The Real Reason Your Child Procrastinates

They procrastinate getting ready, then walk out the door without their soccer cleats. They procrastinate studying, and no one knows they need help until the bad grade comes back on a big test. They procrastinate on a project, and the whole family suffers through a stressful late night before the due date.

As a parent, you’d love to help your child conquer their procrastination tendencies, but you can’t do that until you understand the underlying causes that drive the bad habit. In today’s blog, I want to help you understand why kids really procrastinate. This information will equip you to instill a sense of responsibility in your child—and regain some order and peace in your home along the way!

The Real Reason Kids Procrastinate

Before we dive into why kids struggle with procrastination and disorganization, let’s debunk some myths. No, you haven’t failed them as a parent. No, they don’t have insurmountable personality flaws. No, they’re not necessarily lazy or bored or overwhelmed. The problem isn’t a reflection of their character or your parenting. It’s simply a sign that their executive functioning skills need further development.

Harvard University defines executive functioning skills as “the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully. Just as an air traffic control system at a busy airport safely manages the arrivals and departures of many aircraft on multiple runways, the brain needs this skill set to filter distractions, prioritize tasks, set and achieve goals, and control impulses.”

The good news is that these processes and skills can be taught and learned. Your child, who is continually forgetting everything from homework assignments to marching band instruments, can grow and improve. Don’t lose hope!

The Eight Executive Functioning Skills

Experts have identified eight executive functioning skills students need in order to succeed in school, work, and life. Understanding these key skills is the first step in helping your child improve their ability to manage their time, assignments, and goals independently:

  1. Inhibition is the ability to inhibit or stop distractions and impulses that can derail focus.
  2. Initiation is the ability to get started, especially when you don’t want to or when a task feels overwhelming.
  3. Shifting is the ability to “go with the flow” and recognize when things are out of one’s control.
  4. Emotional Control is the ability to process big feelings realistically and effectively.
  5. Working Memory is the ability to use visuals to track what one needs to remember or complete.
  6. Planning and Organization is the ability to think beyond one day and plan out long-term assignments.
  7. Materials Organization is the ability to keep digital files and paperwork organized and accessible.
  8. Self-Monitoring is the ability to accurately assess one’s performance and status.

As you read through that list, you may be able to identify some skills as harder or easier for your child. Recognizing areas of difficulty will help you know which skills your child needs to strengthen to improve their overall executive functioning.

How to Strengthen Executive Functioning Skills

Executive functioning skills are just that: skills. They can be learned, just like dribbling a basketball or solving math problems with long division. Yes, some of these abilities will come more naturally to some children than others, but nearly everyone can learn and strengthen these skills with guidance.

At Educational Connections, our executive functioning coaches help students learn and grow with…

  • Tools and Strategies – Students can use many different systems and strategies to stay organized, manage their time, and track their assignments. Our executive functioning coaches help students learn to identify, customize, or develop systems that fit their personality and needs.
  • Routines and Practice – Executive functioning skills take practice! Our coaches help students get into a rhythm of practicing critical skills daily and weekly so they can grow in confidence and independence.
  • Outside Support – Many students need outside support and accountability while strengthening these skills. Children often balk at their parents’ attempts to help but embrace the guidance of other adults. (Don’t take it personally—their resistance to you is a normal part of growing up!) Our coaches can provide that third-party support as students gain independence.

If your child struggles with executive functioning, we can help!

Our executive functioning coaches are trained experts who can help your child grow in these critical areas. With the help of our coaches and convenient online tutoring options, your child can grow in confidence, independence, and responsibility. (And your entire family can enjoy a more predictable and organized routine!) Click below to get started with a free consultation today.

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3 Good Reasons Why You Should Study for AP Exams

Studying for an AP exam can be a daunting task. The tests are long, in-depth, and cover a year’s worth of material. Especially as “spring fever” sets in, your child may be tempted to study a few times here and there or cram at the last minute, then wing it on test day. But there are three good reasons to study well for your AP Exams. Discuss these with your child and ask how they plan to prepare for test day. Then, click below to match with an AP coach who can help your student study and perform their very best.

