Our 10-year-old is a real go-getter who truly wants to do well in school. One of his goals is to make the honor roll every grading period; however, he does struggle at times to make it. How can we help him meet this goal? -- Proud Parents


Believe it or not, making the honor roll is a realistic goal for most children, especially in elementary school. Getting there is a combination of working hard, using good study skills and focusing on doing their best.

Parents can help by making sure their children know how their teachers grade so their effort is placed in the right direction. Children do not always understand that tests are more important than quizzes, some projects make up a major portion of a grade, and homework and/or class participation can play a big role in grades. Typically, teachers provide this information at back-to-school nights, or you can get it by phoning or e-mailing them.

It simply isn't as easy sometimes as it is other times for children to make the honor roll. A subject can suddenly become more difficult to master. Talk to your son about school every day and look at the work he brings home. Then at the first sign of trouble, you'll be able to give or get him the help he needs. Also, outside events may impinge negatively on study time. Watch that your son is not spending too much time on television, video games and extracurricular activities.

Beyond these things, one of the most important things that you can do is make sure that your child has good study skills. Successful students know how to organize their work. Teach your son to develop a plan of attack before beginning his homework. And encourage him to follow one big secret to success in school -- have him set aside time for review so he always feels on top of his work.

Impress on your son that spending his time wisely at school will make getting good grades easier for him. He can learn so much by being a good listener. He can also limit homework time by finishing all assigned work at school.