Rarely do children sail through school from kindergarten through twelfth grade without encountering a few challenges along the way. However, there are typical academic hurdles that teach children about perseverance and asking for help, and then there are big struggles that need intervention. How can you recognize a problem that requires more than just a bit of additional effort on your child’s part? Here are six signs that your child likely needs tutoring help:
Poor study skills – Is your child helpless when it comes to getting going on homework each night? Does he or she struggle to prioritize homework and waste time on meaningless tasks? Study habits are not inherent for most students and must be taught and practiced. Take a close look at things like your child’s notes and in-class worksheets and watch how he or she approaches homework each night.
A sharp decline in grades – Occasional bad grades on homework and tests happen even to the best of students and are nothing to get overly concerned about, but grades that get worse quickly might indicate that your child lacks basic skills and is having a hard time keeping up in the classroom.
Homework taking an exorbitant amount of time – Your child’s teacher(s) can tell you what is considered reasonable in terms of the amount of time spent on homework, but a good rule of thumb is 20 minutes of homework per night in first grade and 10 minutes additional per grade thereafter. If your fourth-grader is spending over an hour on homework each night but the grades don’t reflect the effort, you should investigate.
Lots of time-wasting – Does your child have difficulty getting started on homework just about every night? Is procrastination a frequent problem? These are indicators of a child who is either avoiding work because he or she doesn’t understand something or has a learning issue.
Anger and apathy – Every child gets frustrated by homework sometimes but take note of excessive exasperation or anxiety. If your child used to enjoy school and now seems uninterested or upset whenever you try to help with homework, it’s time to explore what’s going on behind the scenes.
Avoidance – Regular declarations of feeling too sick to go to school. Dismissiveness when school comes up in conversation. Skipped homework (or frequent claims that no homework was assigned). All of these examples are signs that your child is losing interest in school. That avoidance could very well stem from school struggles. Open the lines of communication with your child to try to understand what’s actually happening.
Obviously, the biggest “red flag” that your child needs help in school is a poor report card, but there are plenty of indicators along the way. If you suspect that your child is having problems in school in between report cards, the first thing you should do is schedule a time to speak to the teacher to learn more about what he or she sees.
You should also call Huntington. We can help identify the root of any school problems and design a targeted program of instruction that will help your child close any skill gaps and rebuild his or her confidence. Call us to learn more about how we can help your child at 1-800 CAN LEARN.