It may sound obvious that school is for learning, but I think we sometimes get caught up in the grades that people lose sight of that fact. Students are so concerned about getting the GRADES that they forget to actually pay attention to concepts that are being taught in class. Where does that come from?
Parents- are you responsible for emphasizing grades over an education? Are you inadvertently stressing your kids out by expecting As over progress? Research shows that anxiety leads to forgetfulness. Chances are, the more you get your kids stressed over school and grades, paradoxically, the less they will learn.
Here are three changes you can make to help your students stress less and enjoy school more.
3. Stop checking grades so often. If you are the type of parent who signs up to get notifications every time a teacher enters a new grade, stop that service. Remember my posts about kids and cell phones? The same holds true for you. Do not check your phone every day for updates on your kids’ grades. Otherwise, they will be doing the same thing so you don’t know their grades before they do. Instead, every other week should be enough. That’s about 4 times a marking period. And only do that so you’re not twisting in the wind. Don’t pounce on them for an 82. Life will go on and when you are a grand parent one day, you will not remember that 82 in Math. But you will benefit from the supportive (not stressful!) relationship you cultivated with your child.
2. Stop asking about how they did in school. I have VERY bad memories of the dinner table with my family when I was a kid- mainly, because they would use that time as a debriefing on the status of my upcoming report card. That’s probably the reason I had developed gastritis as a teenager. Instead, say to them, “Tell me three things you learned in school today.” At first, they may say, “Nothing.” But if you help them by asking them, “Well, what about science? What are you learning about? Animals? The weather…” they will start to open up. It may take some time, but if they see that this new change is NOT going to go away, they may start to give you answers faster- if only to get it over with! Reward them with what YOU learned that day, as well.
1. Stop helping them to study. Yes, that’s right. If you are going over the study guide for tomorrow’s test, you are now becoming the Gestapo and it’s not going to be a fun experience. Instead, come to them when the stakes are NOT high- like when they are reading a chapter of the novel for English, or doing a current events article in History. Actually show an interest in what they thing about the subject. That way, they will see that you really care about them and what they think about the world- not just a number at the top of a paper.
Make the #153Promise to remind your children that they mean more to you than a GPA.