3 Helpful Ways to Respond to Your Child’s School Report

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For many parents, poor grades are a source of concern. Is your child facing an educational speed-bump that could put their plans for the future on hold?

It’s nearing the time of year again that brings the stress of receiving your child’s mid-year or end-of-year results. Their results could, at worst, eliminate their future possibilities altogether. Perhaps your child’s report results weren’t quite what you expected? You know your child and you know they are capable of so much more.

Adding to the stress is the fact that report cards can be confusing for many parents. Changing curriculum and reporting standards mean that end-of-year reports are often filled with jargon and terms that mean nothing to us as parents.

We want to lose our temper, take away our childrens’ privileges and demand more from them. But is this the best way of getting the best from our children?

A more gentle and soft approach, may in fact, lead to better results.

Firstly, you need to understand why their results aren’t as ‘fantastic’ as you think they should be. Only then will you be able to work out how to get their results back on track. To do this, and to make sure you are setting realistic expectations, follow these simple steps …

1. Talk With Your Child’s Teacher

If your child’s report doesn’t provide any detail about why they received the marks that they did, ask the teacher.

Could it be because your child did not understand the concepts covered? Or are they not handing in their homework or assignments? Did they perhaps just barely miss the cut-off for a higher mark?

It can be difficult to hear that your child is achieving what you consider to be average results, despite the fact that they are working as hard as they possibly can.

As a parent, you should always keep in mind that academic performance doesn’t remain the same throughout your child’s academic career. A period of average results does not mean your child will always perform at that level. As children go through the process of ‘growing up’, they experience ups and downs in all areas, including academics. After all, we’ve all been there, haven’t we?

A good teacher will help you understand the reasons your child has received the marks they did, so that you are able to respond appropriately and make the necessary changes.

CAPS South African Worksheets

2. Talk With Your Child

When you talk with your child about their report, try to ascertain if they have a realistic view of their situation. For example, your child may think they only sometimes forget to complete their work or assignments. But their teacher might reveal a consistent pattern of them neglecting their work.

Your child might also be under the impression that, because they have always done well in Maths before, they don’t need to worry too much about applying themselves in that subject. However, as Maths becomes increasingly abstract, some kids struggle and may need to put in extra effort. Their teacher can point you and your child in the right direction, and help provide remediation if necessary.

Often, lower than expected results can simply reflect the curriculum becoming more involved. Science, for example, can become more difficult for some children with the introduction of memorisation and lab work. When the curriculum becomes more difficult, your child will need to work harder just to maintain their results.

It’s also possible that your child has an especially strict teacher. If your child’s teacher is tough but fair, try to see it as a blessing even if it means lower marks. Children often learn more from tough teachers and tend to look back on them fondly. I certainly do!

It is very important to start the conversation with your child by praising the positive first. Congratulate them, not only on high results, but also on getting better grades in subjects they previously had difficulty with. Ask them which grade they are proudest of and why. Involve them in discussions about their successes and challenge them to explain how they got such a good result. It is far more useful to ask, “What went right?” for a good result to see how that achievement can translate to other more difficult areas.

When talking with your child about problem areas, focus on discussing the class itself. Ask if the work was too difficult or if the class went too fast. For example, if Maths is “useless” and “boring,” find ways in the future to show them how Maths is used in subjects they love, from shopping to computer games.

Also ask about homework. Were they getting enough time to complete it or were extra-curricular activities taking up too much time after school? If your child doesn’t have a special homework area, spend some time over the holidays with them brainstorming and creating a new study space for next year. We’ve written an article with tips on creating good study habits.

CAPS Practice Exams

3. Reflect on Your Own Expectations

Before over-analysing your child’s results, consider whether these results truly reflect your child’s strengths. If your child gets 80% and 70% in most subjects and 60% in one subject, it might not be something to worry too much about, as long as your child is making progress.

Many teachers are starting express their concern that their learners are increasingly worried that they must get 80% or more in every subject to please their parents. For a small number of gifted learners, a perfect report is attainable. But for most students, the idea of being a ‘straight-A’ student is unrealistic.

