A Parent's Guide to Avoiding the Report Card Shock

We know no parent wants to be surprised by their child's report card (we get it!). Our team put together a few tips to make sure report cards aren't a sore subject with your family and help keep your kids on a path to academic success.


How to Avoid Big Surprises

Communicate early and often.

Proactive communication with your child’s teacher is key to understanding how your child is doing and knowing what support to give.

This year, more than ever, it will be important to understand where your child stands early on in the year, even before progress reports or your first parent-teacher conference.

There’s no doubt most students are facing skill gaps due to the disruptions they’ve faced over the last few years. Teachers won’t be able to magically close all gaps for all students in the first few months, so understanding where you can help focus your efforts will help the rest of the year go better.

A few questions to ask include:

  • How do you feel my child is handling the amount of work in the class?
  • Is my child participating in class and asking questions when needed?
  • What can my child do to better prepare for tests?
  • Is there one area you feel my child should focus on that will impact his/her success in the class/school?

If you want an in-depth look into where your child stands right now, the Sylvan Insight™ Assessment will give you a clear picture of your child’s strengths and areas of improvement in math, reading, writing and more.

Stay committed.

You and your child made some education goals together at the beginning of the year. Be supportive if your child needs help reaching those goals, and help keep their motivation up.

Almost every school now has apps or a learning management portal where students and parents can log in to see assignments, grades, progress, etc. It is a great place to be and stay “in the know” of where your child stands.

Encourage your child check this system to help track their own grades and assignments. At first, you can use a “show me” approach to checking in, and then gradually, it can turn into a “tell me” approach when you’ve built some consistency.

Ask questions.

Keep an open line of communication with your child about their school day, assignments, progress toward special deadlines. Is he or she getting assignments done and turned in? Going to class? Taking good notes? Ask to see the notes from today, the first draft of the book report or the progress toward the social studies term paper.

Expect good behavior.

Don't let bad behavior get in the way of success! Discuss any ongoing issues with your child's teachers, and make sure he or she is exhibiting good behaviors. Your child should listen to instructions, understand school rules, respect others and avoid goofing off in class.

Stick to routines.

Keep up the routines for success in school – specific times for study, homework, recreation, meals, church, sports, etc ... They're more important than we realize. And most importantly, sleep. Ensuring kids get enough rest will ensure they are able to focus at school during the day.

Talk about responsibility.

Especially at this time of year, talk with your child about potential rewards for showing he or she has been responsible about schoolwork. Consider rewarding with extra curfew time or a little extra spending money if your child gets good grades or tackles a particularly difficult project.

Hang in there.

Kids can be tempted to let their grades slide. Be sure to help them stay motivated and keep up a positive attitude toward school through the end of the year.

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We'd love to talk with you about how we can help your child reach his or her individual goals!