Academic Success

Three Keys to Helping Your Adolescent Earn Better Grades

It is not uncommon for students who earned passing grades in elementary
school to find themselves overwhelmed and over worked in middle school. The
level of academic responsibility increases with each year of schooling, but
the leap from elementary to middle school creates the biggest challenge.

Curriculum becomes more in-depth as the academic pace accelerates. This
combined with newfound social connections leaves many students
struggling and most parents frustrated.

Follow these three simple habits at home to help regain control of the

1.Organization is Key

As simple and unrelated as many people feel this component is, it is
critical to academic success. Beyond the obvious and overstated, have a
specific spot for homework assignments to be completed. The next step to
this process is rarely mentioned; put the homework, books, teacher notes,
notebooks etc, in the book bag at night.

Many students stumble into class each morning half awake only to find the
work they spent time on the night before is still sitting on the dinning
room table.

When this happens these assignments are considered missing, incomplete, or
late. All of which put a lower grade in the gradebook. Several days of this
repeated pattern and any GPA would certainly be reduced.

2.Be Proactive

Unlike the elementary years where teachers were available to keep parents
informed of progress, middle school educators teach 100 or more students a
day. The parent to teacher communication now falls mostly on the parent.

Be proactive. Monitor your children’s grades weekly. If you see low grades
or notice that your child struggles with understanding homework assignments,
it is wise to seek intervention immediately. Email the teacher. Ask what
steps he or she recommends to get the tutoring your child needs. Take action
and get help. The work  will only get more challenging as
the year progresses.

3.Social Activities and Academic Effort

The adolescent mind is different than that of a child. By now your children
are probably seeking more social outlets, friendships, and activities. While
parents need to encourage children to participate in extracurricular
activities, clear guidelines must be set. These guidelines should include a
base level of academic success. Participation in social events should be
allowed only when the agreed upon base for academic grades are met.

Far too many parents are unaware of the power of tying social events to
academic success. When children know their social outlets are contingent
upon their academic efforts, most are more willing to take responsibility to
earn good grades.

Start and follow through with this practice in middle school, and by their
high school years your children will know academic responsibility is
imperative to their freedoms.

Happy Parenting!


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Are Your Good Intentions Harming Your Child’s Academic Success?

Most children start school with a positive attitude and an open willingness to learn. They attend kindergarten classes where they learn basic skills as well as social skills needed to be part of a group of learners. First and second grades build upon basic foundation concepts and social development grows as children learn to work with others.

In most cases, third grade is the first real experience children have of their active role in the learning process. It is a year when many students experience stress from academic pressure for the first time, as they seek to grasps new concepts as multiplication and division are learned and practiced.

Parents see their children becoming frustrated and seek to offer comfort. Oftentimes, this comfort comes with a price to the children which parents aren’t aware of.

Many parents share with children that they too found math challenging as a child. They may go on to tell stories of their own childhood struggles, poor grades and lack of understanding.

These words spoken with good intent have a tendency to backfire for many students. What children hear from a parent’s well-meaning words is, “I was not good at math therefore, neither are you”.

This admission of academic weakness from the parent becomes an excuse, a reason if you will, for children not to put forth much effort. They feel they have been given permission to perform poorly.

A preconceived attitude of defeat does not serve students as they seek to understand concepts in any academic area. Therefore, it is best not to introduce this type of thinking.

The good news is there are constructive ways for parents to offer assurance and support to struggling students. Following are some suggested ways for parents to offer encouragement and understanding while facilitating and promoting academic development.

1. Let children know you have full confidence in their abilities. (Use matter of fact language. Leave no doubt that you believe in them.)

2. Create a specific time and place in the home for homework to be completed. (This adds structure and organization to their physical environment, as their mental abilities are being challenged.)

3. Have an adult in close proximity when children are doing homework. (This serves to keep them on task and to offer assistance if needed.)

4. Reinforce that some things take time and practice. (Tell them it is like a puzzle they may have had as a toddler. At first it was difficult, but over time the puzzle became easy to solve.)

5. If your child becomes frustrated, ask school officials for resources in tutoring. (Many schools offer morning or afternoon tutoring, or know professional who are willing to help.)

Your attitude towards their learning is a huge indicator of their level of determination. Be positive about learning. Celebrate even the small successes. This encourages children to continue working towards their goals. Your support, attitude and follow through will help to instill a positive self image as your children grow and learn.
Happy Parenting!


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