As parents, we all want the best for our children. So, when we see our child struggling at school, it’s real cause for concern. Often, parents will say, “If you just try harder, you will do better.” But, this type of vague advice is rarely helpful.
Finding the underlying cause for academic issues is essential.
While there are many diverse reasons why individual students struggle in the traditional classroom setting, there are a few situations that occur frequently:
- Pupils sit at individual desks, often in rows and listen to a teacher lecture. There is very little interaction this way and for hand-on learners, it can be frustrating.
- When students are asked questions by the teacher, the same kids tend to raise their hands, leaving others excluded.
- It is very rare that students ask questions on their own. So, while they may be lost, they won’t let the teacher (or their peers) know.
- When non-lecture work time is allotted, interaction between students is often not related to the current work.
- Some students will finish lessons early and engage in non-school activities while others will struggle to even finish the assignment given.
How parents can help students struggling in school
While it may be tempting to panic, try to relax. According to author Adina Soclof of Parenting Simply, “Parents have a vested interest in their child’s school performance. If their child fails they think they have failed as parents. They also feel it is a direct reflection on their parenting abilities. They blame themselves and confront their child in anger. A child then feels the pressure of having disappointed their parents.”
First, instead of playing the blame game or getting angry, find the root cause of the problem. A teacher conference to compare notes on your child’s academic performance and atttitude is a must. Your child’s teacher has daily interaction with your student and will be able to offer suggestions based not only on direct observation, but also on years of experience.
Next, testing may be necessary to determine if a learning disability exists. Using the most sophisticated measures available, licensed, clinical psychologists can help maximize a student’s success by analyzing the style in which he or she learns, his or her strengths and non-strengths as well as any learning differences. Recommendations are made regarding the best teaching methods and educational environment needed for the student to reach his or her full potential. Tests include:
- I.Q. (Intelligence Quotient)
- Academic Achievement Levels (by grade level and age level)
- Learning Disability
- Attention Deficit Disorder Screening
- Visual and Auditory Perception
Finally, it may be time to look at a completely different educational option. For some students, the actions, interactions and the tumult of a traditional classroom make learning difficult or even impossible. 1-on-1 learning may be the academic solution for your child.
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