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Good Grades and Bad Grades

How important are grades in school?

When my daughter started school, we talked about grades and what was important. I explained that she shouldn't look at grades as good or bad, but instead as low or high grades. I told her that getting a high grade means you understand what you are learning, while low grades mean you may not understand and need additional help. I told her that as long as she always did her best that her dad and I would always be proud of her.

In my opinion, we focus too much on what the grade is, and not enough on whether or not the child is understanding the concept of the assignments. Often, when children don't complete assignments it's because they don't understand and don't want to ask for help. It is up to us, as parents, to look at the work our children bring home. See which problems they are missing and ask them if they need help understanding them. We need to review progress reports, communicate with teachers, and be there for our children.

Last year, my daughter received a low grade on a math test on 2D shapes. She was having a hard time remembering the shapes with five, six, and more sides. Instead of getting mad at her for receiving a low grade, I told her that we would figure out a way for her to remember the shapes. I printed out a page with the shapes and their names and we thought of fun and silly ways for her to remember the names. I began to quiz her while we went on walks, ate dinner, got ready for bed, etc. When she had her next test on 2D shapes at the end of the semester, she got them all right! She was so excited, and her dad and I were so proud of her.

Just like us, our children have strengths and weaknesses. There are some subjects they accel at, while they may struggle in other areas. We can't expect our children to master every subject and to get high grades all of the time. We have to expect them to struggle and need help. At these times, they need their parents to support them, believe in them, and let know they are loved. Afterall, what is important is that they are learning and comprehending, not just getting straight A's.

Be your children's biggest cheerleader and supporter. Don't put too much focus on their weaknesses, and instead let them build on their strengths. It's important that they know no one is perfect and that they are enough just the way they are.



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