Keep perspective and be sure that your expectations are realistic at all times. The most important thing is that your child is learning. If they are progressing, that’s good. If they are falling behind, help and support them to get back on track.

South African CAPS Revision

We have many articles on our blog that show you ways to help improve your child’s exam results, and help with learning and studying.

If your child hasn’t performed as they should have during these exams, you might want to seriously consider giving WorksheetCloud a try. We have raving reviews from hundreds of parents whose children have improved their results from using WorksheetCloud.

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About the Author

Kayleen heads up the Customer Service team at WorksheetCloud. She has a degree in psychology and education from UCT, and taught in a classroom for several years with a special focus on children with learning challenges.

14 Comments

  1. sherin

    I am very much impressed by this blog and would like to get an English and Maths study guides

    Reply
    • Kayleen Olivier

      Hi Sherin

      Thanks for your message and interest in WorksheetCloud!

      WorksheetCloud is an online resource that gives you access to printable worksheets to help your child revise and practise for class tests and exams. All the worksheets are based on the South African CAPS curriculum which means that they are 100% relevant to the work your child is doing in class.

      We also include detailed memorandums that include the answers and model explanations and working-out for each and every question.

      We do not provide study guides, work summaries or lesson plans.

      You can see our full product tour which includes screenshots on this page: https://www.worksheetcloud.com/how-it-works/

      You can also see a full list of subjects and topics we currently cover on this page: https://www.worksheetcloud.com/worksheet-subjects-topics/

      WorksheetCloud 2 pricing is very simple and we offer two different membership plans to suit your needs.

      Online Worksheets + Printable Worksheets Plan:

      This plan gives you access to our brand new online worksheets that your child can complete interactively on their computer, tablet or smartphone. The online worksheets are marked automatically and give your child immediate feedback on their progress, including enrichment and full explanations for every question. This plan also gives you the option to print worksheets to complete with a pen and paper, as well as memorandums.

      Printable Worksheets Only Plan:

      This plan gives you access to printable worksheets that your child can print and complete on paper. You can also print the memorandum so that you can mark your child’s worksheet. The memorandum gives enrichment and full explanations for every question.

      Pricing:

      You can choose to pay on a monthly membership basis, or pay upfront for a 12 month annual membership.

      Online + Printable Worksheet Plan: R 120 once-off, plus R 95 per month
      Online + Printable Worksheet Plan Annual: R 975 once-off
      Printable Worksheet Only Plan: R 120 once-off, plus R 60 per month
      Printable Worksheet Only Plan Annual: R 720 once-off

      The pricing above is per learner.

      On 1 January each year, your child’s account is automatically upgraded to the next grade. So for example, if you sign up a Grade 4 learner now, then on 1 January that learner will be upgraded to Grade 5 at no extra cost.

      If you feel ready to sign up, you can get started here: https://www.worksheetcloud.com/sign-up/

      I hope this helps. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us at any time and I’ll be very happy to assist!

      Kayleen 🙂

      Reply
    • Desiree

      thank you , its very informative and i also would like guidance on how to support my child with maths

      Reply
      • Kayleen Olivier

        Hi Desiree

        Thanks for your message!

        WorksheetCloud is a great revision and practice resource, especially for detailed subjects likes Maths.

        WorksheetCloud is an online resource that gives you access to interactive and printable worksheets to help your child revise and practise for class tests and exams. All the worksheets are based on the South African CAPS curriculum which means that they are 100% relevant to the work your child is doing in class.

        We also include detailed memorandums that include the answers and model explanations and working-out for each and every question.

        You can see a full list of subjects and topics we currently cover on this page: http://www.worksheetcloud.com/worksheets/

        With WorksheetCloud, your child can practice what they cover in class and get a good indication of which areas need more study or assistance. Consistent practice of the concepts and formulas in Maths, goes a long way in improving performance and your child’s confidence to tackle this subject.

