Making the Grade
The school year is now in full swing, and the balance of soccer practice, homework, and piano lessons is becoming routine for both you and your children. As report cards begin to roll out, it is a great time to see if your children are on track for the school year and making progress across multiple subjects.
The way that parents respond to grades, whether good or bad, can affect their children’s self-esteem. While some kids are eager to run home to show-off their excellent grades, others, who may be struggling, hope their parents don’t look at the crumbled-up report card buried in their backpack. It’s time to take the fear out of the report card discussion and make it more productive for you and your children.
Pay attention to teacher comments
as they can be more revealing than the actual grade. If any comments seem unclear, follow-up with the teacher and ask for more feedback. A grade doesn’t always reflect a child’s true potential.
Keep an open line of communication with your children’s teachers.
One of the most important aspects of any parent-teacher-child relationship is the establishment of regular communication. This will strengthen the relationship in developing healthy homework habits, which will in turn help your children have a successful school year. Don’t wait for the report card to signal a call to action.
Become familiar with the grading system in your district.
Schools will typically use a different grading system for K-2 than they use for 3-5. Some schools will use a letter grade scale, while others use a numerical score to rank progress. Understanding how to decode these grades will help you better understand your children’s progress.
Review graded tests or papers together with your children.
First, start with the positive and show them what they got right or did well on. Next, review the mistakes and see if there’s something that they keep struggling with. You will be able to see if they are having trouble with the whole subject, certain types of questions (i.e. multiple choice vs. open-ended), or a specific concept like fractions or multiplication. Knowing any struggles or obstacles will allow you to help them study more efficiently.
Promote good study and homework habits.
Schedule a daily homework time and make it part of your family’s routine. This also helps children see that homework is a priority.
Focus on the positive.
As you pick up your child’s report card and see a bad grade glaring back at you, resist the impulse to focus on the negative. First, find an area where your child is doing well, and acknowledge their hard work. Next, begin a healthy discussion with your child on the subject they are struggling with. By approaching the bad grade in a safe manner, your child will likely open up and discuss what they are finding difficult.