How do You Handle Disappointing Grades From Your Children?
See it as a sign? Help them with their homework?
Each week in Moms Talk, our Moms Council takes your questions, gives advice and shares solutions.
Our conversation starts today with a question that most parents with children in school must consider:
"How do you deal with your child when they bring home grades lower than you expected on his or her report card?"
When it comes to grades in our household, and both our children are in elementary school still, we focus more on the effort grade. We are trying to instill in our children that hard work and effort will pay off and that, if you make a true good effort, that is all that we can ask for. This has seemed to work so far and we have been lucky in that the academics have been as we would expect, and their effort grades reflect that, too.
We do, however, continuously monitor the test grades that come home and communicate often with their teachers. This is because we would rather stay on top of any learning issues as they arise and get the extra help if needed than be surprised on report card day.
As my daughter got into 4th and 5th grade, independence seemed to be the trend. She comes home and always does her homework. I rarely check it, at her request, but have told her that, if we see the grade slipping, then I will start to check it daily. This has worked well, too, which is great as she is accountable for the work required on her own, which is a great lesson to learn at a young age.
Academics are not the only focus point for us on the report cards in elementary school. As these are the ages where so much social development is happening, we also look at those areas on the report card, too. When my son was in Kindergarten and First grade he was struggling with making good choices and figuring out what was acceptable and what wasn't. This often times resulted in reports home from the school that he was not following one rule or another. In these cases, we worked with the teacher on daily check-ins and used positive reinforcement and goal setting to overcome this.
I can say now that he is in the second grade, he has matured and has learned to make good choices—and is proud of himself for doing so. It makes for a much more fun day at school.
My wish for my children is that they are happy, healthy and well adjusted.
That said, in regards to report cards, at the moment my children’s grades haven’t been an issue. If my children’s grades lower at some point, then as a parent, my first reaction is “are they having a problem with the school work or are they having a personal problem?”
There are so many influences which effect children and how they learn. To me, slipping grades are potentially a red flag and shouldn’t be overlooked. There does come a point when school becomes more challenging for some students and the “A” grades may lower to a “B” or even to a “C”.
As long as they’re trying and working to the best of their ability, then I’m pleased.
Being a parent is truly the hardest job in the entire world. I have to say, I never thought I would have to deal with half the issues I deal with, with my children. But, alas, there is no parent handbook and no cookie-cutter child.
My children are overall great kids (spoken like a true mom), however, both have their struggles in school. Math is on the top of both of their lists for needing extra help. I was never great in math either; science was my thing. I know usually they go hand and hand, but not for me.
I have gotten my children tutors to help, but, my gosh, they get very pricy and I needed to stop that. I sit and do homework with both of them every single day, always have. I do the best I can with helping them understand their work, but most of the time the way I "teach" them is totally off from how they learn in school, and I either confuse them more or they just say that is not how we learned and tune me out.
It is so frustrating as a parent to have kids who need more help. I remember staying after school with many teachers through my entire school career no matter what age, and getting free extra help and one on one help, or small group help.
This year there is before school help for my 5th grader, but it is so early and so short (I do take her to reap these benefits) that it is tough—especially when you need to sit in the car with your younger child until they can go into the school because it’s to early for them to go in. There is so much red tape for teachers these days to offer extra time and help; it is a shame.
I try very hard not to lose my patience with my children when they come home with a bad test grade. I go over what they got wrong and try to help the best way I can. I stay in close contact with the teachers to see how they are doing and what it is I can do from home to help out.
So many different issues come up when your child hits school. Social, academic, paying attention— it’s a full time job. I don't go through anything any other parent doesn’t go through, but, boy, some days it feels that way.
Parenting is not for the weak. This is one hurdle of many in parenthood. Some don't need to deal with school troubles. Some children just do well and get great grades, and to those parents, kudos to you.