About every nine weeks during the school year, middle schoolers come home with their report cards. Report card time is a time for parents to access their child's progress in school, and intervene if there's a problem. Below are a few tips on how to handle report card time, and boost your child's chances of academic success.
Report Cards and Your Middle Schooler
Be Prepared: Report cards come home every other month or so, but really, you should already know how your child is doing in school. In other words, the report card should really just verify what you already know. Many school districts allow parents to view a child's progress online with just a click of the mouse. And school interims will also help you stay on top of your child's classroom grades and progress. In addition, reviewing your child's homework, quizzes and tests should give you all the information you need to know about whether or not he's keeping up in class.
Consider Teacher Comments: Many teachers use report card time in order to keep in touch with parents. Teachers may comment on your child's behavior, leadership abilities, or even if your child has trouble staying awake or paying attention in class. This information can be very helpful to you and help you make adjustments at home. If your child can't stay awake in class, it might be time to enforce an earlier bedtime. If your child's behavior is out of line, you might need to restrict certain activities until he shapes up. If your tween is developing strong leadership abilities, you might consider encouraging him to run for class president. Also, if the teacher suggests a parent/teacher conference, you need to make time for the get together.
Discuss with Your Tween: A report card isn't just useful to a parent. Children should have the chance to review their status reports, and go over them with a parent. Take the time to discuss what's on the report card, and the teachers' comments or remarks.
Congratulate a Job Well Done: Report cards don't always bring bad news. If your child's hardwork has paid off, be sure to congratulate him and let him know that you're impressed by his work ethic. Find a small way to celebrate a good report card, even if it's something as little as going out to a movie or a favorite fast food restaurant.
Consider Strategies: If your child's report card is less than stellar, it's time to consider strategies to bring his grades up. Have a frank discussion with your tween about his problems. Find out if he's facing academic challenges or social challenges, like bullying. Then make an appointment to meet with his teachers. Review your child's schedule, to make sure he's not overscheduled and doesn't have time for homework or to keep up with his class material. Find out if your child has fallen in with a bad group of friends, or if he's engaging in dangerous behavior, such as smoking, drinking or drug use.
Don't Overreact: It's hard not to overreact if you're facing report card shock. But it's important to keep your cool and not overract. It's never alright to hit your child or berate him for failing to keep up. Your child may need a dose of discipline but violence and verbal abuse won't help him bring up his grades. If necessary, contact the school guidance counselor or another professional to help you develop a strategy for your child.