Nov 212013

4 Tips for Helping Your Child Make the Grade

Children sometimes bring home report cards that horrify parents. In a perfect world, “mom radar” should pick up the danger signals in advance. This is not a perfect world.

Do we throw up our hands? Or should we – as parents — look inward?

Helping children get better marks means we moms are always on the case, and anticipate issues long before the grading period ends.

Researchers at the 11th International Roundtable on School, Family and Community Partnerships suggested higher outcomes in reading and writing result from students with parental and school support.

Are you doing your part? Here are  four eclectic questions parents can ask themselves. Answers may shed greater light on an obvious concern, or reveal an unknown issue.

Have I consulted the expert?

This is a trick question; the authority on your child is not your child’s teacher. The expert is your child.

With all the pressures on moms, we sometimes miss the obvious.

Jack was a fine student, but suddenly his mathematics tanked into negative numbers. What happened?

After a poor report card, his mother asked him.

“I can’t see the screen, Mommy.”

Jack needed glasses.

Ask your child the obvious questions you think you know. Does she hand in daily assignments? What is difficult for her?

What’s the big mystery at school?

Going to Parent’s Night isn’t enough. If you can, volunteer in the classroom. But if your day  is too tight, schedule extra time with the teacher, talk with a counselor or in the case of a reading problem, consult the media specialist.

Do we have a plan, Stan?

At a certain point – different for every child – students need more personal discipline, a plan. Help her choose a goal, establish a routine and find a work area free from distractions.

Punishments and rewards can be powerful motivators; consider withholding the Wii or a treasured toy until homework is completed. Praise her for progress.

When do we seek outside help?

Many students need help apart from formal school. The high tech world provides a range of excellent online tutors in every community.

What is the bottom line?

As moms, we want our children to do their best. A student failing science may never make an A. But, if we strengthen a child’s resolve for improvement, that’s the greatest gift we can provide.

Resources in Education  April 2003
“The Impact of School Family Partnership on Parents’ Attitudes and Children Reading and Writing in First Grade
Authors: Rachel Hertz-Lazarowitz and Haya Horovitz

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