Getting Good Grades

For many kids and parents, this time of the year brings a joy that holidays are coming, which means a break from school.  With only about a month or so of school left, it is an excellent time to remind kids to make the final push for good grades before the end of the semester.  Having a parent sitting calmly with their child and going over assignments can help kids stay involved with their education right up to the end of the semester.  Many kids start to lose their momentum as the semester drags on.

With the availability of electronic grade books, parents can remotely check whether assignments are getting turned in, homework, tests, and projects.  By staying current with your child in each class, the parent can check regularly.  I recommend checking a couple of times a week or more if the child needs extra attention.  So often, as a school administrator, a child would bring home low grades, and the first that a parent would learn of it was at the end of the semester or later.  In January, I’ve even had parents calling me, asking if grades have come out for the previous semester.

In general, schools are excellent about putting out the report card dates and mid-term dates.  Put those dates on your calendar for sure, but certainly, check much more frequently than that.  I would have parents tell me to contact them when their child’s grades drop.  I was happy to do so, and I kept a list of the kids I wanted to watch for grades and attendance.  A parent can also do that with a minimum of effort by electronically looking at grades and attendance.

Take the time to know what projects are due in their various classes and check on the homework grades.  If they are low or missing, sit with your child and talk about what is happening with them.  When kids know that education is essential to the parent, it will rise in importance to them.  Accountability from everyone will help kids put in the extra effort needed to master an assignment, but there is nothing like that motivation coming from a parent.

As we move to the end of the first semester, take time to find out about those missing assignments.  Can they still be turned in for credit?  I always told kids that the material would likely be on a test, so by turning in the assignment, even for no credit, you’re still learning the material and demonstrating some responsibility to the teacher.  If a final grade ends up falling between two grades, you may be more likely to get a higher grade by turning in missing assignments regardless of credit.

My take on all of this is to help kids be responsible by following their work, checking on performance, monitoring the preparation periods between tests against their efforts, and then talking with them about making a better personal effort. If kids know that a parent is checking on them regularly, they are more likely to make that extra effort themselves.

As part of my What Kids Need series, I write about Achievement Motivation here, which links nicely with this post, What Kids Need: Achievement Motivation – Dr. Rich Patterson (

Very Well Family has some thoughts worth reading here, Benefits of Getting Good Grades in High School (


Yours for Better Parenting,