others are free, and are so noted.

Washington, D.C.African Heritage Dance Center. Located at 4018 Minnesota Avenue, NE. Open for performances on the weekend. Admission charged. Call (202) 399 5252 for information.

Aquatic Gardens. Located at 1900 Anacostia Avenue, SE. Open daily 7:00 A.M. to 4:15 P.M. Free. Call (202) 426 6905 for information.

Bureau of Engraving and Printing. 14th and C Streets, SW. Open weekdays 9:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. Free. Call (202) 622 2000 for information.

Ford's Theater. Located at 511 10th Street, NW. Open daily 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Free for tours. Admission charged for performances. Call (202) 426 6924 for information.

Frederick Douglass House. Located at 1411 W Street, SE. Open daily 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Free. Call (202) 426 5961 for information.

Kennedy Center. Located at 2700 F Street, NW. Open daily 10:00 A.M. to midnight. Admission charged. Call (202) 467 5600 for information.

National Air and Space Museum. Located at 6th Street and Independence Avenue, SW. Open daily 10:00 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. Free. Call (202) for information.

National Archives. Located on the mall. Open daily 10:00 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. Free. Call (202) 501 5000 for information.

National Capital Children's Museum. Located at 800 3rd Street, NE. Open daily 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Admission charged. Call (202) 543 8600 for information.

National Gallery of Art. Located at 4th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW. Open Monday through Saturday 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Free. Call (202) 737 4215 for information.

National Museum of African Art. Located at 950 Independence Avenue, SW. Open daily 10:00 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. Free. Call (202) 357 4600 for information.

National Museum of American History. Located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW. Open daily 10:00 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. Free. Call (202) 357 2700 for information.

National Museum of Health and Medicine. Located on the campus of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 6825 16th Street, NW. Open daily 10:00 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. Free. Call (202) 782 2200 for information.

National Museum of Natural History. Located at 19th and Constitution Avenue, NW. Open daily 10:00 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. Free. Call (202) 357 2700 for information.

National Zoo. Located at 3000 Connecticut Avenue. Open daily 9:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Free. Call (202) 673 4717 for information.

Supreme Court. Located at 1st Street and Maryland Avenue, NE. Open weekdays 9:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Free. Call (202) 479 3000 for information.

U.S. Capitol. Located on the mall. Open daily 9:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Free. Call (202) 225 6827 for information.

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Located at 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW. Open daily 10:30 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. Admission charged. Call (202) 488 0400 for information.

U.S. Naval Observatory. Located at 34th Street and Massachusetts Avenue, NW. Open 8:30 P.M. on Mondays during spring, summer and fall. Free. Call (202) 653 1507 for information.

White House. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Open Tuesdays through Saturdays 10:00 A.M. to noon. Free. Tickets required. Call (202) 456 7041 for information.

MarylandFort McHenry. Located at 2400 East Fort Avenue, Baltimore. Open daily 8:00 A.M. to 4:45 P.M. Free. Call (410) 962 4290 for information.

Fort Washington Park. Located 3.5 miles from Indian Head Highway on Fort Washington Road, Fort Washington. Open 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Free. Call (301) 763 4600 for information.

Goddard Space Flight Center. Visitors Center located at Greenbelt. Open daily 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Free. Call (301) 286 8981 for information.

Great Falls, Maryland. Visitor center located at 11710 MacArthur Boulevard, Potomac. Open Free. Call (301) 299 3613 for information.

Jug Bay Natural Area. Located at 16000 Croom Airport Road, Upper Marlboro. Open 8:00 A.M. to dusk. Free. Permits required. Call (301) 627 6074 for information.

Maryland Science Center. Located at 601 Light Street and Key Highway, Baltimore. Open daily 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Admission charged. Call (410) 685 5225 for information.

Maryland State Capitol. Located at State Circle, Annapolis. Open daily 9:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. Free. Call (410) 974 3400 for information.

National Aquarium in Baltimore. Located at 501 East Pratt Street, Baltimore. Open 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Admission charged. Call (410) 576 3800 for information.

National Colonial Farm. Located at 3400 Bryan Point Road, Accokeek. Open Tuesday through Sunday 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Admission charged. Call (301) 283 2113 for information.

National Wildlife Center. Located at 10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop, Laurel. Open daily 10:00 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. Free. Call (301) 497 5760 for information.

Oxen Hill Farm. Located at 6411 Oxon Hill Road, Oxon Hill. Open daily 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Admission charged. Call (301) 839 1177 for information.

U.S. Naval Academy. Located at King George Street, Annapolis. Open 9:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Free. Call (410) 263 6933 for information.

