Getting Good Grades

For many kids and parents this time of the year brings a joy that holidays are coming, and that means a break from school.  With only about a month or so of school left, it is a good time to remind kids to make the final push for good grades before the end of the semester.  Just having a parent calmly sitting with their child and going over assignments can really help kids to 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 do a remote check on whether assignments are getting turned in, homework, tests and projects.  By staying current along with your child in each class, the parent can check on a regular basis.  I recommend checking a couple of times a week, or more if the child needs the 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.  I’ve even had parents calling me in January asking if grades have come out for the previous semester.

In general, schools are very good about putting out the report card dates along with the 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 would 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 looking at grades and attendance electronically.

Take the time to know about what projects are due in their various classes, 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 important to the parent, it will raise in importance to them as well.  Accountability from everyone will help kids to 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, the material is likely going to 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 the 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.

Yours for Better Parenting,

Rich