We’ve completed 11 weeks in the “new” school year and there is a pretty good likelihood you know whether this one is full of promise or pitfalls. With the first quarter completed and a collection of grades to evaluate, now is the time to be proactive if your child isn’t achieving full academic potential.
If your middle school or high school student needs to improve his or her grades, here are a handful of suggestions to consider.
- Assess the problem area. Is your child struggling across-the-board, or with a specific subject or two? Isolating the challenges is an important first step to meeting them. If your student seems to have issues with math or English every year, greater emphasis on that subject is in order. If need be, consider enlisting a professional tutor who has the experience, expertise and bandwidth to give your child the personalized attention she or he may need.
- Evaluate the study habits. It’s time to take a clinical look at the way your student studies. Some kids need quiet surroundings, consistent study times or specific methods of studying. Others are easily distracted, spend too much time socializing or engaged in extracurricular activities, or have poor time management skills. Try to understand how your child is allocating and applying study time, and which aspects are proving efficient. Make changes where necessary.
- Ask the teacher. You or your student should get your teacher’s candid assessment of the situation. Your educator will know where your student is falling short and probably have some good ideas of what needs to focused on, in order to improve performance. Some students have problems with formal testing. Others don’t take good notes or pay close attention in class. Your teacher is committed to your child’s success and will probably be able to suggest some specific paths to improvement.
- Provide structure & supervision. It’s not enough to understand the issues; it’s important for parent and student to develop a specific plan to overcome them. In many circumstances, you as the parent will need to insert yourself more fully, if you collectively want to see improved results. This may include daily questions about new subject matter, quizzing your child on evenings before tests, or brainstorming and reviewing written assignments. Sometimes teenagers need that extra supervision and structure to succeed – despite their protests.
- Be encouraging & engaging. Finally, in addition to inserting yourself as an engaged participant in your student’s efforts to improve grades, try to do so with a positive approach. It can be easy to get discouraged when efforts aren’t delivering the desired results. Together, set achievable goals, break challenges into small pieces, push through to overcome procrastination, and help your student understand that improved grades are definitely an attainable goal.