Watkins Regional Park. Located at 301 Watkins Park Drive, Upper Marlboro. Free. Call (301) 918 8111 for information.

VirginiaMount Vernon. Located 8 miles south of Alexandria on Mount Vernon Memorial Highway. Open daily 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Admission charged. Call (703) 780 2000 for information. 


Homework Tips

Experts agree that the amount and quality of completed homework is one of the leading indicators of school success. The following tips are offered to maximize the benefit your child gets from this experience.

  1. Set a regular time. Have your child do homework at the same time each day. Make homework a habit.
  2. Pick a place. Likewise have your child do homework in the same place each day, preferably at a desk. Reference books and supplies will be readily available, and if the location is fairly secluded, potential distractions minimized. Again, make homework a habit. 
  3. Remove distractions. Control TV viewing. Control the telephone.
  4. Help your child get organized--half the battle is getting started.
  5. Provide supplies and assorted resources and make sure your child knows where they are. He or she should have a dictionary and, if possible, an encyclopedia available.
  6. Show an interest. Be available to help.
  7. Check completed assignments.

In addition, consider computers. Some children do better using a computer than writing things out by hand. Completing homework on a word processor is an option provided your child's teacher approves. Some teachers don't approve, especially in the primary grades. Ask if in doubt.


Parent Conferences

Three days in the school calendar are dedicated to parent conferences; these days correspond to the close of the first three grading periods (in November, January and April). However, you can request a conference at any time. Teachers welcome the chance to speak with parents but keep in mind the best time to conference is outside of school hours. For best results, schedule a conference. Topics you'll want to discuss are:

  • the teacher's grading factors and procedures
  • the teacher's expectations
  • your child's strengths and areas needing work
  • the teacher's discipline policies
  • suggestions for helping your child learn. 


Reading Tips

Experts agree that children should read for a variety of purposes: to be informed (e.g., newspapers, nonfiction books), to perform tasks (e.g., recipes, board game directions), for literary experience (e.g., novels, poems). They should have a grasp of how these purposes differ and what behaviors apply when they are engaged in each. Below are suggestions to help motivate your child to keep reading. Keep in mind he or she will benefit from a "balanced diet" of reading material.

  1. Read to your child. Do it every day up through the early teens. Read from a wide variety of materials. 
  2. Encourage writing. Encourage scribbling and pretend writing with young children. Have various writing materials available: paper, pencils, crayons.
  3. Keep reading material in the house. Books, children's magazines and newspapers can provide both entertainment and information. Make sure some are easy.
  4. Help your child get a library card from the nearest public library. Exchange books weekly.
  5. Encourage conversation. Talk about animals, family problems, the world, everything. Discuss your child's reading.
  6. Control TV. Establish silent periods devoted just to reading. Watch shows about science and major events.
  7. Model reading. Regularly read books, newspapers, magazines and let your child see you read.
  8. Encourage your child to read aloud. Have him or her read to you and other children. Help with mistakes and adjust reading level if necessary.
  9. Engage your child in informal educational activities. Visit zoos, museums and various interesting places. Encourage him or her to verbalize observations. Provide a lot of craft-type materials. Encourage your child to cook, paint, construct things out of blocks, Legos, clay.
  10. Value school and learning. Visit your child's class. Talk to the teacher about reading progress. Praise academic achievement.

How to Help a Child When He/She Gets Stuck on a Word

  1. Pause. Count to five slowly while the child tries.
  2. Prompt. Say: "What would make sense?" "Reread the sentence and get your mouth ready for the first part." "Look at the picture." "Give it a try."
  3. Praise. Say: "That was a good try!" "That makes sense!" "I like that you noticed the first part!" "I like how you reread that part."
  4. Tell. After two helps say, "Could it be_________?"
  5. Check. Say: "Does it make sense?" "Does it sound right?" "Does it look right?"


Writing Tips

Writing is a long term skill which many children have to work hard at. Yet it is as important as anything they will ever be asked to learn. As a parent you are extremely influential in shaping your child's attitude toward writing. What follows are suggestions to encourage practice of this skill. By and large the more a child writes the better he or she will get at it. Don't exclude the possibility of permitting use of a computer as an aid to composition. Many children are fascinated by computers and will spend hours at them. For that matter don't exclude the possibility of teaching your child to touch type.

  1. Encourage your child to write letters to friends and relatives.
  2. Encourage your child to keep a journal or diary.
  3. Encourage your child to create picture books, cartoons, posters.
  4. Don't miss opportunities to encourage your child to write; for example, instead of you making out the family grocery list, have your child do it.
  5. Allow your child to address envelopes when you pay bills.
  6. Keep writing supplies within reach.

