5 Tips for Reacting the Right Way to School Grades

school grades

Among my five children, there are some who get good school grades very easily, and some who don’t. That’s why I’m so glad someone gave me this great advice, “Worry less about the grade at the top of the page, and more about how your child got it.”

That makes sense! Here’s how it works in real life. So my child brings home a C. This child studied very hard. This child gave it his best. I am not going to get upset about that C. Now example two: this child brought home a B- on a report. This child didn’t study at all. This child didn’t even try to give it his best. I will probably talk to this child about that grade.

You see, even if a child makes an A, I still want to be sure he has good study habits, a good work ethic, and understands how to prepare. And for my children who things don’t come easily to? I want them to try their best so that I can then step in and offer help where they need it. I might get them a tutor, work with them myself, or talk to the teacher. I will also praise their effort, because although there may not always be a grade for that, I want my child to feel appreciated for doing his best. [Click to Tweet]

Here are 5 tips for reacting the right way to school grades.

1. Assess yourself.

Before you talk with your child, look at yourself and see what your motives are regarding your children’s grades. Answer the question, “Why do I want my child to make good grades?” Do you want them to make good grades so that you can look good in front of their teachers? Do you want them to make good grades so that they can go to a prestigious college? Once you can identify what’s behind your desire for them to make good grades, consider if it’s a legitimate reason and remember that your children are not their grades.

2. Look for the good.

Look beyond the grades and remind yourself of all of the wonderful qualities you child has. Is she doing well emotionally and socially? That’s a huge A+ right there. Is she kind and responsible at home? Does she try really hard at school? Start from a point of praise and move on from there.

3. Take a deep breath.

If you need to cool down before you talk to your child, be sure to take the time you need. You don’t want to swoop down on your child when you’re in a state of anger or when you’re tired or irritated about something else. Breath deeply and pray.

4. Speak with love.

This is your child you’re talking about here. You’d give your life for this person, so give him your love. Don’t name call or generalize. Think about the impact your words are going to have on your child. He will likely remember what you say for a very long time.

5. Take action.

Before you’ve talked with your child, investigate plans of action. If you’re going to implement new study rules, or hire a tutor, have those ideas in place so that you can present them to your child at the end of your talk. Give your child hope. Give your child understanding. Give your child love.

Looking for more ways to make this year count? Check out my ebook, Every School Year Counts

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In The Comments

How do you react to your children's school grades -- the good or the bad!?


  • Mary Lou Guinn

    Thanks for the reminder, we are
    Going thru this right now. My oldest struggles while my youngest excels in school.

    • We hear you! See our response to Mrs. above. 🙂

  • Bnad

    Great suggestions. We also ask our kids if there is anything they would like to improve upon before the next marking period and then help them make a plan about how to achieve that. I find this helps them focus on next steps instead of just past performance.

  • mrsjkoster

    My children score very well on their standardized testing. They are capable of doing very well in school. And I am blessed with good, kind children who volunteer and eat veggies. For my two oldest (boys), the trouble with their grades is missing assignments. They either don’t do the work, or do it and turn it in late, or don’t turn it in. I want to promote good work habits and good work ethic. This doesn’t seem to be a problem for my daughter. Any ideas?

    • Hello. Well, you could be telling the story of my son. 🙂 Same kind of kid, same kind of missing work. Here’s what I’ve tried, at the suggestion of his teachers: when he gets home from school I let him play — but no electronics. So it’s either play outside, play ping pong with me, or something else. Next, I ask him to pull out his binder and look at his homework sheet and show me his assignments. We then go through each class and talk about what’s due and when.
      I set him up in quiet spot near me, and check in as he does his work. When he’s finished, I check it over and make sure each class is covered. Then he puts away his work so it’s ready for the next day.
      As his teachers have said he’s not organized, I remind him to pause before each class and think about what he needs and what he needs to take home. I also stay in touch wit his teachers, checking in to make sure he’s on track.
      Finally, if my son is disrespectful to me during the homework process, he loses electronics for that day. (I warn him in advance.)
      Oh, also try to reward the boys when they do get their work in, and have consequences for when they don’t. But, as moms, we don’t want to be too hard on them if they’re trying — especially when they’re trying. 🙂 We hope this helps!

      • jeannie

        My son also struggles with school. I followed a very similar approach to what you do with yours while he was in lower school (4-5th), except that we already have no technology during the week since it proved to be too great of a distraction. Now that he is in 6th, he is still struggling, but we are starting to butt heads as he enters into the development stage of “I don’t want Mom”. He takes so long to do his homework that he has little time for relaxing or unwinding. When he plays after school (from about 4-5) its too hard to reign him in to focus on what he really doesn’t want to do and it drags out for the rest of the evening. My question is, when do you let go of the reigns? My husband is of the opinion that he must reap what he sows and has a very “hands off” approach. I have three boys, and quite honestly, I don’t think I could keep up with his assignments for him anymore. Its very difficult to see him fail, but our relationship is suffering when I try to be involved. PRAYING A LOT!

  • GMA

    Thanks for sharing. Great ideas and ones for me to ponder as I assist with my grandchildren. The hardest thing is my grandchildren come to my home after school 2 days a week and the other grandparent’s home the other 2 days a week. While we all need to work together as a team, the other grandparent’s style is very different than mine and voices in front of the grandchildren, that there is no need for homework. This is very frustrating to me as a grandparent and educator. So the children adjust to the different styles of learning as best as they can but if we were all on the “same page”, the children would have greater success. Being in different homes is tough on young children, actually all children of all ages, and having to handle differences bestowed on them while trying to learn is very unfortunate. Thankfully, my grandchildren are smart in many ways but they are at an age where they do need assistance. They take a 30 – 45 minute break when they first get home from school, and like you said, no electronics, as they need to expel some energy and do need some nourishment. Then we discuss what needs to be done that afternoon/week and they do what they can on their own, asking for help if needed. If they have brought home new math, I will check on them frequently in the beginning to ensure they have an understanding of what they need to do. As with life, some days go better than others.

  • MommyMegs

    My 9 year old son struggles in public school. He is very intelligent, but lacks motivation to even try to succeed. When I pick him up from school, I let him have a break for snack and some unwind time before starting homework. He is overwhelmed with the amount of work he is expected to complete. Even if I sit with him and guide him, it is a struggle. I am seriously considering taking him out of public school and homeschooling him. He is motivated to learn about the Lord, so I am searching for a Christian-based homeschooling curriculum, one where he can go at his own pace. I can’t seem to find any website that gives multiple options of homeschooling programs. Can anyone give me any recommendations of a program they use or at least a website that gives a list of Christian homeschooling programs? We live in Tampa (Hillsborough County, Florida). Thank you!

    • Tania

      Seton homeschooling is a great start, but there is also Kolbe, too. You can totally work at your own pace. I know Seton is located in Virginia, but they allow standard mail, email, and web resources. They have people you can call most hours of the day. They have online testing available and can keep track of test scores and report cards. We have found a lot of success with them.