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You are here: Home > Teaching Tips for Books You've Purchased > School Tips & Education Articles > How Parents Can Work with Kids to Improve Grades - Article

How Parents Can Work with Kids to Improve Grades

Education Begins at Home

Many parents make the mistake of assuming the school district is responsible for teaching their child.  While it is partially true, moms and dads often forget that education begins at home. So many children falls through the cracks of the educational system, and 9 times out of 10 these kids are not getting the support needed at home to succeed scholastically.

If parents do not take an active interest in children's learning, the kids get the message at a very early age!   When boys and girls are small, following in the footsteps of a parent is so important. So what are we, as parents, teaching our youngsters?

Read to the Children

It is never too early to start reading to the children. Some parents actually believe in reading to their babies before birth.   While some believe this practice may be a little extreme, personal experience and education statistics prove reading to our babies, toddlers, and even school age children is vital.

Even infants can learn to love books.  While getting some necessary cuddle time, parents can read plastic coated books that are specifically meant for little hands and mouths.  As the babies get older, progress to the books made with heavy-duty cardboard.  Why?  Books and learning are meant to be loved.  Allow a small child to use all of his/her senses to check out a book.  Teaching a child the love of reading is the foundation of how parents can work with kids to improve grades long before formal education ever starts.

Learning is a Natural Part of every Day

Parents teach children so much, before their sons or daughters ever darken the door of a school building.  For example, Mom might be making a pie for dessert tonight.  As she is cutting the pie, it is the perfect time for a math lesson. If she divides the pie into six slices and there are three people in the family, how many pieces do you get to eat, if we share equally?

Many parents are amazed at how much a toddler can learn and truly understand if learning is a natural part of ever day living.  The child may simply think of it as getting attention or having fun, but parents know it is building the foundation for a successful future.

Stay Involved!

Sadly, too many parents put their offspring on the bus in the morning and pass the educational baton to the teachers.  Wrong!!!  Stay involved!  Work in partnership with the teachers.  Participate as a parent.  Know what the children are studying.  Show an interest in what was learned today, and how the day went as a whole.

Do not wait until report cards come out, to monitor a child's progress.  Most schools now have a computerized grading procedure.  In other words, parents can be given a password to access their children's grades any time day or night.  If the grades are less than stellar, click on the grade to find out what assignments are missing.  Oftentimes, the teacher will write a note explaining scores, if they have dropped unacceptably.

Follow Up!

Parents keep track of how a child is doing in school and follow up on the assignments or other issues associated with good grades.  Find out what the homework is for the day, and see that it is completed BEFORE the child is allowed to do any recreational activities.  Follow up! 

Many parents may actually opt to sit with the children during homework time, to ensure they stay on task and get the job done correctly.  Otherwise, check the work after completion, making sure a child has not rushed to get done, in order to go out and play, only to have failed to complete the assignment properly.

Teach Accountability

Many students have lousy grades simply because no one will hold them accountable.  Sure, the marks will drop, but unless children are intrinsically motivated to succeed, they will not care.  Unfortunately, youngsters cannot envision the big picture and potential consequences of a poor education years from now.

So, it is up to parents to teach accountability at home.  When a child fails to reach his/her potential, do not let it slide.  Let children know that getting a good education is their job, and an investment in their future.   Establish consequences for failing to get adequate grades.  Then, make sure to enforce them, if a child chooses to do poorly in school.

However, this does not mean punishing a child for trying and failing.  For example, if a child has difficulty in a subject, yet does his/her best, do not take away privileges if the grade is less than an A.  However, if a child is simply goofing off, putting recreation before studies, or being lazy, step in before a small problem turns into an educational disaster.

Show by Example

Finally, parents who want their children to grow up and value a good education must lead by example. For instance, do not expect a child to love reading if Mom and Dad never pick up a book. Do not expect a child to eagerly  anticipate college, if the parents dropped out of school.  Remember, it is never too late to learn, and it should be a lifelong process. Go back to school by taking a college class.  Pursue an interest and make it a reality. Show by example that getting good grades and getting the best education is so important.

In Short

Parents, you are the first line of defense against an educationally apathetic society.  If you want your children to succeed, you must first lead by example.  Help your child to grow up with a sense of accountability.  Take and active interest in their achievements and stay involved.  Remember, it is never too early to instill the love of learning into the heart of a child, and learn how parents can work with kids to improve grades.

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