Now that we are in the routine of the new school year, it would be helpful to evaluate some important aspects of your child’s school performance. It’s not too late to make some improvements that will make a big difference for the rest of the year. Answering these questions will help you evaluate your child’s performance and develop a plan to succeed this school year.
- Do you know how to communicate with your child’s teacher? While we may be afforded many tools for communicating, we all have our preferred way of staying in touch. Some teachers check email multiple times in the day, some prefer phone calls after school, and some still find the old fashioned method of writing a note to be the most effective means.
- Do you recognize the teacher’s primary means of making class announcements? When teachers need parents to know specific details about important events, they usually put them in letters (print or email). Blog posts, phone texts, and other forms of communication are merely reminders. Be sure your student gives you all letters sent home by the teachers.
- Do you know the primary way your teacher reports student grades? Elementary classes send home a test-quiz folder; secondary grades give students progress reports; and our teachers upload grades weekly on Gradelink.com for all students and parents to view. Monitoring weekly grades should be a team effort by teachers, parents and students.
- Do you have an effective plan for completing homework? Is your child too often working on homework at a late, unproductive time of night? Is homework being completed so quickly and thoughtlessly that it has no chance of improving mastery? Perhaps a more consistent homework plan needs to be created. For homework completion to be successful, you must consider when to work on it, where the student will work on it, and how they will be accountable.
- Do you have an effective study plan? You may want to refer to a previous article on “The Value of Study Partners.” Many parents make the mistake of thinking that children should be able to study alone, and many students make the mistake of thinking that they should be able to study alone. Studying alone usually takes longer and reaps worse results than having a study partner. If you would like your child to see an improvement in grades, consider revising the study plan.
- Do you have a plan to help your student concentrate? No creative plan is needed here, just some time to unwind and a reasonable schedule. Yes, school should be taken seriously, and school performance is more important than pleasure. However, every kid has a limit. Kids need sleep and physical exercise to function mentally. Be careful to not overschedule their day with organized activities and cheat them out of a reasonable bedtime. A little free time each day to get some exercise benefits children more than many realize.
- Do you have a plan to help your child unwind? When children get stressed, it can materialize in undesirable moods as well as aches and pains. Stress is not all bad; it helps us perform optimally. But children need a means to unwind from the academic rigor and social challenges they encounter at school. The best relief is a happy, healthy home. No matter what may happen at school, children need to count on parents to talk to and a positive environment to come home to. Possessing an inward love for our children is not enough; let’s be sure to express it by making home a place of unconditional love.