Ready or not, school is back in session. For most families that means homework and projects will fill your evenings for the next 10 months. You’ll be tackling reading and math and your child’s past. Yep, your child’s past.

Projects like the family tree or bring a baby picture day sound easy enough, unless your child doesn’t know or doesn’t want to remember his or her biological parents. Then these projects become reminders of the time before they came to their forever family, even if they do not have solid memories of that time. They also highlight how different adopted children are from their classmates and may actually become barriers to learning for adopted children and many others with nontraditional families.

The teachers we know want to make all their students feel included, so we’ve created a few tips to help them help you and your child with those awkward moments and projects.

– Tell the teacher about your child. You don’t have to give specifics, but let the teacher know, so he or she can better teach your child.

– Discuss positive adoption language with the teacher. Not everyone knows that using the term “real mother” is very hurtful and offensive not only to you, but to your child. Give the teacher a list to use in class.

– Offer to visit the class. Teachers might have trouble explaining to all of the students the concept of adoption. Who better to explain it than an adoptive parent? November is a great month to schedule a visit because it is National Adoption Month. The teacher can create a special lesson around your visit.

– Suggest alternative projects. Help them discover different options, like Roots and Branches instead of a family tree. Also, you can give them our teacher blog with more suggestions.

– Prepare your children. This is possibly the most important thing to do. From other students asking insensitive questions to teachers assigning seemingly innocent projects, prepare your children for the experiences that might happen.

We know school is a challenge for any parent and child, but we hope these tips will help you make this school year spectacular. For more tips on how teachers can help their adopted students, check out our blog.