Get an AP Coach

#1. Passing an AP Exam Can Save You Thousands of Dollars

You probably already know that passing an AP exam gives your child college credit, but have you thought about the amount of money that could save your family? In Virginia, in-state students spend an average of $500-800 per credit hour on college courses. Passing just one AP Exam could allow a student to test out of a 3-credit class, saving you between $1500 and $2400! If they attend an out-of-state university or private college, the savings can be even higher.

#2: They Can Kiss That Frustrating Subject Goodbye

If your child dislikes the subject of their AP course and doesn’t plan to use it in their career, they have another compelling reason to study hard! If they don’t pass, they’ll likely have to take a similar course all over again just to fulfill general education requirements in college. Don’t let all that hard work from this year go to waste! Any frustration with the class should drive students to put in the extra effort now so they can say goodbye to memorizing dates or practicing quadratic equations once and for all.

#3: They’ll Have More Opportunities in College

The more credits a student can get through AP exams, the fewer requirements they’ll have to fulfill in college. This frees up their schedule to double major, do an internship, hold a part-time job, take random classes that sound interesting, or even graduate early! College is an exciting time to explore, learn, and prepare for the future. Passing AP exams now will give your child more opportunities later.

Will Your Child Be Taking AP Exams? Here’s What You Need to Know

Now that you know studying for AP Exams is well worth the effort, what’s the best way to prepare for test day? Here are a few tips from our leading AP Coaches:

  • Put test day on your calendar now. You can click here for this year’s AP timeline from College Board. Pay special attention to testing days and the tip on using AP classroom resources.
  • Start preparing now. AP exams cover a LOT of material. Last-minute studying is stressful and ineffective. We offer 8-hour AP Tutoring programs spread out across the semester to help students prepare.
  • Devote study time to every subject. If your student is taking multiple AP exams, we recommend a unique AP Tutor and 8-hour plan for each one. Remember, each test could potentially save you thousands of dollars, so every subject is worth the effort!
  • Get a coach. AP Exams are different from any other exams your child has encountered thus far. They will have to go beyond memorizing facts and learn how to connect big concepts in a new way. Knowing how to identify the Big Idea for the science exam or answer Document Based Questions (DBQs) for the history exam requires a new approach to studying and practice. Plus, students will need to develop strategic study guides to use on the exam and practice answering free-response essays in timed settings. Our coaches help students review the materials, create a study guide, and practice with the new testing style so they can achieve their best possible score.

Don’t rely too much on the open-notes concept. AP Exams have allowed for open notes for years, and they still require a lot of studying. Having an open-notes exam makes creating a good study guide all the more critical. If the guide is too long, the student will struggle to find what they need in a timed setting. If the guide is too short, they may leave out important concepts they’ll need to reference in the test. That’s why our AP Coaches help students compile a study guide that will be most helpful on the test.

Get an AP Coach

Step 1: Get an AP Coach

We’ll start with a free consultation to learn more about your child’s needs. We’ll then match him or her with their ideal AP Coach based on their course material, schedule, and learning style.

Step 2: Receive Individualized Tutoring (Online!)

The AP Coach will provide eight hours of individualized, virtual tutoring sessions to help your child review the material, practice timed writing, and prepare for the unique style of AP Exams.

Step 3: Create a Study Guide

Students identify what’s important from each unit, then create a study guide that makes it easier to study effectively now and find critical information later during the open-notes exam.

Get an AP Coach

Don’t let spring fever, distance learning fatigue, or subject frustrations cost your child thousands of dollars in college credits or missed opportunities available to those with more freedom in their schedule. We’re here to help your student prepare and perform their very best!

Just click here to request an AP Coach or hit reply to email us directly with any additional questions. We’re here for you!

Missing in Action: Where Is Your Child’s Homework?