        I hope this helps. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us at any time or visit our FAQ at http://help.worksheetcloud.com for quick answers to your questions.

        Kayleen ?

        Reply
  2. Amanda

    Ok, so I understand the help that Worksheet Cloud offers when students are preparing for exams but how does it help them throughout the term?

    Reply
    • Kayleen Olivier

      Hi Amanda

      Thanks for your message!

      WorksheetCloud content can be used in a number of ways depending on your learner’s needs, it is not only an exam resource.

      Our worksheets can be used daily as part of the homework routine to ensure your learner is grasping the information covered; at the end of each week as a consolidation activity before those topics are elaborated on in class; or at the end of a topic or section ahead of a test or assessments. The worksheets can also be used as additional information for projects, orals or presentations.

      By working through the worksheets during each term, you can ensure that your child is up to date with the topics covered in class, preventing stress around exam times. We strongly believe that consistent practice of schoolwork during each term leads to consistently good marks overall.

      I hope this answers your question. Please let us know if you have any other questions, we’ll be happy to assist.

      Kayleen 🙂

      Reply
  3. Thuli

    I Absolutely need assistance, my son is in Grade 5 is not struggling for some reason this year.

    Reply
    • Kayleen Olivier

      Hi Thuli

      Thanks for your message!

      WorksheetCloud is a great revision and practice resource, to assist you child in mastering their school subjects and their ability to work independently.

      WorksheetCloud is an online resource that gives you access to interactive and printable worksheets to help your child revise and practise for class tests and exams. All the worksheets are based on the South African CAPS curriculum which means that they are 100% relevant to the work your child is doing in class.

      We also include detailed memorandums that include the answers and model explanations and working-out for each and every question.

      You can see a full list of subjects and topics we currently cover on this page: http://www.worksheetcloud.com/worksheets/

      With WorksheetCloud, your child can practice what they cover in class and build up their confidence in their abilities. It also helps you as a parent to monitor which areas need extra attention or assistance.

      I hope this helps. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us at any time or visit our FAQ at http://help.worksheetcloud.com for quick answers to your questions.

      Kayleen ?

      Reply
  4. mamohau

    hi Kayleen,my son failed his grade 9 and he acts as if things are normal please help

    Reply
    • Kayleen Olivier

      Hi Mamohau

      Thanks for your message.

      High school is a pivotal time in any teenager’s life and it can also be a very difficult period for many learners. Concepts become harder, workload increases, not to mention all the social stressors of high school as well. With these changes, many children can start struggling in school and parents may find themselves saying, “My kid is failing school.”

      This doesn’t happen overnight. For a child, failing school is a progression of missed assignments, missing concept understanding in classes and failed tests. As a parent, it’s very important for you to address the problem quickly and get your child back on track before they become completely derailed – which is exactly what you are doing!

      Identify the problem

      There could be a number of reasons your child is struggling. Your child might not understand the material, could be struggling managing time between schoolwork and sports, or just might not be doing the work. For some, the first time they are really being challenged and school isn’t as easy as before, they don’t know how to handle that. They don’t know how to study effectively, so they are reluctant to do the practice and give the attention needed to understand the content that is so confusing. Some learners simply do not want to study.

      Therefore, we first have to identify if the problem stems from a lack of understanding, a lack of motivation, or a personal issue. Whatever the issue is for your child, it’s important to seek assistance before the problem gets really out of control.

      Getting help

      Schedule an appointment with your child’s teacher if you haven’t already been contacted. Some teachers will reach out to a failing learner before contacting the parent, to address the problem, try to find the reason for the failing grade, and then set up a game plan to get them back on track.

      The teacher may suggest additional resources to assist your child. WorksheetCloud is a great revision and study resource, that helps your child to study the CAPS content covered in class and prepare for test, assessments and exam.

