In the second part of our series, “Report Cards: What Do They Really Mean,” we will discuss how to speak to your child about the marks they received on their report card. Students will be receiving their report cards any day now, and parents must understand what the marks mean and speak to their children about them.
Many parents struggle with how to speak to a child who may have a gap in learning. They often don’t want to make the child feel bad for falling behind, so they tend to shy away from the situation. But this won’t help the child with the problem they may be facing.
If a child brings home a report card that indicates they may be struggling, a parent must address the mark. The best way to approach a child is by finding some quiet time where you can sit down with them one-on-one. You will want to give them your undivided attention, without any distractions, so try and set aside enough time to have a quiet, relaxed discussion.
It is important not to focus on the child’s marks on the report card but to focus on their effort and attitude instead. The teachers’ comments can provide a lot of insight into how the child performs and if they are limited in any way. Focusing on effort over achievement isn’t going to reduce their motivation to work hard. If a child is focused on trying their best and feels that their efforts are seen and valued, they are much more likely to be resilient learners. A child who is a resilient learner is more likely to challenge themselves and are more comfortable making mistakes.
A child needs to understand that everyone is different, and we all struggle and excel in different areas. Try to avoid any comparisons between your child’s report card and a sibling or classmate’s report card. The focus should be on where they achieved well or greatly improved from their last report card. Siblings should be reminded that comparison is pointless because they have been graded on entirely different outcomes.
If a child’s report card indicates an area of challenge, or a gap in learning, speak to them about using it as a way to plan a learning goal. Use their current report card as a baseline and then set an individual learning goal for the next term.
It may be helpful to compare your child’s last report card to the current one to help them see their progress. Identify any areas that the child is still struggling and discuss why they may still be falling behind in that area. Be sure to praise any improvements made and their areas of growth.
After making a comparison of the last report card, it can be helpful to set a plan to focus on the areas that may need attention. Along with your child, decide on steps they can take to progress towards their learning goal. These steps could include asking to meet with their teacher to discuss suggestions of ways to meet challenges. They could also set a weekly goal for a little extra study time or revision with your help.
It may also be helpful to have a conversation with your child’s teacher if they appear to be struggling. A parent-teacher conference can help clarify your child’s academic performance and overall experience at school. In a one-on-one conversation, teachers can give more detailed information about your child and offer suggestions on how they can improve in any areas that may be falling behind. This can be an excellent way for a parent to better understand how their child is performing in the classroom.
At Dropkick Math, we believe that parent engagement is vital for a child’s success. By being actively involved and setting high expectations for your child, you can help guide them towards having high values towards their schoolwork.
If your child is showing a gap in learning in their math skills, Dropkick Math can help. Through our fun and interactive programs, students can focus on the four pillars of math and get caught up to where they should be in their curriculum. Get started today by learning more about our programs.