Even if you’ve been out of school for decades, it’s easy to remember that gut-punch feeling of sitting in class and suddenly remembering you forgot your homework. It’s happened to all of us—even though the systems were pretty straightforward when we were in school. Your teachers likely sent home a piece of paper with a list of assignments or wrote them on the whiteboard and waited for everyone to carefully copy them into personal planners.

Times have, of course, changed. Assignments are given, organized, completed, and submitted digitally. Systems and platforms differ from one teacher to the next. Add in the chaos of virtual or hybrid schooling, and it’s no wonder so many assignments skip through the cracks. Without as much in-person instruction, schools are forced to be more lenient, leaving it up to parents to ensure children complete their work and stay on track.

So how can you help your child stay on top of assignments without feeling like the homework police? That’s what today’s blog is all about. Read on for three simple steps to keep your child organized in this digital age. And why stop there? Get more of our homework tips here!

Step 1: Create a Site Map Together

If your parents were closely involved in your schooling, you might remember them checking your folder for homework assignments to ensure you completed everything and stayed on track. That parental support is helpful, especially with younger students, but the process is now a bit more complicated than quickly checking a folder. Especially when your child has multiple teachers, you may find that the platforms and procedures can vary slightly from one to the next. It can be scattered and confusing, but a site map can help.

A site map is a guide you create to keep track of where assignments are posted for each class so nothing gets missed. Sit down with your child and go through each class to review the systems for finding and submitting assignments. Take note of where everything is and any logins you may need, then compile the information in one handy guide.

Your child can then refer to this site map (with or without your help, depending on their age and executive functioning skills) every week to systematically check assignments for every class and teacher.

Step 2: Create a System That Works for You

If your child has only one teacher, he or she may have a straightforward system that works for your family. If so, great! Follow that one. But if you find your child is regularly missing assignments, work together to create a unified system that fits your family best.

Maybe your child can pick out an “old-school” paper planner to track assignments on a weekly and monthly basis. (This can be especially helpful as students get older and big projects have multiple milestones spread out over time!) Or perhaps you both prefer to use Google Calendar or another online calendar that you can both access from any device at any time.

You may also decide to get a whiteboard, where your child can write out their assignments at the start of each week and strike through them as they go. This process keeps students organized and inspires a feeling of accomplishment that motivates them to stay focused and finish everything on their to-do list.

Whatever you decide, start with the site map from step one to ensure no assignments are missed, then transfer them weekly into the system you create together for a more unified task-tracker that works for you.

Step 3: Focus on Completion over Perfection

As the parent, it’s not on you to ensure every homework assignment is perfect and error-free. This level of oversight will leave your child discouraged and resentful of your input. Instead, focus on helping your child track and complete the assignments. Celebrate their efforts and growing independence as their executive functioning skills improve. This encouragement will pay off much more in the long run than ensuring every math problem they complete is correct!

Plus, letting your child complete their homework without your correction can help the teacher better gauge your child’s mastery of a topic. When every homework assignment is reviewed and revised by a parent, it’s harder for the teacher and student to recognize when a little extra support or further clarification would be helpful.

Focus on completion over perfection, and you’ll build your child’s confidence, preserve your relationship, and get a much better idea of how your child is progressing with each subject.

Bonus Tip: How to Know When Your Child Needs Extra Help

Managing time, tasks, and assignments requires executive functioning skills. These skills take time to develop and come more naturally to some children than others. If you follow the above steps and your child is still struggling to manage deadlines and keep track of assignments, don’t lose hope. He or she can still learn these important skills but might need some extra support to get there.

If your child responds well to your help with tracking and organizing assignments, that’s great! Help them with their systems and look for opportunities to encourage more independence over time. However, many kids balk at their parents’ efforts to help. Don’t take it personally—this is a normal part of growing up! In most cases, students are often much more open to the input of another adult, like an Executive Function Tutor.

Our Executive Function Tutors are highly skilled in helping children develop systems and habits that work for them. They can help your child get their homework organized and completed now while also instilling the skills they’ll need to manage tasks and time independently in future grades and into adulthood. If you’re tired of your child’s assignments going “missing in action” and want to see your child strengthen these life-long skills, we can help! Click below to get started with a free consultation.

