The Nine Weeks Are Wrapping Up…Hand Wringing or Celebration?
How do you open your child’s report card? This time of year may mean racking up on sales from Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but any parent also knows that this time of year means report cards. Soon the verdict will be in. Some of us will grab up our A and A/B honor roll children with hugs and kisses and then march proudly to the back of the car to stamp it with the ‘I am the Proud Parent of a Honor Roll Student’ bumper sticker. Others of us will open up the report card (hard copy or digital) like it’s a final notice on rented furniture. What to do then if you get a report card that’s not so shiny? Depends on the age.
Elementary:I love this school parenting stage. From August to June I can expect classroom newsletters, weekly emails from teachers and behavior charts. All of which let me know not only what my child is learning but also if they are acting like ‘people’ when I am not around. Difficulty level in keeping up with work in school? Rather easy. Weekly check-in requirements? Check agenda books and behavior charts Ways to intervene? By third grade definitely keep up with parent portal regularly. [Note: Do you have access to parent portal? Round these parts parent portal is a system parents can log into and find out test scores, and homework grades. It will even provide weekly email updates on grades and attendance.] Arrange a meeting with the teacher (or teachers). Sit and observe classes. Provide extra apps, worksheets and library trips based on what you and the teacher see they need extra help with.
Middle School:By sixth grade your pre-teen is now charged with the responsibility of taking a pass to be their only guide to the bathroom. The weekly emails may turn into once every two weeks or so – if at all. Parent portal may be your only means to see what their grades are like. You get answers like ‘I already did my homework’ whenever you see them perched more often in front of the TV than they are in a book. No doubt the test and school work gets more challenging at the same time that hormones begin to rush throughout their bodies. Difficulty level in keeping up with work in school? A worthy challenge. Weekly check-in requirements? Check agenda books (by seventh or eighth grade these can be non-existent, unless you request teachers to complete one for you) and parent portal. Ways to intervene? If your child’s teacher is suggesting they move down a level, i.e. from honors to regular, there are a few things to do before you agree.
- Have someone you know well, i.e. a teacher, guidance counselor, administrator/principal, take a look at your child’s test scores. What do the numbers tell them? Are they on grade level? How much help do they really need? Will tutoring afterschool catch them up? Or you made need to add tutoring afterschool with a support lab/class during school hours.
High School:Here’s where school parenting, I believe, gets tricky. While I am accustomed to and very much appreciate the weekly updates from teachers, high school doesn’t work like that. As well it shouldn’t. I know as a parent and as a teacher that schools like to begin preparing students for independence as early as fifth grade. By ninth grade it is expected that there will be no more daily agenda to sign and weekly emails from teachers are a God send, not a requirement – unless that is they are perhaps in some type of special course. This is the time to start the cutting educational umbilical cord. In just a few short years our oldest will be (God willing) at somebody’s college making grown up decisions without us. She will be able to go when she wants and hang out with whomever she wants. This also means that she will be able to decide when and when she will not study. Difficulty level in keeping up with work in school? It can be a challenge…to say the least. Weekly check-in requirements? None. Absolutely none. You have to cross your fingers and your toes they are not around school acting a donkey and they have all of their work done. Ways to intervene? Pray. A lot! Stay on parent portal. Continue to stress the importance of moving from CP to Honors, from Honors to AP. Inspire with college tours. Meet and/or stay in contact with teachers via email. Find college students for tutoring.
Are you looking forward to a shiny report card this nine weeks?