How To Help Your Child With Their Elementary School Reports
So your child's teacher is not going to be all surprised when your second grade child
When parents are helping children write reports, their first instinct is often to think, 'I have to make it better - it sounds funny, or it's too choppy or it's too short or it's too childish.' One of the things you have to remember is your child's teacher knows your child; they know what the child is capable of, they know how they speak and what their writing skills are. So your child's teacher is not going to be surprised when your second grade child turns in a second grade level report. That's what they're expected to do so you should definitely let your child do that. The rule of thumb that I usually follow when helping children write reports is that if I can explain to them a change that I'd like them to make and they can understand it then it's acceptable. For example, "OK, so you'd like to do paragraphs, you want to break different ideas into different sections. What two ideas do you have in this report? ... OK, well, badgers are really furry mammals and I have a section on kinds of animals that eat badgers. OK fine, so could we break these into two different paragraphs?" If your child can keep up with you and understand what you are talking about, than you've taught your child something and helped them. When you sit down at the computer and start breaking things into paragraphs and moving things around for them, you're changing the report and they're not learning anything. The other thing your child learns is time management. They learn that if you want to find out all about badgers and write a really lovely report about badgers, you're going to have to invest some time into learning about badgers. If your child does not tell you about this report until the night before it's due to be finished - and invariably this will happen at eight o'clock at night the night before it's done - they're going to write a pretty crummy report about badgers. In my mind, that's just something the child is going to have to live with. If your kid can put in a good hour between eight and nine, you do your best, you put something together so they have something to turn in. Your child does her best, and you put something together so she has a report to turn in. The next time your child is set a report you say, "Remember that really great report you wanted to write about badgers? Let's write that really good report about dolphins now, let's start two weeks early and let's do it really well like you wanted to last time." You want them to learn from their mistakes if they procrastinate when writing school reports.