Houses of worship

6 Ways to Work With Your Child’s Teacher at Your House of Worship

By Erica Patino

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Kids with learning and attention issues are likely to face the same challenges in religion classes as they do in their regular classes at school. Use these tips to make your child’s experience a positive one.

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Students setting up a menorah with candles
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Give the teacher a heads-up.

Most religious education teachers are volunteers who do not have formal training as teachers. They might not have any experience with kids who have learning and attention issues. To prevent your child from being constantly reprimanded or frustrated because he can’t keep up, explain early on what your child’s issues are and how they affect his behavior. The sooner the teacher understands your child, the more likely she can adapt her teaching to meet his needs.

Close up of a teacher working with a student on writing
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Give concrete suggestions to the teacher.

Share strategies that can help your child succeed. For example, if your child struggles with reading but is a great singer, you may ask the teacher not to call on him to read aloud, but instead give him a bigger role in projects that involve music. If using scissors is a challenge, consider asking the teacher to pre-cut items for craft projects. Some suggestions such as using pictures or reviewing key vocabulary words before the lesson begins can help everyone follow along.

Close up of a teen choir
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Find out what will be covered.

Ask if you can have a copy of the curriculum—ideally one that shows a timeline for any work that needs to be done outside of class. This way, if your child has a project due in two months, you can help him get started in plenty of time to finish. You might ask for an extra set of the class materials so you can review the lessons at home.

Teacher overseeing a students reading in class
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Talk about how your child will demonstrate knowledge.

At some point, your child will have to show what he has learned. He may be given a test or asked to recite scripture. If you anticipate that your child won’t be successful, ask if the teacher can modify the format. For example, if there’s a test, perhaps the teacher can give him more time to complete it. Or maybe she can let him say his answers instead of writing them down or come up with a different project that is better suited to his learning strengths and needs.

Pastor and young assistant greeting church-goers at the door
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Find a job your child can help with.

Suggest that the teacher let your child help with the class. For example, he could gather art materials from the supply closet. If he’s older, maybe he could make copies of worksheets for that day’s class. Depending on the lesson, there may be other ways your child can lend a hand. If your child feels important, he may be more engaged in class and may feel more empowered to ask the teacher for help when he needs it.

Teacher and young students working on an art project
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Check in with the teacher regularly.

Whether by email or in person, ask your child’s teacher how the class is going. She can tell you of any challenges she’s having with your child, so you can offer suggestions. And she can tell you what your child is mastering and which things are going well!

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About the Author

Portrait of Erica Patino

Erica Patino is an online writer and editor who specializes in health and wellness content.

Reviewed by

Portrait of Sheldon Horowitz

Sheldon H. Horowitz, Ed.D., is senior director of learning resources and research at the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

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