One last thing to keep in mind: If your child is only struggling to complete assignments in one class, he or she may need extra help in that subject. When students feel confused by a topic, they often put off their assignments because they dread feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. Of course, delaying assignments until the last minute only makes things worse!

In this case, you may decide to combine subject tutoring with executive functioning tutoring to build your child’s confidence and skills. To learn more, click below to schedule a free consultation. We’ll help you explore your options so you can identify the best course of action for your child.

We even provide more homework and study tips that we didn’t get the chance to cover fully in this blog. Click below so you don’t miss out on new strategies to help your child stay on top of his or her assignments!

3 Habits of Highly Effective Students 🌟

After 21 years of working with students, I’ve discovered that the most effective ones don’t usually obsess over big, long-term goals like the ones many of us set at the start of a new year. Instead, they focus on the simple daily habits they know will generate the results they want.

Daily habits are much easier to stick to than abstract goals—and they’re more likely to get you to that big finish line anyway! Here are 3 habits of highly effective students that your child can begin to practice any day of the year.

Habit #1: Effective Students Study Strategically

While most students resort to reading over class notes when it’s time to study, successful students take a more strategic approach. More specifically, they move beyond information review to information retrieval. This means taking the time and focused effort required to recall information without looking at the answer on the study guide. 

Students can practice information retrieval by creating and taking practice tests, working slowly through a stack of flashcards (without rushing to flip them over!), or writing out short essays about the concepts being studied. This strategic study approach improves a student’s ability to both understand the materials now and recall them on test day—a win-win!

Habit #2: Effective Students Plan Ahead

The most effective students practice short-term and long-term planning. Short-term planning means creating a to-do list each day. Successful students think ahead about the blocks of time in their day and plan when they’ll tackle each item on their list.

Long-term planning means using a planner or app to track upcoming due dates and tests. This helps students avoid late-night cram sessions (which studies show aren’t that effective anyway). Instead, effective students learn to set aside time each day leading up to big due dates or tests to make progress without stressing themselves out.

Habit #3: Effective Students Limit Distractions

For generations, kids have had a knack for getting distracted during homework time. But there’s no denying that today’s students have an unprecedented number of distractions clamoring for their attention.

Effective students know how to silence some of that noise by heading to the library, downloading a focus app, or setting timers for shorter blocks of focused study time. The methods vary by student, but the important part is having a plan in place to limit distractions and focus fully on the work in front of them.

Bonus Tip: Effective Students Know When to Seek Help!

Ok, this one isn’t so much a habit as a mindset, but it’s true. Effective students and their parents aren’t afraid to seek help when disorganized systems are holding them back.

Maybe you read through these habits and thought, “Ok, Ann, that’s all well and good, but I can’t make my child do any of this.” And I get that! I had the same struggle when my own kids were in school… until I invited a tutor into our home to help them out.

That’s why we offer executive function coaches who can come to your home and work one-on-one with your child. These coaches know how to diffuse the tension of the homework battle and guide kids to systems that will work for them—including these three habits of highly effective students.

Click below to schedule a free consultation and learn more about guiding your own child to effective systems (without all the pushback).

Schedule a Consult

Our 3 most popular posts of 2019 👏

Do you ever look around at other parents and think, “Why does everyone else seem to have it all together? Am I the only one figuring this out as I go?”

The truth is every parent is making educated guesses on what’s best for their child, and every parent second guesses themselves from time to time! And, as parents, where do we turn for answers? The internet!

Over the past year, some of the posts on our website have attracted tens of thousands of readers like you. Today, I want to share with you our three most popular posts from 2019 so you can see what questions your fellow parents are asking—and get the advice we’ve shared with them!

Check out the posts below, then forward this email to a fellow parent as a reminder that we’re all in this together… and no one has it all figured out!

