MONITOR DAILY PERFORMANCE
It is true that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Keep track of your child’s daily paper trail: homework, quizzes, tests, notebooks, and workbooks. Be proactive. Keep current on your child’s academic performance. Teach your child to focus on teacher remarks that appear on student paperwork. Don’t be caught off guard when the school issues mid-quarter or final reports or failure warnings. Children in grades 3-8 have on-line report cards for you to check weekly or daily. Focus on the following five practices.
1. Set Realistic Standards. Use personal observation and teacher input to determine reasonable expectations. When we ask too much of a child, we frustrate; when we ask too little, we insult! Store away examples of your child’s work that illustrate neat, accurate, care filled performance. If the need arises to re-motivate, use those samples as the standard of expectation.
2. Supervise Homework. Homework is time-on-task. Assist with memory work. Listen to lessons. Examine written work for thoroughness and accuracy. Have your child make personalized flash cards for review and drill. With a calendar available, teach how to divide a long-range project into small parts. By grade six, hold your child accountable for creating the time plan and submitting it to you for input.
3. Expect Personal Best. Explain to your children that God’s gift to them is life; how they use their lives becomes their gift to God. Their job is to complete schoolwork to the best of their ability or to deal with the consequences of negative choices. Revoke privileges if performance falls below your realistic, established standards, and use that time for additional study to correct the situation. If parent or teacher accepts less than a student’s personal best, it conveys a destructive and self-defeating message.
4. Establish Goals. Routinely, help your child set a goal, write out a schedule that includes specific behaviors that will be necessary to reach the goal, post the plan in a meaningful place for frequent reference, follow the plan, and finish on or before the due date. Assist with goal setting and support your child’s efforts with suggestions, but let the planning and accomplishment belong to him/her. By junior-high age have your child communicate to you realistic academic goals and related behaviors at the beginning of the year and at each marking period.
5. Avoid Procrastination. Teach your child how to look ahead and to get into the habit of getting a jump-start on long-range assignments. Provide an organizer-type book or electronic system to keep track of upcoming events, projects, homework, etc. “PLAN YOUR WORK AND WORK YOUR PLAN.”