It’s the second semester of the school year, and you’re wondering what you can do to help your child improve their grades. Whether your child is struggling in class and really needs to make this semester count or needs that extra push to help them get where their grades need to be, there’s still hope to drive those grades up. Try these things to help your student finish this school year strong.
5. Get organized
Many students struggle with their studies simply because they’re not organized. They don’t have a system in place when it comes to keeping track of notes, grades, assignments, and other important things. This eventually leads to loose papers being stuffed in bookbags, which eventually get lost (or at the very least, takes way to long to find and may be ruined when you do). Take the time to review with your child how to organize their binders and bookbag.
Get them a separate binder for each subject and tabs to divide their binders into sections. We suggest having tabs for homework, notes, grades, and the syllabus. If your child doesn’t use their agenda, find out why. Perhaps the fields are too small or they don’t see the value in it. Try getting a larger planner or keep a family calendar using a service like Google Calendar. Put everything important on it, including homework. Last, help your child decide on a specific place for each item to go in the bookbag.
4. Study regularly
Another thing that holds many students back is that they simply don’t study. Sure, they study every now and then when a test or quiz is near, but they don’t study regularly, and therefore don’t retain the information they go over very long. This especially hurts students later on finals, as many finals tend to be cumulative. Students should study regularly to review the concepts they cover each day in their classes. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time either. 10 or 20 minutes a day per class should be more than enough to help many students stay on track. What’s most important is that this is extra time spent outside of doing homework and that this study time remains consistent.
Talk with your child about what times work best for their schedule and establish a study time in the morning and/or afternoon. For example, your child can study on the car/bus ride to school, during a study period, or right after school. Treat that time as sacred and don’t move it for anything that isn’t an emergency. This will help establish regular study time in your child’s routine and is a statement about how much you value that they study.
3. Take better notes
Some students struggle because they simply don’t know how to take notes. Ask your child what they reviewed in their classes that day. Ask to see their notes. You may be surprised to learn that they’re sparse or non-existent. Many students who struggle aren’t paying attention in class and aren’t taking notes if they do. If they don’t have a textbook (and many teachers are moving more towards worksheets they make), how do they intend to recall the information when they need it?
In some classes, teachers hand out notes or worksheets with blank spaces for students to fill in. On the one hand, this is useful as it ensures that students have detailed notes. On the other hand, the student didn’t spend the time and energy paying attention to record and understand those notes in the first place, so if they’re not reviewing their notes at all, there’s little hope of them being able to recall the information.
Check out our other post on note-taking skills for some tips on how to take better notes as well as some note-taking styles that may interest your child. If note-taking doesn’t work, consider having your child use a voice recorder during class to record lessons.
2. Re-read any syllabi
A syllabus is an incredibly useful tool. If your child’s teacher handed out anything about what they planned to cover during the school year, use it to your advantage. While a teacher may not always follow the syllabus, it gives you a general outline of the types of topics they plan to cover in the class. You can use this information to figure out where the class should be topic-wise and even work ahead to make sure your child stays on top of things.
1. Speak to your teacher(s)
Teachers are the number one resource that few parents and students utilize. At the end of the day, the teacher is there to help your child succeed. Many teachers are willing to spend a little time giving parents and students perspective to help bring those grades up. Teachers love to see that a student is at least trying to improve and may go out of their way to help those that put in a bit of effort. If your school doesn’t have office hours for each teacher, many are still happy to stay a bit to answer a few questions after class or after school. Email them, too. A teacher might be happy to give you details about current and upcoming assignments/material. They may not have the time to work one-on-one with each student after school, but ultimately, they’re in the profession because they want to help students like yours.
Let us know how these tips worked for you! Did you see an improvement in your child’s grades? Maybe you feel that you need a little help reinforcing these concepts? If you’re looking for someone who can give your child one-on-one attention and build great academic habits, you might need a private tutor. Give us a call!