#1: How to Handle Bad Grades: A Practical Guide for Parents

No parent wants to see a bad grade on their child’s report card. If it does happen to your child, it can be really hard to know how to respond. Perhaps that’s why this post has been our most-read post of the year with over 31,000 views.

Check it out for helpful tips concerning…  

  • What to do if your child comes home with bad grades (and how to talk to them about it)
  • Whether to punish your child for bad grades or reward them for good grades
  • How to investigate why your child got the grade and what to do about it moving forward

With report cards coming up after the break, this is a great piece to read now or bookmark for later. Here’s to hoping you won’t ever need it… but being prepared just in case!

#2: This $5 Tool Makes Homework Much Easier

So what’s the simple tool our tutors love? Whiteboards! 

They’re not flashy or tech-savvy, but they still work wonders with elementary, middle, and high schoolers. Read on to learn what you need to know to make this whiteboard trick work in your household.

Read our post to discover…

  • Why planning for an entire month isn’t realistic, but planning for one day at a time is too short-sighted
  • The best way to avoid stress later in the week
  • The truth about kids being disorganized or falling behind

Schedule a call with us if your child could use a little extra help.

#3: What’s your child’s homework personality?

How is the school year going for you and your family so far? It’s around this time of year that assignments can pile up, calendars can fill up, and stress can build for the entire family. Add a child’s disorganization or poor time management to the mix, and things quickly go from bad to worse.

Read our post to learn about...

  • Focus Apps for Tick Tock Tommy
  • Planning Ahead with Last Minute Lucy
  • Weekly Check-ins with Hot Headed Harry
  • Clean Sweeps with Backpack Bonnie

If your child resists your efforts to help, know you’re not alone. I’ve been there! And that’s why I’ve created a special Executive Function Coaching program to connect your child with an expert tutor who can coach her to find and implement systems that will work for her… without any work on your part!

Schedule a Consult

Has your child tried this simple (but effective) study strategy? 📖

Does your child beg for your help with their homework? Or do they resent your attempts to lend a hand? Either way, it can be difficult to encourage independence while still giving your child the support they need to succeed in the classroom.

That’s why I love the simple study strategy our head tutor will share with you in today’s short video. It can be used as a tool for independent study or in a group, with a tutor, or one-on-one with you. And it only takes a few minutes to set up!

As Jan Rowe explains in this video, all you need for this simple homework tool is a pack of Post-It notes and three poster boards labeled To Learn, To Review, and Got It! 

To Learn

Help your child prepare to study by putting questions on the front of each Post-It note with the correct answer on the back. Refer to their study guide, past homework assignments, class notes, or the textbook to compile everything they need to know for the test.

To Review

Once the Post-Its are on the To Learn poster, a friend, parent, sibling, or tutor can easily quiz them—or, since the answer is on the back, they can quiz themselves! Whenever they get a question right (without peeking!), the Post-It can be moved to the To Review poster board.

Got It!

Once Post-Its are on the To Review board, encourage your child to take a break to work on another subject or eat dinner. When they come back, they can review the Post-Its on the To Review board and, as they get them correct, move them to the Got It! Board.

Watching the information move from To Learn to To Review to Got It! will help your child study for their next test and build their confidence as they see all the content they’ve already mastered.

Need More Study Strategies?

If your child continues to struggle with confidence or performance in a particular subject, don’t let them struggle alone—or try to shoulder the burden of helping them on your own. Let us match your child with their ideal tutor who can come to your home and share more strategies like this one. They’ll make homework time fun and help your child build the confidence and independence they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond!

6 Proven Strategies for Better Grades

If your child is resolved to perform their best in school this year—or to at least tackle first semester finals with confidence—I’m sharing six study habits today that will help. Each of these learning strategies from The Learning Scientists is backed by decades of cognitive research and is proven to help students study effectively, retain what they learn, and perform their best. In other words, they’ll help your child work smarter instead of harder!

(Full Disclosure: Sometimes kids push back when their parents suggest strategies like these—and that’s normal! You can avoid those homework battles and set your child up for success in 2020 by getting a tutor for some extra support. Just click here to schedule your free consult.)

