Report Card Blues…..
Report cards come out 3 times / year in schools across Ontario and often, we, as parents may feel as though our parenting skills are up for evaluation at this time. It's an important time to reflect upon the comments about your child that are being conveyed in the report cards, and respond as needed, but not to react hastily. So step back, take some deep breaths and relax...
Report cards are one of the many measures of how kids are doing. The good news is that report cards measure performance in one setting, school! Take the pressure off yourself and your child and break things into small manageable pieces. School measures academic success - reading, writing and math but it doesn't measure every talent or gift your child possesses. Positive communication with your child's teacher combined with the information found in the report card can be a helpful indicator of things that need to be improved upon or even a pat on the back for the things that are going well for your child. When you do sit down and read your child's report card, focus on the areas where your child has shown improvement, effort and new skill development. Encourage your child with positive feedback for the effort they have shown. Partner with your child's teacher to advocate for your child's learning style, strengths and areas that need extra support. Involve your child in solutions that might help them develop skills in problem areas. Help your child to develop good daily study routines and organizational skills. Set up a well-lit, quiet, uncluttered workspace that has all the necessary tools for homework (dictionaries, pencils, pens, rulers, tape, a calculator, rulers, paper, etc.) Explore resources that can help your child, such as homework clubs, older siblings, neighbourhood tutors, online tutors, and so on. Make a plan for success and set small goals with your child. Celebrate the progress no matter how tiny.
The front page of Ontario's report cards/ progress reports assesses "learning skills and work habits". These skills are important life skills that take time to foster and develop. We can help our children acquire these skills by giving them age appropriate chores and responsibilities at home. Setting up good routines for organization such as tidying your desk, binders, knapsack, and school locker on a weekly schedule and establishing a work plan each week for homework can make a big difference. Make checklists with your child to help them remember what they need to bring home from school every day or jobs they need to do before school. Foster opportunities to work on homework independently but be nearby for support if your child needs it. Involve your child in team sports or activities that encourage collaboration and leadership. Practice social skills, negotiation, turn taking, problem solving at home with the family or with unstructured play dates. Children need time and freedom to practice, make mistakes, grow and learn. Help your child find their thing, i.e. something they are passionate about so they can develop competence and a sense of mastery. Fill their boots with positive experiences in school as much as you can but also focus energies on developing great skills outside of school. Believe in your child!