Helping Your Children Make the Grade
It’s crunch time. The end of the school year is near, and the time to make changes to impact your children’s end-of-the-term grades is now. As the next set of grades rolls in, how parents respond to their children’s grades is just as important as the children’s response. Open communication about grades and a well-thought-out strategy on next steps can have a tremendous effect on the children’s self-esteem and potential performance.
The first step toward helping children meet their full potential is opening their minds to their own possibilities. Make this time an opportunity to talk with your children about goals and discuss how you can work together to excel.
Here are tips to help interpret your children’s report cards and make the conversation about grades more productive:
• Read the teacher’s comments. Often the comments can be more enlightening than the grades themselves. If the grade isn’t good, there could be many contributing factors. If after reading the comments things are still unclear, give the teacher a call for clarification.
• Low grades? Don’t panic. Before having a knee-jerk reaction to a low mark, compare your children’s grades to the class average. If the mark still seems low, seek help. Ask the school for remedial assistance, spend more time working together at home or enroll in a supplemental education program like Kumon Math and Reading Centers to maximize success. If your children are already enrolled in Kumon, work with your instructor to create progress plans together.
• Focus on the long-term. Rather than focusing solely on the grade received, help your children make long-terms goals. Children have a lifetime of learning ahead of them. When they develop confidence, a genuine interest in learning and basic math and reading skills, children begin to build the fundamentals to succeed in high school and college. Don’t dwell on the grade itself. If your children have the desire to want more and do more because they believe that they can achieve it, they will be more apt to try more on their own.
• Set a game plan and follow it. Outline a road map for your children’s success and stick to it. A parent’s responsibility doesn’t stop when the plan is developed. Set regular check-ins with your children and their teacher or Kumon Instructor to monitor progress. Be patient and supportive. Let the children know that their progress is one of your priorities.
• Practice makes perfect. If test-taking is a nerve-wracking experience, make regular practice part of your at-home game plan. Test-taking obstacles can be overcome with repetition and guidance. These elements are fundamental pieces of the Kumon Method, but they also work outside of the Center.
Regardless of your children’s needs, open and ongoing communication will help them reach their full potential. Use this opportunity to motivate your children to keep persevering. Learning is for life, and as a parent, you’re your children’s primary teacher.