#1: Space out studying over time.

If your child has ever stayed up late cramming for a test, you already know how stressful that can be. As it turns out, it’s not very effective either. Students perform best when they spread out their studying over time, so encourage your child to study for a small window of time each day leading up to exams. Spacing out their studying will make homework feel less intimidating and help with recall on test day—it’s a win-win!

#2: Practice retrieving information.

When told to study for a test, most students default to simply reading over class notes. But for best results, students should practice bringing information to mind on their own. Encourage your child to try writing or sketching everything they remember on a particular subject before checking class notes for accuracy and missed points. Simple tools like flashcards and practice tests (they can even create their own!) also help with information retrieval.

#3: Elaborate on big ideas with many details.

The best way to wrap your mind around a big idea is to elaborate on it with smaller details and make connections to other ideas. As your child studies a new topic, engage them in conversation about how things work and why. Encourage them to ask questions and seek out answers or to create a list comparing and contrasting two different ideas. Diving into those little details can really make the big picture come into focus.

#4: Switch between ideas while studying.

When you’re building muscles in the gym, you don’t pick one exercise (like push-ups) and do them over and over for your entire workout. Instead, you pick a variety of exercises and rotate between them. Effective studying works the same way. Instead of picking one idea or topic to study for an entire session, allow your child to pick a few and rotate. By switching between ideas while they study, your child can strengthen their mental muscles, make connections between topics, and increase their mastery of all the materials.

#5: Use concrete examples to understand abstract ideas.

When a topic feels confusing or abstract, the best way to increase understanding and commit it to memory is to explore concrete examples. Kids can compile examples their teacher gave in class, find them in their textbook, or try to come up with more on their own or with friends. As students list examples, they should also practice explaining why each example works so they can better understand the big idea behind it.

#6: Combine words and visuals.

Students of all ages learn best when they can combine words with visuals. When students come across visuals in their class materials, they should stop and use words to describe them. On the other hand, when they have a chunk of text, they should stop and create a visual—like an infographic, diagram, or even a cartoon strip—to illustrate the ideas. This practice of putting words and images together will help your child grasp the material now and recall it later.

Each of these strategies can help your child study and succeed in any subject, but we also know that students will simply find some subjects harder than others. If a particular class has you and your child banging your heads against the wall, please remember you’re not in this alone! 

Just click below to schedule a consult, and we’ll connect you with an in-home tutor who’s an expert in that subject area.

Schedule a Consult

Is the “No-Zero” Policy doing more harm than good?

The No-Zero Policy is a new grading strategy that is increasing in popularity in schools across the U.S. and, in fact, Fairfax County has adopted it as well.

From the FCPS website:

“Collaborative teams may choose to apply a penalty when work is turned in after the due date. Though if a student has made a reasonable attempt to complete work, teams are encouraged to assign a grade no lower than 50 percent.”

So for example:

Let’s say a student had three assignments he had to complete and he only turned in two of them.

On both of them he got an 80 percent, making his traditional scores 80, 80, and 0. If you average those scores together, that would be 53 percent (an “F”).

Zero Percent of Ten


But let’s say the same student got an 80, got another 80, and instead of getting a zero for that assignment he didn’t turn in, he was automatically given a 50 percent. Now the student has a 70 percent (a low “C” – which one might argue better reflects their understanding of the material).

Is this a good or bad thing?

Argument A: It’s good in that it decreases the negativity cycle, and better reflects how well students are doing with a greater weight placed on tests.

Often, if a student doesn’t turn something in and knows they’re going to get a zero, they may be less inclined to try as hard for the rest of the quarter, knowing that their grade is now “screwed up.”

Argument B: Giving kids credit when none is due is inappropriate, and breeds a lack of accountability.

As this Edutopia article on the topic mentions:

“A no-zero grading policy allows students to do minimal work and still pass, pushes students forward who haven’t mastered the content, and doesn’t teach students the real-life consequences of not meeting their responsibilities…”

We may be making positive changes in the short term, but we’re also potentially sending kids off to college unprepared to deal with the consequences of not completing their work.