      If you’d like to know more about WorksheetCloud, you can take a look at our website here: https://www.worksheetcloud.com/

      Tips for parents

      Here are some basic six tips on how to help your child succeed in high school – and overcome lower than expected results:

      Be proactive.
      If you know your child falls behind in their schoolwork or doesn’t do so well when it comes to grades, talk to the teacher immediately – before it becomes an issue in that class, as frustration and anxiety can lead to behavioural issues as well as low self esteem for your child. Plus, you want the teachers’s input on how to intervene and get your child back on track.

      Make your expectations clear and stick with them.
      Did your child’s grades drop? It’s time to take away some of their privileges. Get in contact with their teacher again, too, and inform the them of the expectations you’ve set for your child.

      Attend parent-teacher meetings.
      Children whose parents regularly attend parent-teacher meetings tend to perform better in school. Attending these meetings helps to foster an honest and open communication channel with your child’s teacher, which makes addressing your concerns and any future concerns easier (work as a team to help your child).

      Create a routine.
      This should include homework time after school and dinner together – without phones. This can be difficult, but parents and guardians should have control and set rules for phone usage, video games and more if their child’s grades have dropped. Take away distractions from your child, such as, phones, video games etc., until they are able to manage their schoolwork.

      Don’t believe everything kids tell you.
      Yes, you read that right. Children have a tendency to lie about what’s going on at school and in the classroom. They might tell you the teacher doesn’t like them, but the issue could be that the child is having a behavior problem. Maybe they say the teacher goes too fast. If that’s the case, your child might not be asking questions if they have them. Contact the teacher to find out what exactly is happening in the classroom.

      Turning bad grades into good grades is a group effort among parents, teachers, and learners. As a parent, the best thing you can do is be involved, be consistent, be supportive and be patient. You might also find some of our blog articles on ‘motivating teenagers’ and ‘what questions to ask at parent-teacher meetings’ helpful. You can find them here: https://www.worksheetcloud.com/blog/

      I hope this helps. Please let us know if you have any other questions, or would like some more detailed information on the points above, we’ll be happy to help!

      Kayleen 🙂

      Reply
  5. Nabuweyah Essop

    Hi there
    My son is now in grade 5.Last year we got the shock of our life when we saw his first term results – which was before we signed up to worksheetcloud. We thought telling him to study and seeing him sit with his books, that was it…but the results proved otherwise…As soon as term 2 started, we worked on routine…and 3 weeks before exams started, we had a study schedule going and did one subject per day for 1.5hours…guess what – it worked…and we have been using that technique since then…he even now helps me prepare the study schedule, etc…and is enjoying the worksheets/pre exam papers. First week of schedule, we first summarize what he needs to study…second week, we work thru in more detail…last week – he only works thru worksheets – and he loves it…even looks forward to me marking it with a red pen…lol…

    Reply
    • Anthony Meyer

      Hi Nabuweyah

      Thanks for your comment on our blog article, as well as sharing how WorksheetCloud is working for you.

      We’re happy to hear that studying is a lot easier now for both you and your son, and that he enjoys working through our worksheets.

      We have no doubt that every parent who sees your comment and implements it in their study routine, will benefit greatly from it.

      The WorksheetCloud Team 🙂

      Reply
  6. Priya

    Thank you for sharing such a nice article, it’s very informative and I also would like guidance on how to support my child with maths.

    Reply
    • Kyle Roets

      Hi Priya

      Thanks for your comment!

      We are glad to hear that you found this article useful. Please let us know if there are any other blog topics you would like for us to cover in the future.

      You can help your learner practice their basic Maths skills (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) for FREE using MyMathsApp from WorksheetCloud.

      MyMathsApp is our totally free, no sign up required Maths app that allows your child to practice an unlimited number of sums. It works perfectly on mobile devices which means children (and adults) can practise Maths exercises anywhere; use it on your smartphone, tablet or computer.

      You can find MyMathsApp here: http://www.mymathsapp.com

      Please let us know if there are any other blog topics you would like for us to cover in the future or if you have any questions regarding our content.

      Kyle 🙂

      Reply

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