Saturday, December 13, 2008

Finals are Finally Over!

This is the work of an incredible artist, Angela White. It is a pastel called Study Break.You can find her work at

High school and college final exams are over (or almost over), but the coming break may serve as some relief. Some students will sleep for the next few days like they've never slept before. Others may spend more time away from home visiting the friends they think they've neglected. Still others may zone out in front of Gears of War and talk to their friends over cyberspace until the wee hours of the morning. Some may even collapse with illness because their immune system is shot.

As a parent you may feel this is wasted time and not productive, and you may be right. But after the adrenaline rush of preparing for and taking final exams, an inevitable crash is likely - and normal.

The older our kids get, the less we have a handle on how they're doing in school, but that's as it should be. So you may not know how they did on their finals unless they choose to tell you. Technology has made it so that students can know their final grade within just a few days when they are posted online. No more report cards showing up in the mail. Parents don't have first glance.

What if your child failed something this time around? How will you know? Many kids avoid the confrontation that bad grades bring, so you may not hear anything at all. If they're doing well, you will hear about it and they'll make sure you do. But if they're not, you need to make it safe for them to tell you.

There are reasons why kids don't do well in school at these ages that are different from when they were little. Distractions are ever increasing right along with expectations. The stakes are higher, but there seems to be less help available. If your child didn't do too well on his finals this semester, there's no time to lose. Help him or her pinpoint the problem and brainstorm with them solutions. Do not try to solve it for them! Allow them the dignity to follow through with the solution on their own.

It could be a time management problem.
It could be a personality problem with a teacher.
It could be a learning style problem.
It could be a willingness problem on the part of your child.
It could be a problem of the wrong placement in a particular class or level.
It could be a physical problem.
It could be an emotional problem.
It could be a social problem.

Just to name a few. . .

Finals may be over, but whatever challenges your child has faced at school this semester may not be. Winter break won't solve it. Whatever the problem is will be there to welcome them back in January. Help them now to strategize how to deal with it before they return for Spring semester.

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