Your child has gotten back into the swing of the school routine, and now it's time for an academic check-up. "Think of the first report card as a great opportunity to communicate with your child about school," says Eileen Huntington, co-founder of Huntington Learning Center. "It is the first true academic checkup of the year, and a good time to talk about how things are going."
Huntington offers parents the following tips when assessing their child's first semester report card:
Jot down questions to ask the teacher. Go through the report card carefully and identify areas you'd like to discuss with the teacher. What concerns you most about your child's report card? What grades or comments surprise you? What does the teacher think you should work on at home? Be sure to ask the teacher about your child's attitude and behavior, too.
Take note of irregularities and patterns. If something on your child's report card is inconsistent with what you know about your child, it is probably worth investigating. For example, it might surprise you to see a poor grade in math if your child did well in math last year. There could be many factors at play, such as the pace of the class, basic skills missed that are now hindering your child's performance, or other issues.
Pay attention to study skills. Some smart students are hampered by disorganization and poor study skills. Does your child's report card indicate that he or she is struggling with things such as time management, focus or overall organization? If so, it may be time to intervene by helping him or her develop a homework routine and an organizational system to keep track of paperwork coming home. Talk with his or her teacher for ideas.
Go to the source. After you've taken time to review the report card, sit down with your child and get his or her perspective. What parts of school is he or she struggling with most? Let your child know that you want to help, and ask him or her how you can best do so.
Huntington advises parents not to let the first report card of the year cause stress - even if grades are lower than expected. "The report card gives you detailed information about your child's academic progress, and should be used to support your child's learning," Huntington says. "Use this invaluable tool to assess your child's first semester, identify any issues and make a plan to address them together. Don't wait to seek tutoring help if your child's skills aren't where they should be. Your child will benefit - and hopefully the next report card will reflect those efforts." For more information, please contact Huntington Learning Center at 1-800-CAN-LEARN or visit http://huntingtonhelps.com.