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Posted on March 27, 2009 by Arlethia Hailstock - A Team Tutoring

Filed under Education |

6 Steps for dealing with a bad report card

Thursday, January 22 2009 @ 08:55 AM CST

For students and parents alike, report card day can be the best day of the school-year or the worst day of your life. Some kids can’t wait to get home. They jump off the school bus and go running to the front door; their report cards -- bearing straight A’s -- flapping in the wind. But for others, that picture is only a dream. A less than stellar report card or progress report can result in a loss of privileges, a strained relationship with parents, loss of confidence and low self-esteem. For those in high school, it can also mean academic suspension from sports and other activities. Parents and kids can feel at a loss for what to do about a poor report card. But here are a few tips for what to do if bad grades happen to a good kid in your home.
1. The first thing to do is to try to stay calm and put things into context. Of course you want your child to make good grades, but even the smartest kid struggles every now and again. Give some thought to what might be going on. There are transition grades or gateway years can be especially tough. This is when a student goes from lower elementary (K-third grade) to upper elementary (fourth and fifth grades); from elementary to middle school or from middle to high school. There is a lot of new territory for a student to navigate during those times. Puberty is a tough time and middle school is hard for practically every kid to get through socially. Also consider what may be going on at home. Think about whether there are things that you can change to help your child optimize their academic talents.
2. The next thing to do is talk with your child. They might not even realize how poorly they were doing until they got the bad report card. Keep in mind that kids are kids. As adults, we have the ability to reason, to manage our time, to prioritize our tasks and obligations. Even with the advantage of life experience on our side, we don’t always do the best job of handling every responsibility as we should. Consider how overwhelming a growing number of responsibilities must be for a child. School grows more and more challenging for our young people each year. Give your student the chance to express what they think may be the reason(s) for their poor academic performance.
3. Set up a meeting with your child’s teacher. This can be really tough for high school students because they often want to hide bad grades from their parents. And high schoolers don’t want to be treated like little kids. But I have yet to meet a teacher who doesn’t appreciate parents who take a vested interest in their child’s education. Find out what your child’s teacher thinks might be happening and see what they can offer in terms of help. Many teachers are more than willing to help students who need it during after school hours. Be sure to include your child in this conference. They will probably learn something in this meeting that will help get them on track.
4. Show them how to ask for help. This is one thing your child might learn in the meeting with their teacher. Some kids are too shy to ask for help, some are embarrassed and others just don’t know what to say. Parents can be blind-sided by bad grades because they assume all is well since their kid doesn’t say otherwise. Let them know that it is better to ask for help as soon as they realize they need it, rather than waiting until a failing grade on one assignment turns into a failing grade in the class.
5. Set goals. Sit down with your child and talk with them about what they want out of the class and out of school. Make the goals age/grade appropriate, specific, measurable, and challenging but attainable. The idea is to give your child a clear objective by a set date, like the end of the quarter, semester or school-year. It can even be a goal to make a certain grade on the next test or big project. It is important to track progress leading up to the end date of the goal, and to encourage the child to keep working towards the goal. Equally as important to reaching the goal is celebrating in the end!
6. Finally, take action NOW. It is not enough to read an article like this one. You actually have to do something to effect change. Just hoping that the kid snaps out of it or that things will get easier will not help. It won’t get easier, it gets harder. That’s just the way school goes. But you can give your child the tools to succeed so that next time, it’s your kid jumping off the school bus, making a bee-line for the front door with their great report card flapping in the wind. 
By Arlethia Hailstock
Owner/Director of A-Team Tutoring
Please check out our ad under the Education category of "Directory".

the latest thoughts...

by Arlethia Hailstock, A Team Tutoring

Filed under Education |

Get a great start to the day by eating breakfast

Thursday, January 22 2009

Wow! I can hardly believe the summer is over already. We have less than a week left to make those last trips to Carowinds, soak up the sun and stay up late. Fort Mill schools are back in session on Wednesday, August 20. If you’ve been thinking about what you can do to help your kid’s have a good year, here’s a tip: make sure they eat a healthy breakfast every morning.

