Marking period, progress report, and some thoughts

It’s hard to believe that the first progress report will be coming out within the next few days. I wanted to share a story with you of how I approached the ritual with my older child.

When the school year began, homework was a struggle and we were both emotionally stressed at times, but the grades on the papers were average so we just kept plugging along. Then, when the progress report came out and I wasn’t overjoyed with the average grades, my husband said to me “why are you surprised?” I shouldn’t have been. There was no reason for my son’s grades to suddenly get better—we didn’t actually change anything.

It is human nature to wait and see, to think or hope that things will just work out, or that our children just need to “get used to things.” While that sometimes is the case, it usually isn’t. We realized we had to take steps now, so, as a family, we decided that grades were important and made a “homework room” dedicated to studying. In it were a desk, paper, pencils, computer, and an agenda calendar. We set specific times when my son was expected to study and made him stick to them. It wasn’t easy or fun, but eventually his grades improved.

As parents often do, we learned from the mistakes we made with our first child and vowed to do better for our second. We were proactive with her from the start. The homework room was hers as soon as she started school, and, luckily, diligence was never an issue. Eventually, however, she began to struggle in math. She just wasn’t grasping the concepts. The class moved briskly, and self-study with her book could only take her so far. We did not “wait and see” this time. We sought out extra assistance from her teacher, from tutors, from books, and made sure to help her fill her skill gaps as early as possible. She, too, survived math and school, and felt confident in her abilities.

Not every parent with a struggling child needs to do what we did with ours for them to succeed—there are countless methods and resources for doing so. They do, however, need to do something, not just hope that it will get better.