The school year is now in full swing and it’s natural for both children and their parents to quickly settle into autopilot mode. However, Elieen Huntington of Huntington Learning Center cautions parents to pay attention to any academic warning signs that appear early in the school year. “Many students experience ups and downs, but parents should watch for indicators of larger issues,” says Huntington. “The longer you ignore certain problems, the more likely they are to become worse and more difficult to correct.”
As your child navigates this school year, here are five academic red flags that warrant intervention:
1. Poor grades – Of course, the biggest sign that things aren’t going well at school is your child’s performance. An isolated poor grade shouldn’t cause major concern. However, are you noticing consistently low grades or that your child’s grades are dropping throughout the semester? Don’t just pay attention at report card time. Keep tabs on daily and weekly assignments and projects and take note of any concerning patterns.
2. Homework taking a long time – Many teachers give a time estimate at the beginning of the school year of how much homework their students should expect each night. How does your child’s work time compare to this ballpark? If your child struggles to do homework independently or consistently takes longer than advised by the teacher to complete assignments, you should investigate. This might be a sign that your child doesn’t understand what is being taught in class or is having trouble focusing or understanding directions.
3. Change in personality – Mood swings are normal for any child, but keep an eye out for significant changes in your child’s disposition and attitude. Is your typically happy child becoming sullen or angry as the school year marches on? Is your child slowly losing interest in school or even friends or activities he or she used to enjoy? In addition, are you noticing your child’s grades suffering?
4. Negative self-talk – Frustration with even small challenges could signify that your child has given up on a subject—and him or herself. This is common with children who are lacking “building-block skills” to keep up in the classroom and acquire new knowledge. Does your child seem pessimistic about his or her abilities? Does he or she become easily frustrated during homework time?
5. Disorganization – Disorganization is a common problem for children, but does your child seem to struggle with it in more than one area? Pay particular attention to how your child keeps track of homework and assignments and maintains his or her backpack, desk and room. Lost homework and sloppy work are signs that your child lacks attention to detail, a challenge that will become more problematic in middle and high school.
Huntington encourages parents to seek help sooner than later when they notice one or more warning signs. “Most school issues don’t go away on their own,” she says. “Poor grades are an obvious sign of difficulties in school, but there are many red flags to which parents should pay attention. Recognizing that something is amiss and taking action quickly could make all the difference.”
If your child appears to be struggling, call Huntington at 1-800-CAN-LEARN to talk about how we can help your child turn things around.
Huntington is the tutoring and test prep leader. Its certified tutors provide individualized instruction in reading, phonics, writing, study skills, elementary and middle school math, Algebra through Calculus, Chemistry, and other sciences. It preps for the SAT and ACT, as well as state and standardized exams. Huntington programs develop the skills, confidence, and motivation to help students succeed and meet the needs of Common Core State Standards. Founded in 1977, Huntington’s mission is to give every student the best education possible. Learn how Huntington can help at www.huntingtonhelps.com. For franchise opportunities please visit www.huntingtonfranchise.com.
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