Learning From the School Year

By Sylvan Learning

Middle School

The school year has ended in many parts of the country, and it’s coming to a close in all the rest, so it makes sense to review what your kids have learned.

It’s easy! Here are some discussion starters to stimulate an informal conversation that will surely result in some pride. Notice that none of these questions can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” (If you ask a question that can be answered in one word, that may be the only answer you’ll get.)


1. What was the best story/novel/biography you read in English class?

Why? What impressed you? What characters meant the most to you?


2. What project are you most proud of?

Really? That one? I remember how you struggled. I guess that’s why you’re pleased – you worked so hard!


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3. What science lab stretched your talent and interest the most?


4. What’s the most helpful thing you learned from the sports team/school play/music concert/extracurricular activity?

All that work really paid off, didn’t it?


5. What are some examples of skills and facts you know now that you didn’t know in September?

Yep, organization/time management/neatness/persistence makes study and homework more efficient. Yes, those math skills sure help when you’re figuring out your allowance budget, don’t they?


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6. What accomplishment are you proudest of?

Tell about it.


7. What did you learn from your biggest mistake?

How will you keep from making the same one again?


8. What new friends did you make?

I’m glad you’re friends with Logan, too. What makes him such a good friend?


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9. What surprised you?

What new discoveries/talents/realizations did you make? It’s pretty cool to know you’re really good at math/soccer/singing/helping others, isn’t it?


10. What teachers stretched you, made you think deeply or led you to new interests?

Mr. Strictness scared you at first, remember?


11. What’s the funniest thing that happened?

That must have been a riot!


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It’s best to have more than one child as part of this conversation. Siblings, classmates and friends will feed off one another and want to impress you with what they’ve learned. That’s good. They’ll get to show off, and you’ll feel proud. Keep the discussion informal, with pizza or some favorite food involved. Listen without too much comment. Follow their lead. Laugh a lot. Make it all about them. Show how impressed you are. Praise lavishly.