In a few days, you will receive your child's report card for the year. Between the expectations of success and the efforts that have been put in all year, will you be disappointed with the results?
Even if we do everything to hide our apprehensions about the report card and what it reveals about the state of our child's learning, we are still waiting for this first report card with a little nervousness.
It is still possible to calm this anxiety, points out Anne-Marie Delisle, psychoeducator. She suggests first assessing her own perception of the report card, by asking herself a few questions. “What does the newsletter mean to me? ", "How does my child react to assessments? “What does the report card measure: learning, stress tolerance or level of exam anxiety?” »
… and above all, adds Ms. Delisle, we can test the following hypothesis: my anxiety about the bulletin is perhaps linked to my own story as a student, which contains failures that have never been digested?
After the reflection, the discussion
It is still possible to be very disappointed with the notes and comments that will be on the report card… So, what do we do?
First rule,essential: do not argue or blame your child. “I would ask him if he applied himself, if he has difficulties … we must also dissect the ballot, also targeting his strengths, indicates Ms. Delisle. Ask him what's going well and then: what did you do to make it go well? »
Questions and comments must be constructive, adds the psychoeducator: after the strengths, we target the difficulties. Our child has more difficulties in French? We ask him if he likes this material. He answers us with a well-felt no? We can then try to find out if he likes certain aspects, exercises or learning of the French course.
We can also find part of the cause of our child's school problems by looking outside of classes and class subjects: worries or torments other than pedagogical may have played a role in his difficulties. Is he being bullied, being left out, feeling good at school?
Throughout this little evaluation session, listening – real listening! – is essential: parents often tend to put words in their children's mouths, a little habit to ban!
After discussion, action
Talking to our child's teacher is the first step in tackling the disappointing report card. “In particular, it is necessary to check whether the strategy used by the teacher to explain such an exercise or show such a subject is different from thatwho is employed by the parent; if so, it can create confusion for the child when doing his lessons,” says Ms. Delisle.
Homework and lessons are also one of the keys to success: we must therefore also look in this direction to aim for an increase in report card grades. Would our child be more efficient if he did this task at another time? Is the place where he is doing his lessons appropriate? Could we consider the possibility of him doing his homework with a friend so that they encourage each other?
The psychoeducator, however, recommends caution to parents who are considering introducing home remedial exercises. “It would be useless to make him do dictation after dictation if he does not understand certain rules of French”. Hence the importance, in this particular case, of discussing with your child's teacher to clearly identify his or her weaknesses.
The make-up classes
They can be useful for some children, but Ms. Delisle recommends combining this tool with the efforts that parents should also devote to this mission at home. They must also be integrated into an intervention plan, which begins with an assessment by a psychoeducator.
Especially since in many schools, the services of the remedial teacher are not accessible to students who have passed the third grade. Parents can then turn to the private sector,whose costs average $70 per hour. An expense that many cannot afford!
Homework help, offered in schools or school daycare services, is however a relevant alternative.
Of course you want to help your child more than anything, but you feel overwhelmed by this mission? Using a guardian may be a valid option. Tutors can be ex-teachers, pedagogy students or remedial pedagogues. The hourly rate for their services ranges between $38 and $50.
If you can't afford these professionals and you have a gifted high school student among your neighbors, you could ask them to help your child…
Grandparents can also provide invaluable help with homework and lessons, says Ms. Delisle.
Prevent and relativize…
Your child IS not their report card; you have to dissociate your school results and your learning from your personality, underlines the psychoeducator.
According to Ms. Delisle, parents and the school overemphasize the importance of the report card. “In fact, the bulletin is representative of what? The teacher collects the marks of the exams, compositions and other works and then makes an average. If the child did not like the subject of a composition, for example, and he failed this work, this influences his final grade…”, she explains.
Between the competitionbetween children and aunts who brag about their child's report card grades in front of ours, the pressure on the shoulders of our young students is not negligible and that is why it is so important to take their academic pulse throughout the year. “You have to listen; for example, your child receives a very negative test result. He tells you that he slept very badly the day before, it could be anxiety…”, continues the psychoeducator.
Of course, the picture is different with an elementary school student: it can be difficult to start a discussion with him. It is then necessary to observe his attitude on returning from school or in the morning before leaving and note the changes in his behavior.
- Back from school… The place of parents in school learning, Marie-Claude Béliveau, CHU Ste-Justine collection for parents
- I have pain at school – Affective disorders and school difficulties, Marie-Claude Béliveau, CHU Ste-Justine collection for parents
- Guide my child through school life, Germain Duclos, CHU Ste-Justine collection for parents