The K5 Learning Blog follows educational issues and urges parents to be pro-active in helping their children reach their full academic potential.


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Discussing Your Child’s Report Card

report cardAs the first school semester draws to an end, our kids will be coming home with their report cards.  According to a study conducted by Sylvan Learning, 66% of North American teachers say they have been contacted by parents who were “unpleasantly surprised” by their child’s report card.

So there you are, your child hands you his or her report card with either a big beaming smile or a lop-sided unsure smile on their face.  Often there are grades that you did not expect, and most often it’ll be the ones that are lower than you expected that you’ll want to learn more about.

So what do you do?  You’ll need to go to the sources and those are your child and your teacher.

Start with Your Child

Find some private time where you can sit down and talk through the grades with your child uninterrupted.  Allow enough time for a relaxed discussion.

Learn More About Each Subject

Take the time to learn what activities your child completed in each subject area.  Ask them what they found enjoyable and what they found more challenging.  Talk about what they have learned.  Ask them if they were happy with the grade given for each subject and if they think it’s a fair reflection on how they did in class and for tests.

Review the Comments

Then take some time to yourself to read through the comments provided by the teacher.  Make note of any concerns and recommendations provided by the teacher. 

Set Your Goals

Take some time to think through what goals your child should set for their next report card.  Discuss these goals with your child and think through tactics that may help them achieve these goals.

Meet the Teacher

Teachers welcome the opportunity to meet with parents, so don’t hesitate to set up an appointment to discuss the report card, the goals you have in mind, present your suggested tactics and to listen to recommendations, and any changes that need to be made, from your teacher.  Parents and teachers that work together often find that they can help their kids’ achieve their goals easier, as it’s coming from both fronts: at school and at home.

Set Your Plan in Motion

Put together a plan of achievable tactics that will help your child make progress.  Remember, that this is a plan that needs constant attention.  Discuss it with your child, taking both the comments from your teacher and your child on board.  Use this plan on a weekly basis to check that you are following the points you have discussed and are working towards improving.

Check in

Keep talking with your child about their school work and keep in contact with their teacher to find out how they are progressing.  Listen to the recommendations from the teacher and make adjustments where needed.

“Little and often” helps.  Children don’t learn from “cramming” for two hours before a test.  Make sure their learning is constant and learned in easily achievable bite-size chunks.  Be consequent about finishing homework on time, studying for tests a little bit every day, rather than the night before, and talk to your child about how important school and learning is to you and them.

Praise and Reward

Don’t forget to praise your child for work they’ve done very well in and the effort they put into their work.  We all like to be rewarded, so consider giving your child a reward for achieving their goals.