In my last post, I talked about strategies for parents when a child brings home a bad grade. We discussed what positive actions parents can take when first confronted with a failing, or nearly failing, grade on a report card. This week, I will give you some tips for helping your child to raise their grade. These tips can be started any time during the school year, hopefully, as soon as you see grades slipping.
Create a Study Plan
There are two major types of study plans. One is a general plan that includes an overall look at how your child completes homework each night. The following is an example of a general study plan:
- Homework start time is 6: 30 P.M.
- English/Literature should take approximately 30 minutes
- Math should take approximately 45 minutes
- Social Studies should take approximately 15 minutes
- Science should take approximately 30 minutes
- Total time for homework is 2 hours.
- Work from 6:30 to 7:30, take 15 minute break, everything should be done around 8:45 P.M.
A more specific study plan might include:
- Read assignment first
- Work on grammar rules, writing or answering questions after reading is complete
- Study formulas using flash cards, writing formula ten times, repeating formulas out loud
- Work on problems I know first, then go back to those I have questions about
- Make up flash cards for specific facts and dates
- Read assignment into tape recorder
- Listen to assignment
As you can see, the study plan takes the specific student's trouble areas into consideration. If your child has difficulty with reading comprehension, reading the assignment into a tape recorder and then playing back will engage more of the senses and may help your child in retaining information. A study plan should provide your child with specific study strategies to be followed every day.
Use a Tutor
Many parents are hesitant about using tutors, not because they don't want their child to succeed but because the cost is sometimes prohibitive. Today, however, there are many different options for tutoring, some of which are free or less expensive than the traditional tutoring and learning centers.
Check with your school district to find out if they offer tutoring services after school. Some schools have teachers who work with students in the resource center. Different subjects might be highlighted on certain days, for example, on Tuesdays and Thursdays a math teacher may be in the tutoring center, on Mondays and Wednesdays an English teacher might be available. These services are often free.
Use online tutoring. There are a variety of online tutoring sites. Some help with younger children, some offer standardized testing programs. Take the time to read about several different sites to find the right match for your child. Tutoring sites do require a fee but are less expensive than traditional learning centers.
Contact your school's guidance office and ask if they can recommend an older student who would be interested in tutoring your child. There are often students in the older grades that excel in a certain subject and would be willing to work with your child. Student tutors are less expensive than professional tutors. If there is a local college, you can also check there for student tutors.
Check with local churches or other non-profit groups. Some churches sponsor tutoring. College students may come in once a week or once a month to offer help to students.
Add Exercise to Your Child's Daily Routine
Exercise helps get the brain moving. Research has shown that children that participate in regular exercise do better on tests and are less fidgety in school. Incorporating exercise into your child's daily routine can help him settle down, focus better and get better grades.
Understand your Child's Learning Style
Your child learns best when many different interactive approaches are used and he is actively participating in learning. Even so, each of us has a specific way we learn. For some, it can be visual, for others hearing the lesson helps the most. If you understand your child's learning style, you can create study strategies that are most likely to help him retain the information.
Encourage Group Learning Experiences
It is easier to become actively involved in learning in a group setting, rather than sitting and reading a chapter alone. The internet offers many different learning groups your child can participate in to help him understand the work.
"What to do When your Teen's Grades Slip", 2010, Feb 4, Noelle Crombie, The Oregonian