Just as children read for a variety of purposes, they should write for a variety of purposes: to inform (e.g., articles, reports); to persuade (e.g., letters, editorials); to express personal ideas (e.g., stories, poems). Consider giving your child opportunities to practice various forms of writing and for various audiences. He or she should be able to articulate which purpose informs the writing.

Your child have nothing to do tonight? Have him or her read a book and then review it.

Book ReportWhat is the title of the book?
Who is the author of the book?
Who are the main characters in the story?
Where does the story take place?
List 5 major events in the story.
What is the main problem in the story? How was it resolved?
Now use the information you listed above to write one or more paragraphs about the story. Remember to tell if you liked the story and why.

Below are 50 writing prompts for use should your child decide to keep a journal or diary.

  1. Today I feel happy about...
  2. Sometimes I laugh about...
  3. It makes me mad when...
  4. Sometimes people worry about me when...
  5. If I were ten feet tall, I...
  6. When I was little, I...When I am older, I...
  7. When I'm in a good mood...
  8. When I'm in a bad mood...
  9. If I were a space traveler, I...
  10. If I were an outer space monster, I...
  11. I think vacations are...
  12. The last time I got in trouble...
  13. Once I dreamed...
  14. The moon is like...
  15. Here are two facts about cats. Here are two opinions about cats.
  16. A sport I would like to be good at is...
  17. A good pet would be...
  18. A good education means...
  19. Tell what to do in a fire drill.
  20. Pretend you can go back in history. Who would you meet?
  21. With my magic glasses I can see...
  22. Six words that rhyme with snow...
  23. Describe a snowstorm...
  24. You own a store. Name it and describe it.
  25. List 10 ways to write without a pencil.
  26. The most important rule of all is...
  27. My favorite TV commercial is...
  28. If I could ask Abraham Lincoln three questions, they would be...
  29. When I grow up, I want to be...
  30. My favorite place to visit is...
  31. Describe how to make a bed.
  32. Describe how to wash a car.
  33. Rain is...
  34. Good nutrition means...
  35. What would you do if a UFO landed in your backyard?
  36. What would you do if you could become invisible?
  37. When someone plays a trick on me, I feel...
  38. A holiday I would change is...
  39. What if it rained 40 days and 40 nights?
  40. Things to do when it snows are...
  41. Write a letter to a famous person from history.
  42. Write a poem that rhymes. It can be about an animal, a friend or a form of transportation (e.g., ship).
  43. Make a list of things you might find in a doctor's office.
  44. Describe your chores at home.
  45. Make a list of objects that are both little and soft.
  46. Write your name and the names of five friends in alphabetical order.
  47. Name as many things as you can that have the shape of a cube.
  48. Tell about a career that interests you.
  49. List as many instruments as you can that a scientist might use.
  50. Learn to say this tongue twister: Bobby Baker bought blue buttons. Try writing a tongue twister of your own.


Test Taking Tips

Tests are important as they help evaluate your child's needs and progress. You can assist your child prepare for testing by doing the following:

  1. Discuss the importance of testing.
  2. Make sure your child gets a good night's sleep before a test, and make sure your child eats properly the day of a test.
  3. Maintain a pleasant home environment and avoid unnecessary conflicts.
  4. Ensure that your child is present during testing (children perform better when taking tests in their groups rather than at a make-up time).
  5. If the test is of the kind subject to review (such as a spelling test), assist your child with practice.
  6. If your child is disappointed after taking a test, reassure him or her that there will be plenty of opportunities to improve and succeed.
  7. Wish your child good luck before he or she leaves for school.

Reminders to give your child on the day of a test:

  1. Relax. Just do the best you can.
  2. Your first choice is usually correct. Don't change an answer unless you have a good reason to do so.
  3. Be aware of key words such as "all," "now," "always," "never," "only," "exactly."
  4. In multiple choice questions the longest answer should be considered, since test writers want to be sure the correct answer is accurate.
  5. When two answers are opposites, one of them is often correct.
  6. Watch for negative words like "not," "no," "never."
  7. Look for information in some of the questions. This information may help you answer other questions.


Your Child's Teacher

You can phone to leave a message for a teacher any time during business hours. However, to speak directly to a teacher, it is best to call between 7:30 A.M. and 7:40 A.M., and between 2:20 P.M. and 3:00 P.M. when he or she is not in class. The number is 301 445 8090.

Last modified: 7/9/2016 9:58:36 AM