I think as you move into the lighting portion of class you’ll gain a better understanding. In looking at the Lee family gallery on your flickr, almost every image could’ve benefitted from some fill flash. When you shoot with the sun to the back or side, you’ll almost always need flash or a reflector at minimum if you want a well exposed background. Speaking of backgrounds, some of your backgrounds do not lend to the image. One of your shots was done at f/11 when you could’ve done f/5.6, making the background more blurry and less distracting. Even with a family of 4 or 5, you can get away with f/5.6 if you know your depth of field.
I took a peek at the exif data on a few images. The D500 has a native ISO of 200. Anytime you deviate from the native stops of ISO, you risk losing the dynamic range. Also, try playing around with your metering modes. Everyone was center weighted, which is a good starting point, but you have a few that could’ve benefitted from spot meter.
Lastly, and this is something I stress a lot on here, is know how to sharpen and process for web viewing. A few of your images are soft when flickr resizes them for viewing. It isn’t until you view them in the original size that they are sharp. The problem is your work should be viewer ready right from the start. In the Lee album, the second image of the toddler alone should be pulled. It’s soft regardless of what size you view it in. Only show your best.