Q:

How can I help my middle-school and high-school children improve their grades this school year? -- Improving Grades

A:

You are definitely wise to help your children get good grades, as they will open more doors for them in the future, from getting better jobs to earning more money to simply feeling more confident about their abilities. Here are four tips from the "Simple Way to an A" learning system that you can use to put them on the road to better grades.

1. Family Calendar Program: Every Sunday night, spend 10 minutes with each of your children and his or her personal calendar. Talk over the major events coming up for the individual children in the next week, from tests to dentist appointments, and note them on the calendar. When a child comes home, he or she is to look at the calendar and plan homework assignments and the evening around calendar events.

2. Organization: If your children can see and touch their books, homework, pens and so on quickly, they are organized. Being organized also means having the habit of packing up their books and materials in the same place, in the same way, every night after finishing their homework and studying. When they're organized, things come into focus quickly, and time is not wasted looking for things at the last minute the next morning.

3. Once in a While Things: It's hard for children to remember things that they deal with just once in a while, such as P.E. clothes. To solve this, they can put these items on their calendars and then put them together so they can't be left behind. For example, they can tie gym shoes and clothes together and then tie them to their backpacks the night before.

4. Test-Taking Made Easier: Plan -- Find the questions with the highest point value and do them first. Prioritize -- If children are unsure of an answer, they can use a number system to show level of confidence in an answer and go back and answer questions later. Strategize -- For example, when matching answers, read the longer column first, as it will give more clues to the answer. Then look for the correct answer in the shorter column.