We’ve heard the old saying our entire lives, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” It really is true. Nutrition, whether our practices are good or bad, has a profound effect on our ability to learn. There was such speculation of this link back in 1999 that the United States Department of Agriculture marked one week in March 1999 as National School Breakfast week. The next month, April 1999, a symposium was held in Washington to study the link between eating breakfast and learning.“Research has shown that children who regularly ate breakfast had better standardized test scores, better behavior, and were less hyperactive than children who skipped breakfast.”1

It only makes sense that eating a healthy breakfast would help kids perform better in school. Most often, by the time we awake in the morning, it has been 10-12 hours since our last meal. Can you imagine what you would feel like after not eating for ten hours? It happens when we have a busy day and skip lunch. By two o’clock we hit a wall. Not only are we hungry, but we are tired, irritable and sometimes downright goofy. Who can concentrate with all of that going on? As adults, it is hard enough to sit through an hour-long meeting on an empty stomach. Kids probably have no idea what to do with themselves if they are in that same state and are trying to make it through a Trigonometry class.

No matter your age, it is important to eat a healthy breakfast. Try to avoid giving in to the kids’ cravings for sugary cereals and pancakes with syrup. Foods high in sugar will not keep you satisfied for long and we’ve all seen what happens when the sugar wears off and the kid crashes. “When shopping for breakfast items, look for a breakfast that has at least three grams of fiber and is less than 200 calories,” advises Michel Gilson a Registered Dietician with Kaiser Permanente Colorado. Gilson says the fiber will keep you fuller, longer. And low-calorie meals will help keep unnecessary weight gain at bay.

the latest thoughts...

by Arlethia Hailstock, A Team Tutoring

Filed under Education |

Read to prevent summer slide

Wednesday, July 22, 2008

It’s only four weeks until the start of the new school year and you can almost hear it – the sound of kid’s brains turning to mush. Ahh, there it is… the dreaded summer slide. As parents, I am sure we all remember what it was like starting back to school after having two months off. It was all fun and games for those first few days. Then you get your first real assignment and you remember that you’ve forgotten everything you learned last year. Drat! Back to the drawing board to try to re-learn it all again. But there are ways to avoid a total summer brain meltdown.

Yes, the summer should be about having fun. Give the kids a chance to relax, go on vacation, splash around in the pool, and don’t forget to read a book or two. Reading is one of the easiest ways to help kids remain sharp and in the mode for learning all summer long. Some kids love to read while others loathe it. The great news is that there are lots of ways to make reading fun for everyone. You can even sneak it in to everyday activities to get them reading without even realizing it. Read on for 7 quick tips!

1. Make sure everyone has a library card. This is a great tip for kids and parents alike. It costs nothing to get a library card and a weekly or bi-weekly trip to the library is a great way to spend time together as a family. There are also lots of great programs and activities at the library to encourage a love of reading.

2. Have a Reading Race for the summer. Help your kids agree on a list of 3 or 4 books that they will all read and see who can finish the books first. This works best for kids who are close in age. If your kids are not close enough in age to make the Reading Race a real competition, get friends, neighbors or other relatives in on the fun.

3. Subscribe to a magazine that focuses on something they like. This is great for kids who don’t like reading or for teens who have fallen out of the habit. Music, sports, cars – whatever the subject matter, the result will be the same: they are reading! Of course, just make sure it is appropriate for their age and reading level. Kids love getting mail, so that aspect alone will pique their interest.

4. Have them write out the list for your weekly trip to the grocery store. Kids who are just learning to read are eager to read just about anything. If they are coming along to shop with you, have them read the list and check off items as you put them into the cart.

5. Invite the kids to help you make their favorite dinner or dessert. Have your kids copy the recipe out of the cookbook or from the internet. Then they can read the recipe as you go along preparing it. If you let them measure using cups and spoons, you get a little math lesson in there to boot! This is fun for the whole family.

6. Have kids write their own to-do lists or schedule for the coming days. It is especially important for busy teens to help them keep track of their schedule for the week or month. And remind them that it is not enough just to write things down. They actually have to make a habit of going back and reading them.

7. Parents, we have to read, too. This last one seems kind of obvious and not much of a tip. But I’ll include it anyway. We know kids mimic what their parents do. If we want them to read, we have to let them catch us in the act. For infants, toddlers and preschoolers, read aloud to your children. Once kids learn to read, read with them to be sure they are reading words correctly and comprehending what they read. For tweens and teens, just seeing that you read for pleasure will promote their interest in reading and help them see it as a fun activity.

Article by Arlethia Hailstock,
Owner and Director of A-Team Tutoring
Please check out our ad in the Education section of “Community Links.”