5 Simple Habits to Ease Your Student’s Report Card Panic

By Zena Smith

report cardYou speak from experience when you tell your students to put away the procrastination, be proactive, and plan ahead. But try as you may, they often take your good advice with a grain of salt, coasting through the early parts of the grading period—at least until they’re met with report card panic. It’s a frustrating thing, but as the end of each quarter draws near, many students whose grades need work finally realize it’s time to take action to boost their performance.

If this sounds like your student, don’t give up just yet. Take solace in the fact that it’s never too late to turn things around in the classroom. But the fix isn’t always what you or your student thinks it is. While relying on late nights and last-minute cram sessions might get their grades up to par for the upcoming report card, this is a lot like putting a Band-Aid on a wound that needs stitches. Instead of falling to shortsighted and stressful solutions, help your student find a long-term fix for their academic woes by developing the fundamental habits of successful learning.

Develop an attitude of success.
Learning begins with a positive attitude. The reason many students procrastinate or give less than their best effort is because they don’t view learning as fun, interesting, rewarding, or attainable. These students tend to view homework as a chore.

Help your student discover that real learning is just the opposite. Show them that not only can they do well on each assignment across multiple subject area, but that doing so will pay off in fun, meaningful (and profitable) ways down the road. Once they believe in their abilities and understand the unique feeling of “a-ha” moments or the relief of finishing their homework before dinnertime, they’ll begin to break the habit of saving the hardest work for the last minute.

brainfoodNourish your body and mind.
The phrase “you are what you eat” has never been as true as it is in the classroom. It may sound silly, but many students are frequently slowed down at school by their dietary and exercise habits at home.

Cognitive function, particularly for young and developing students, is largely dependent on—or impaired by—what a student eats and does. To increase focus and retention during study sessions, avoid high-sugar diets and long periods of inactivity. It may be up to your student to choose outdoor activities over computer time, but it’s often a parent’s responsibility to ensure that mealtime counts.

Be positively self-critical.
Introspection can be a hard thing for a student (or parent) of any age. Looking in the mirror and admitting you could do better or that you haven’t given your best effort is something that many of us choose to avoid. But once we’re over that initial hump, the results are almost always positive.

Spend some time with your student, asking questions that lead them to self-reflection. Where do you think you went wrong on that math test? Do you think the teacher would spend some time after class walking you through what you didn’t understand?

If a student can admit to himself or herself that they are bigger than the material—not the other way around—the difficult areas will become challenges that they’re willing to invest in overcoming.

Note, though, that we say “positively self-critical.” Students should be asking themselves “what could I have done better?”—NOT telling themselves that they are incapable.

Seek out relationships with goal-sharers.
Unfortunately, the old ideas about “good” and “bad” influences can often be true. Goal-seeking students can either be in harmony with their peers, or they can be in conflict. When students have relationships with those who share their goals of success, they enter into a “help me, help you” situation. Both parties understand that success takes time and hard work, and they might set aside that time to work hard together. On the other hand, when goal-oriented students surround themselves with peers who don’t value success, they’re put in a position where they must choose between nurturing friendships and chasing goals. And that’s a tough decision for any human being.

Building supportive relationships is a huge help in every student’s quest for success. Whether that means teachers or fellow students, your child has a lot to gain by getting to know, confiding in, and feeding off of like-minded individuals.

plannerOrganize, organize, organize!
This applies at every level of your student’s academic journey. By organizing their time at home, they’ll finish homework earlier, have more time to address trouble spots, have more time to rest and unwind, and exude more confidence as they approach big tests and evaluations.

They can also benefit by organizing the space around them—their bedroom workspace, their book bag, or their desk at school. There’s an old saying about a clean space making for a clear mind, and it is true! Knowing where everything is—from pencils and notebooks to the notes inside them—has an enormous effect on a student’s productivity, confidence, and performance. So take advantage of it!

By helping your student internalize these five habits of successful learning, you’ll have their grades on the up and up in no time. Soon, a questionable report card won’t even be a concern—not now, not next quarter, not ever.

That said, if you’re worried you won’t have the time to practice these habits before grades come out, know that you always have a backup plan in MASTERs Plus. We can design a program to get your student back on track, even when you’re in a pinch. Just call, email, or visit our Homewood, IL learning center for a free consultation.

This entry was posted in How To, Parenting, Report Cards, Study Skills, Tips, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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