There are at least three situations that should be a ‘red flag’ for any parent. The first would be if your child dropped 10% or more in core courses–Math, Science, Social Studies and Language Arts. Calculate their average from their final marks and compare this number to their average final marks from the previous year. They may have a 63% average this year compared with a 73% average from the previous year. A drop of 10% or more is a cause for concern if there is no good reason for this decrease, such as a lengthy illness, a move, or a difficult family situation. Most core courses build on a foundation from year to year. When this foundation is filled with holes from missing information or incorrect information from previous grades, the whole structure begins to fall apart. This can occur anywhere along their school years, but is most likely to occur between grades 3 to 4, 6 to 7, and 9 to 10.
The second situation would be if your child consistently averages below a 65% in their core courses go math 4th grade. Most students can do very well in options, but when you look at only the core courses; their average can be fairly low. Generally, this student will have been struggling in school for quite some time and may either be giving up or about to.
Finally, some students do well in some of the core courses but not in others. For example, I see several students who have 80-85% in Math and Physics, but get 60-65% in Language Arts and Social. If there is a difference of greater than 10% among the core course final marks, that is a reason to take notice. A low mark in one course is usually about losing interest in the actual course content. For example, a student may be interested in Math, Physics, and Chemistry, but truly dislike Social and Language Arts. Their marks will show this with good grades in the courses they like and poor marks in the others.
This year, when the report cards come home, have a closer look. Calculate the averages and see if your child falls into one or more of these categories. If so, you will likely need to take some action, such as seeking additional resources to support your child’s learning.
We all have gone through it and know how it feels to sit through endless hours buried in a mountain of textbooks. Some of us would just memorize the text right off the pages while others lift the context from them. I would recommend the latter anyday.
Having an excellent memory is great, especially when you have to remember numerous formulas. However, when it comes to absorbing theories, the better way of getting through all the chapters is by comprehending them. It is easier to lift the context than the entire content.
What was your favorite subject in school? Which was your least favorite? Why did you hate that subject? Was it because you felt that you could not understand it well or found it too tough? Did it occur to you that you probably found it too tough because you did not like it or rather believed that it was too difficult?