This topic always got to me, because the answer is so simple. It’s not as simple to enact, but the concept shouldn’t be a mystery.
It all boils down to a circle of communication and involvement.
You as a parent NEED to be involved with your child’s education. If you don’t know what subjects they have, what their next test is going to cover, or what their grades were on their last test/quiz, then you’re probably not all that involved. Homework is boring, but less so if mom or dad is there to guide them through it (NOT to do it for them, but to help and encourage them).
That brings us to communication. How can you know what’s up with your kid? You have to TALK TO THEM ABOUT IT. Yes, you have to become what annoys every kid. The parent who will not only ask “how’d your day go” but press further with “what’d you learn in ____ ” today? And “when’s your next test?” and other more specific questions. Keep in mind that your child isn’t likely to be proud of a poor grade, and isn’t going to just spout out “Hey mom, I got a D!”. If you don’t ask, they’re not going to tell you.
That brings us back to involvement. Teachers don’t like to see kids fail. This applies even more to the lower grades, because failing usually indicates poor social development. While it may come as a shock, teachers also may not be able to notice when a child isn’t grasping the content matter. When the parent is involved, steps can be taken to correct this before the test comes along.
And back again to communication. You have to have an open channel between your child’s teacher and yourself. Some kids are so unhappy with their grades, or so out of touch with the purpose of their education, that they will lie about their grades to keep mom and dad off their back. Have an understanding with their teacher that in the event grades start to slip, you want to be notified.
Whether you like it or not, the most effective way to keep the grades up is to work together with your child and his teacher.
-Keep the child focused on school. Playtime can wait until the homework is done. You’ll be amazed at how dedicated they’ll become to their homework after class when they can’t go out until it’s done.
-Have a good explanation for why each subject is important. It’s much harder for the student to take a subject seriously if you don’t as a parent.
And above all else, if the child’s performance is dropping, you can usually pinpoint the cause, and as a parent you need to take action to correct it. The kid who spends 4 hours a day on the phone and 30 minutes on homework needs to have their phone taken away. Likewise with video games, TV, cards, sports, or whatever else is taking time away from schoolwork. Mom and Dad need to have the final word when it comes down to this.
So the secret? Be a part of your kids life. Not too hard to say, but yeah.. it takes a good amount of time and effort. But hey, you knew that when you decided to have a child right?