Q:

My sixth-grader, who just started middle school, brought home a report card loaded with C grades last week. In elementary school, she always got A's and B's. I'm quite disappointed, and she is very upset. How can this be turned around? -- Disappointed

A:

Expressing your anger or frustration over these less than desired grades to your child is not going to solve anything. Since your child has been a good student, it's important to look at what has changed to get her back on the path to good grades.

One thing that you need to consider is that middle school is usually quite different from elementary school. Your child is now faced with a number of different teachers with different personalities to cope with as well as demands. She may not yet have solved the riddle of how to handle this new experience. Plus, the curriculum is probably more demanding.

The first step is to talk calmly with your child to see if she has a handle on why her grades have slipped and how she might be able to turn things around. With this information in hand, you and your daughter should talk with her teachers. Your daughter may even be surprised to find out why she has received the grades that she did. And you both must be sure to ask the teachers how the child can do better in each class. She may need to work on different things for each class. However, more than likely there will be a common thread of what she needs to do. Make a list of these things. Also, be sure to ask the teachers if your daughter needs any special help and where it can be found.

Once you and your daughter know what she needs to do to get better grades, help her begin to make the necessary changes. They may fall into the following areas:

  • -Organization: Your child needs a planner that has a calendar where she can note important dates for quizzes, tests and projects. The planner also should have a section for each subject.
  • -Study Plan: Study time for quizzes and tests needs to be planned. Beyond this, your daughter may need help from you or her teachers on ways to study for quizzes and tests.
  • -Homework: Simply doing homework faithfully every night may be sufficient to improve your child's grades.
  • -Challenging Work: When the child does not understand assigned work, she needs to get help at once from the teacher, a parent, online or a tutor or learning center.