Overall, I believe that the no-zero policy for most kids is a good thing, but would love to hear from you.

What do you think? Comment below!

The Do’s and Don’ts of report card reactions

Now that we have a perspective on how to interpret the grades that your child comes home with, the next question is:

How should you react?

If your child comes home with good grades…

…it’s often a parent’s natural reaction to say things like: “Wow, that’s awesome! You’re just so smart. I always knew you were a natural at math.”

Nice Work!

However, this type of praise may do more harm than good. Instead, focus on praising effort, because it’s something kids feel like they can control (unlike their intelligence or natural abilities). Also, though it is indeed time to celebrate good grades as a victory, keep in mind that it’s possible to go overboard with rewards and incentives.

If your child comes home with a bad grade…

First things first, spend the time to figure out what’s going on. There are usually one of two reasons for bad grades.

Reason One: They don’t have mastery of the content.

This means that even though they do the homework, they do extra credit, and they turn things in on time, they’re not “getting” the material. They’re very organized, but they don’t do well on tests, especially unit tests and midterms

tests that cover material over a longer period of time.

If this is the case, your child may not be absorbing the class content

appropriately, and might need to work on their study skills.

Alternatively, despite their best efforts, they may need some one-on-one help from you, a teacher, or a subject tutor who can help bring them up to speed.

Reason Two: They have difficulty with organization and executive functions.

These are usually the kids that get great test scores, but don’t turn in their homework. Their projects are often late. They seem disorganized. They don’t know when things are due.

For students who fall into this category, it’s usually difficulty with executive functions and/or lack of organization skills that’s causing their low grade, not content mastery.

If this is the case, your child may need some work on their routines and habits both in school and at home, and could benefit from working with an Educational Coach.

Once you’ve determined which camp your child is a part of, it’s time to start looking forward rather than dwelling on what happened in the past.

It can be tough

Our natural reaction as a parent is to say:

“Well, what could you have done differently?”


“You know, you should’ve done this or you should have done that.”

Instead of looking back, look forward and say:

“You know what? I can tell that you’re disappointed. Now that you know what material is covered and you know how your teacher teaches, what might you do going forward?”

That’s a better question.

Finally, if you’re looking for a comprehensive guide to handling poor grades, I highly recommend you give our full post on this subject a read:

Read the Full Practical Guide to Grades for Parents

Are your child’s grades good, bad, or somewhere in-between?

We all know that an “A” is outstanding and an “F” means failure…

But what do you do if your child gets a “C”?

Well, it used to be, back in the good ole’ days when we were growing up (and used to walk to and from school in the snow… uphill both ways) that a “C” was “average.”

Walking Uphill

Clearly, that’s no longer the case.

As we’ve covered before, because of grade inflation an “A” is the most awarded grade in the United States. To recap, as of 2016, among high school students who have a C or higher GPA:

  • 47% of students receive “A”s
  • 44% of students receive “B”s
  • And only about 9% of students receive “Cs”

That means that on average, a “C” means your child is struggling in class. They do not have mastery of the material, and are likely falling further and further behind their classmates.

Additionally, if the “C” is in a cumulative class like math, a math-based science, or a foreign language, where one skill builds upon another, it’s especially hard for your child to dig him or herself out of a hole.

So here’s a quick breakdown of how to interpret your child’s grades:

  • If they received an “A” chances are they’re in good shape in that class, unless you have reason to assume otherwise.
  • If they received a “B” take some time to ask them about it. It’s worth digging a bit deeper into how they did on specific tests and assignments. For example, if they did exceptionally well on assignments, but poorly on exams, it may be an indication that they haven’t fully mastered the material, despite their diligence.
  • If they received a “C” or below, action needs to be taken. We give some tips below on how to handle this, but it’s safe to assume that they’re behind and need to improve.

Now on to the “hard” part – The Do’s and Don’ts of report card reactions