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Your teen will hear, “These grades count”

Starting in grade 9, grades are part of your teen’s permanent academic record. Your teen’s grades will be judged for college/university admission. Yes, other aspects of school are important–curiosity, motivation, focus, extracurriculars, social development. But grades are an especially important snapshot of progress, and they’re useful as a guide.

As a parent, it’s important to help your teen find balance between panicking from stress and beginning to accept individual responsibility for academic performance.

One great way to stay in “the know” with your child’s grades, is to utilize the apps that schools provide for parents to view grades and assignments. Many of these apps allow you to set up alerts for when new grades come in or new assignments are posted. This is a way that you can quickly and easily monitor your child’s progress without having to get too heavily involved unless you see a red flag—such as a low test score or assignments not being handed in.

How to Do a Report Card Review With Your Teen

1. If there was a grade that was lower than expected, make a plan for how to improve it.

What brought down the overall grade? Were there concepts that just stumped them? Was it quizzes, tests, homework, class participation? Ask your teen to identify the area that needed the most improvement and to lay out 2-3 ways to turn that around. Does the teacher allow for extra credit or an option to retake a test?

2. Empower your teen to advocate for themselves.

If your teen can’t answer why a grade was lower than expected, let your teen know that they need to schedule one-on-one time with their teacher to understand why. (If your teen isn’t able to get an appointment with the teacher, that’s when you need to get involved.)

3. Set expectations.

Prep your teen for what’s coming: “High school/secondary school is going to get more and more challenging. Let’s talk about what to expect for the rest of the year and how you’re going to handle it.”

4. Focus on whether your teen is mastering fundamentals.

You may want to pay attention to how much time your teen is spending on particular assignments and subjects. If your teen is taking more time than you think it should, it’s likely they don’t have the fundamentals down, or may be experiencing COVID learning loss.

5. Let the teacher know if your teen is struggling every night over assignments.

Contact the teacher and let them know, “My teen didn’t understand x, y, z. What are our options?” Don’t do the homework for your teen. The teacher will never know there’s an issue, and you’ll unintentionally create bigger struggles for your child down the line.

Ready to Make the Next Report Card Even Better?

Set your teen up for a high-five worthy report card with these simple tips!

Report Card Tip 1: Organization and Time Management

Show your child how to organize binders, set up assignment calendars and use an academic planner. Kids need to learn organization and time-management skills. Most kids aren’t naturally organized, and schools typically don’t teach these skills.

(Need a little help? For 5 easy-to-use time management and organization tools, download our FREE “Eliminate the Sunday Night Homework Panic” guide.)

Report Card Tip 2: Study Space

Ensure there’s a dedicated place for online instruction and studying. Have your teen find a quiet, uncluttered space in your home where it’s more comfortable to do homework and it’s a good environment for focusing.

Tip: Have your teen put their phone on silent mode so they can focus on the task at hand. If there’s a true need for your teen to check the phone, set up a time to work, and a break to check the phone.

Report Card Tip 3: Your Teen’s Success Team

Participate in parent/teacher conferences. Ask: “Do you see any red flags or areas where my teen is struggling?” Gather as much info as you can and discuss your options. And, remember you don’t have to wait for conferences. Email the teacher directly for quick responses to any concerns or questions you may have.

Report Card Tip 4: Raise Your Hand

Ask for help EARLY if you see signs of frustration or struggle. It’s much easier to stay on pace with class than to chase to catch up.

Remember, skills in high school/secondary school build upon each other. If you can’t help with homework, recommend your teen call a friend from class or schedule time with the teacher. Of course, Sylvan is here to help support, from homework help, to more intensive help in advanced subjects.)

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