Six Steps to Better Grades

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This blog post is based on another blog post that can be found at this LINK.

Over the past few weeks, I have received numerous emails from parents in regards to their children receiving a bad grade in their science or math class looking for a tutor who can “confidentially” raise their child’s grade from failing/nearly failing to a B. There are numerous issues going on with these parent/child combinations that I, as a tutor, coming in at near the end of the school year with only weeks left do not feel “confident” enough to raise their grade out of the failing range and into the above average range. And quite honestly I don’t know any tutors who would be able to do that with such short notice and not much other information in regards to the situation surrounding the bad grade to begin with.

The worse part is that all of this could have been avoided. Parents, teachers and tutors all need to be involved in a student’s life in order to help them achieve better grades. And not only at the very end of the school year. Parents need to act right away, once that first bad report card is given. The longer the parent waits, the further behind the student will fall, and the harder it will be to get the student back up to speed in order to achieve in the class. Here are a few easy steps parents can do in order to create an environment that supports growth and learning.

Be supportive

Having a supportive family who believe in you is the first step to improved academic success. Believe that your child will improve and focus on the positive. Help them to set realistic goals and be their most enthusiastic cheerleader.

Get involved

Parental involvement is one of the key pillars to student success in academics and in life. Find time to help with homework, help out at school and to get to know their teachers and friends. Speak with their teachers about ways in which you can support their growth at home. Their teachers know what they need and can give great advice on how you can help at home.

Get a tutor

Remember what we were saying about building blocks? An in-home tutor (i.e. me!) can work with your child to find those missing building blocks in their knowledge and fill in the gaps. Not only can a one-on-one tutor bring your child up to speed, but they can actually help them to move ahead. Ensure that you select a tutor who also teaches executive skills. I ensure to teach my students executive skills and help them plan their study time, especially when they have a big test coming up or a large project due.

Executive skills are key

To excel at school, your child needs to have study and organizational skills which are known as executive functions. They have to be organized enough to ensure that homework and assignments are done on time and that they are sufficiently prepared for exams and tests. They also have to prioritize tasks and manage their time effectively to balance school, life and sport. Teaching executive functions will equip your child with the skills they need to succeed. This is something that I work with parents and students on in order to help the student develop and maintain excellent executive skills.

Learning styles

Children don’t all learn in the same way; some are visual learners while others are auditory or kinesthetic learners. Find out which learning styles your child responds to best and then help them to convert information so that they can study smarter, not harder. I use this handy learning style tool to help determine which learning style is best for each student on an individual level.

Routine maintenance

Start a routine. This will help your child to be organized and manage time effectively. Pick a time for homework when your child is rested and ready which means not right after school and not too late at night. Create a quiet environment free of distractions and siblings where your child can do homework in peace. Ensure that they are fed a healthy diet with tons of fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Encourage them to exercise every day and get outside as often as possible. I remember playing outside often as a child and utilizing my imagination much more than when I was inside playing video games. Even encouraging sports and/or martial arts is a good idea to help children get healthy exercise.

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