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Five Tips To Help Parents Deal with Report Cards

A mother reading a report card with her child

Five Tips To Help Parents Deal with Report Cards

As the school year winds down to an end, it means the inevitable arrival of report cards. Gulp.

Report card time is recognized as one of the most stressful times for families—mostly because of the element of the unknown. Report cards can mean that summer will begin with happiness or with heartache…and it can be nerve-wracking waiting until the report card arrives to see which way the pendulum will swing.

For children and teens, poor report card grades can mean punishment and restrictions on the leisurely summer activities that they’ve been looking forward to. For parents, poor grades are a source of concern and worry—is their child facing an educational roadblock that could put dreams and plans for the future on hold? Or worse, eliminate future possibilities altogether.

Adding to the stress is the fact that for most, report cards can be confusing. Changing curriculum and reporting standards mean that the report card is filled with jargon and terms that mean nothing to a parent.

To alleviate the report card stress, Oxford Learning offers these Top Five Tips to help parents—and children—get through this stressful time.

  1. Make sense of what the report card is really telling you. Forget the gobbledygook and meaningless jargon. Read the comments written by the teacher. These comments can give you a better idea of how your child is performing overall.
  2. Attend the Parent-Teacher Conference. If less-than-stellar grades have you worried that your child’s opportunities for the future may be slipping away, meeting and speaking with the teacher can help. The teacher has spent hours a day observing your child in the classroom. Often, they can paint a better picture of where your child is headed academically.
  3. Put it in context. Some school years are more challenging than others. Certain grades are transition years, such as the first year if high school, or the shift from early to middle school, that are challenging to all students, regardless of their academic abilities.
  4. Go to the Source. If your child’s report card contains some surprises, ask the one person who would know best: your child. But before you do, take some time to read the report card by yourself. Identify the subjects that are the biggest concern and address those concerns when you sit down together and go over the report card. Remember to remain calm—you and your child are allies in education, not enemies.
  5. Take Action NOW. A bad report card can be a serious roadblock to opportunities for the future. But it doesn’t have to be. Just because the school year is out doesn’t mean that parents have to wait until the school year begins to get their children back on track. The report card is a red flag. If parents don’t act now, the urgency of the bad report card will be forgotten and there will be no progress made.

Remember: Summer is a fantastic opportunity to focus on trouble areas without the distraction of the regular school year. Because students are not distracted by homework, big projects, extra reading, pop quizzes, or essays they are able to make impressive academic gains and head back to school motivated and ready to learn.

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