What can you do if your child is struggling in school? By this time of year, some students have given into bad habits from the past and given up on their studies. There are ways you can help. Here are five steps you can take to help your struggling student get on track.
1) Change the Routine. Struggling student are often stuck in a routine rut that leads to academic struggles. Work to find ways to get them out of the rut. Buy some new school supplies or otherwise help your child change the way they organize for school. Change the place and time they complete homework. Find a different way to help them study. Simple changes can give way to increased energy, determination, and successful study habits.
2) Re-Establish Academic Self-Confidence. It should surprise nobody that students perform best when they have a sense they can succeed. That comes from academic self-confidence. Self-confident students will work harder and are more capable of taking on academic challenges. To be clear, this is not about building false self-esteem through unearned praise. It’s about finding the areas of strength in your student, and building from there. Defeated students will give up rather than work to engage academically. Finding some success will boost a student’s determination to take on what challenges them academically.
3) Identify and Re-Build Gaps in Skills. It’s likely that struggling students have missed concepts along the way that have become bigger obstacles to performance. Teenagers need help filling these gaps. Most students are not capable of teaching themselves until they are college-age. It’s good to spend time finding and plugging these gaps. Parent of older students may find their student’s curriculum is no longer material they remember, and may want to seek outside help or tutoring.
4) Improve Study Skills. There are many steps in the learning process; a deficiency in any one can break down the process. Completing a single homework assignment may require: recording the assignment, placing the assignment in the correct place, recalling what the recorded assignment meant and where it is located, replacing the assignment, and taking the assignment to class so you can turn it in. The aforementioned steps are mainly organizations, assignments may also require additional study skills in understanding, analysis, and evaluation to complete. Drill down into which step(s) in the process your student struggles, and help them improve those steps.
5) Set Reasonable Expectations. Many times students struggle because they do not want to try because they feel they do not compare well to peers. They feel certain their friends are getting better grades with less effort. A student’s performance should be judged against what they are capable of. While some highly intelligent students benefit from competition, many students effort will decrease if too much is expected of them. Don’t fall for the trap of comparing your child to other students.
These are a few tips we have learned over the years to help struggling students get back on their feet. With a little attention, you can help your student turn things around. If you would like to talk to someone about your child’s specific challenges and needs, we are more than happy to talk it through with you. You can contact us at The Tenney School to tell us more about your situation.