May 09

What to do when your Child Struggles at School

Some children excel at school and others struggle. Unfortunately that’s a fact. There is plenty that parents can do when their kids are young. Reading aloud to them is a good example, but children learn at different rates and in different ways. The child of the most loving and attentive parents might still have a hard time learning to read or mastering A-level chemistry.

Don’t play the blame game

If your child or teenager is having trouble getting good grades, it’s probably not your fault and in most cases it isn’t their fault either. Unless teachers have flagged up disciplinary problems it’s more likely that they have simply fallen behind and need a little help catching up. Of course, the teachers themselves may have a lot on their plate, with high class sizes and a busy syllabus. Many do a terrific job but giving every student individual help at their particular level can be very hard.

There’s no point wondering who is to blame for failing grades. Instead, focus your attention on turning the tables and getting your child back on the right track.

Personal tutors can help

A personal tutor has the time to sit down with your child, find out where they are getting into difficulties, and gradually give them the skills they need to solve the problem. Sometimes it’s a matter of making up lost ground on a particular topic and sometimes it’s more about teaching basic learning and analytical skills that will help a child improve their performance at school. Often a good tutor will do both.

Parents sometimes believe that their children won’t enjoy tuition but this may not be the case. Often, kids dislike classes because they feel lost, left behind, or not as good as the other pupils. That won’t happen with a tutor. Over time your child might even start to enjoy their classes at school more because they’ll feel better able to cope and more confident in their work.

Why not tutor them yourself?

Sometimes it can be better to receive tuition from an outside party, especially if there has been tension over slipping grades. Even parents who have excellent numerical skills hire maths tutors for that reason.

Of course, professional tutors also have vital teaching skills and plenty of experience with kids in similar situations. They are non-judgemental and know how to walk kids through common problems (long division, for example, or the deconstruction of a poem).

There is still a lot parents can do

Even if professional maths, science, or English tuition is the right path for your family, there is still a great deal that parents can do to help their kids gain skills and confidence. It starts with encouragement. Let them know that the tutor is here to help and that with a little effort, they can get the grades you both want.

Talk to your tutor too. They may be able to provide helpful suggestions for helping your kids when they’re not around and sometimes they do set extra homework or have ideas about ways lessons could be integrated into home life, particularly for younger children.