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3 minutes reading time (569 words)

"Yes, Virginia—Grades Do Matter" Or, My Attempt to Make My Kids See It This Way

It’s that time of year: time to stress about sending holiday cards, time to battle the shopping frenzy, time to sneak one last glass of eggnog (I’m not judging); oh, and time for REPORT CARDS!

 For years now it’s been a simple stampede of S for satisfactory and N for needs improvement and E for….(what the heck is E for anyway)?

 We made it through junior high with mostly As, and a few Bs sprinkled in for spice. Not bad we thought. And it’s all practice and building and preparing for high school, right?

 As a parent what can you really expect from your high school student? Do they really understand as a freshman that these grades matter? As in—matter which college, and matter how much money out of their pocket, oh and the little matter of affording to EAT during the college years or not?

 The other night my 5th grader was listening to a conversation my freshman and I were having about whether getting one B is really all that big of a deal. The younger one said, “Who cares about grades anyway?” (She thinks a report card is just a piece of paper you bring home and shove in a box along with 3rd grade sloppy essays and glitter covered kindergarten art.)

 I explained in no uncertain terms.

 Grades DO matter. College matters. And it’s getting more and more expensive. Scholarships will make a huge difference and good grades will decide the bottom line in the university money game.

I simply expect my kids to do their best. Do I want them to get straight As? You bet your 10th grade report card I do! I know it’s important to be realistic and supportive. If my kid is struggling to pull a B in geometry and I see her spending extra time and effort, then a B is perfect and we’ll celebrate with all 31 flavors! But what do you do when you see a B on midterms and then find out assignments are missing and a recent test was a flop, (a test they can re-take by the way)?

That’s when it’s time to jump in and help the kid understand this isn’t junior high  anymore, and S for Satisfactory is in the far distant past. When all the kid’s other classes result in As but one class is lagging, it’s time to pull out your pom poms and short skirt and start up the Parent Cheer Squad. It’s time to help your freshman learn the fine art of STUDYING. And TIME MANAGEMENT. And PRIORITIES.

Okay, yes we took away texting for a few weeks.

We limited any type of “screen” time after 8 p.m.

And we made it clear we believe she can do better, and met with the teacher to map out exactly how.

It may sound like I’m doing the work for her, but I already took geometry (and memorizing all those theorems isn’t something I’d ever repeat)!  We will love and support all of our kids despite a little thing like grades. But until the last bell rings, we’re here to cheer our kids to do their best and send them off to college with the skills to put the smackdown on the 101 crowd.

Do grades matter? Yes.

Does it matter when you help your kids do their best? Absolutely.

Does parent involvement matter? Ask me again in 4 years.

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