As time draws near for midterm grades, are you prepared for what you might see? Is your child afraid to show you his/her grades because they know you will be disappointed? What can you do to support your child in improving those grades when you think he/she may just not be applying his/herself?
First, ADHD/ADD is real for many students. The older the child the harder it is to realize this. You may hear “he’s just lazy and doesn’t apply himself” or “he never turns anything in” or the child constantly says “I forgot to bring my homework home or couldn’t remember what it was.” THESE ARE REAL ISSUES regardless if diagnosed ADHD/ADD or not. On the other hand, because you may hear these comments does not mean your child has ADHD/ADD. That diagnosis can only be determined by a trained physician. So what now? Think back your school day and how your parent would have reacted to a less than favorable grade or comment. What would you have liked to hear from your parent if you had a less than favorable grade?
- It is perfectly acceptable to be disappointed. How you react will play a huge part in how well your child will perform in the future. State your disappointment in a non- confrontational way.
- Ask your child why they believe their grades are low? (you will probably hear “Because their teacher doesn’t like them.” :o) This is also the time to say something positive about their performance in some area.
- Ask your child to show you their binder or folder for the class in question. Do they even have one? Is it organized? Do they have their graded work in there somewhere, even if not organized?
- Ask your child to describe a normal day in the class in question. Listen to see if there is an agenda posted, if they have time to work in class, if they forget their materials in their lockers but can’t go get the. Take notes if you need to.
- If the teacher has not contacted you to give you a heads-up before this point, ask to speak to the teacher and outline what you would like to be made aware of. (Good or bad but again in a non demanding way)
- Help your child get organized with folders and supplies. I tape index cards to clients’ binders with a checklist of supplies to retrieve from their locker before ever stepping in class. Included on this card is using the restroom so they don’t leave class which upsets many teachers.
- Make sure your child understands your expectations. Let them know it is ok to ask for help. It’s ok to NOT understand, it’s ok to feel frustrated but they cannot give up. They must notify the teacher or yourself so you can work on strategies to help. Start talking to them now (regardless of age) about the importance of grades in the future.
Lastly, please understand if your child has difficulty with reading, then EVERY other subject will be difficult. Attending to reading deficiencies is the first step in improving grades.
If you need further explanation of any of the above strategies, please shoot me an email. I would be happy to go into greater detail.
Midterms are a great wake up call for students and parents alike. Students begin to see what each teacher’s workload will look like and parents will see what type of communication they will have with each teacher. I will post later on how to approach a teacher as a team member of your child’s educational path.