I’m going to be honest with you, some parents make a big issue about something that doesn’t really mean anything. The grades kids receive don’t mean they are smart or dumb, hard-working or lazy, or whether you are a good enough parent. Grades are not an indication of good teaching, bad curriculum or a prediction of your child’s success in school or in life.
– a “C” grade at one school could be an “A” at another?
– a child could get a “D” during the semester and an “A” in summer school?
– a teenager could graduate high school with a 2.2 but graduate college with a 4.0?
– a teenager with a 4.3 in high school can be on academic probation their first semester of college?
– one teacher thinks your child is a closet genius, another thinks they have a learning disability?
– a child can flunk biology with one teacher and ace it with another?
The only thing the report card offers is feedback on your child’s ability to PLAY at this GAME we call school. I think, if you are choosing to play a game, you might as well learn how to play it well. Ask your kids these ten questions when their report cards come home and squeeze the learning opportunities out of this school year.
- How do you feel about your grades? Allow your kids to feel what they feel without trying to change it. If they are happy & proud, say, “I see you feel happy and proud”. If they are disappointed, say “You feel disappointed”. Kids want to feel seen, heard and felt. Refrain from telling them what YOU think, “you should be very proud of this” or “These grades should be higher”. Instead, just tell them how you see them reacting. This is hard but you can do it!
- What has this school year taught you about what you love and what you don’t?
- What has this school year taught you about your special gifts and talents?
- What has this school year taught you about how you best learn and study?
- Are there any surprises for you on this report card?
- Which grade are you most proud of and why?
- How could you make your next school year even better?
- What is your plan to get even better at playing this game called “School”?
- Is there anything we can do to support you on your goals?
- Which of the teacher comments do you appreciate/value the most?
Then, right before you burst out of your skin because you are dying to share YOUR thoughts and opinions, focus on their effort and growth. Instead of talking about grades and report card results that are over and done with and cannot be changed, put your attention on the things they can do more of. “I’m so proud of how hard you worked on your states report”, “I loved hearing about how you participated in class discussions”, “I think it’s so cool how you went outside your comfort zone and signed up for drama class” or “I think it’s wonderful how many good friends you made this year.” “It was fun to see you finding books you enjoyed reading.”
Asking questions like these and commenting on their effort instead of results, will turn your child into a life long learner who learns, studies and grows for the intrinsic value of it. You are modeling for them how to reflect and review their own work in a positive way instead of getting stuck, self-berating, or thinking everything comes easily to them.
Jump on over to my facebook page and let me know how it goes and good luck!