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The report card your children give themselves may count the most

Pages just waiting to be filled with your child's report card to him or herself
Pages just waiting to be filled with your child's report card to him or herself
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With the end of the school year come report cards, those frequently anxiety producing notifications that let you know how teachers saw your children's academic and behavioral performance. As the grades you give yourself in life can be the most important ones you ever get, here is an end-of-the-year project for parents and children. Yes, a love letter your child writes to self-evaluate in each subject.

Perfect student? How much fun to embellish the reasons for such stunning success like hard work, being cooperative, prompt, doing extra credit assignments. Take personal pride. Reinforce, reinforce, reinforce.

Not such a natural at chemistry but a brilliant A+ athlete? How about a pat on the back because hitting that ball out of the park is a physics-in-action success. Great at art class and/or music? Was the report card not the greatest but better than last year? Spill that pride all over the page and in handwriting of course. Bad grade in language because although the words and grammar were there, your child was too shy to participate? Give a written hug for knowing the material even if saying it out loud was impossible. Great at friendship? Leadership abilities? Details, please. This letter should include all the things done well and why.

Because we all learn differently, it may be worthwhile to include some qualities the teacher could have had that would have fostered better comprehension. Did your child have trouble hearing or seeing the blackboard? Hunger pangs preclude paying attention? Sadness or illness at home? Being bullied or humiliated by teachers or other students will put a quick end to concentration.

This can all be invaluable information for parents to see what not only what their children think about their own performance and why but what, beyond teaching, is going on in the classroom and how to remedy it (a talk with the principal, glasses, a seat closer to the front of the classroom).

A letter to self is a wonderful way to encourage children to evaluate themselves at their best, to understand why they did well or badly, and to let them document how they shine so they can know what they are good at and not feel inadequate about where they stumble. These letters, in years to come, because of course you will keep them all somewhere safe, may well trigger important memories and new insights not the least of which will be that you took the time to sit with your children to help them see the best in themselves..

Write it, stamp it, mail it and wait for the joy to take hold when your child sees that love letter. The letters we write today will illuminate yesterday and tomorrow.

From me to you with love in the air,
Janet

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