Getting and Staying Organized is Key
...says Dr. Cross. She underscores the value of planning and organization, and a parent's role in maintaining them:
- Designate a special workplace and keep it free of distractions like TV, radio, or family traffic
- Use visual aids, like a big monthly wall calendar, to schedule and track homework, tests, and longer-range projects
- Limit computer use during homework time. Younger kids should not turn on the computer at all; ensure that older students who work on computers close their Facebook and AIM applications
- Have all supplies (e.g. calculators, scissors, graph paper, highlighters/crayons, textbooks, index cards, and glue) readily available
- Color code work, papers, and folders so children can file old papers away and know where to find them again
- Use end-of-chapter questions and old notes to practice for exams (and review them regularly)
- Try to involve multiple senses: integrating analytical thinking, writing, drawing, talking, and physical movement helps children absorb material
Explore all avenues for better grades
Getting a tutor or extra help might be the solution when your child hasn't grasped a concept, yet there are other reasons for less-than-perfect grades. Some teachers simply don't give out the highest possible grade in early marking periods, so the child will keep striving. It's helpful to know whether the teacher has a rubric or standards sheet that explains all the criteria for a grade. Sometimes, a poor grade is due to a missed or late assignment, or absence - if so, arrange for students to make up the work. If participation is an issue, coach your child on confidence and public speaking.
When your child comes home with his midyear report card, praise the good, reward the effort, and discuss the deeper meanings and changes. And don't forget to map out a strategy for the second half of the school year.