School is a journey, and sometimes that journey will take your child off course or down an unintended path. Even the best of students will find some subjects or concepts difficult, but when an academic issue becomes bigger or seems to be affecting your child for a while, it’s best not to ignore it.
Here are a few tips on how to help your child confront lingering learning issues that aren’t resolving on their own:
CHECK YOUR CHILD’S ORGANIZATION
Is your child disorganized and constantly losing track of papers and homework? Is staying on top of assignments problematic? Does your child not use a planner no matter how much you suggest it?
Your child could be causing many of his or her own problems with poor organization and haphazard homework routines (e.g., relying too much on memory to remember assignments and test dates). Make sure your child fine-tunes his or her organization skills.
EVALUATE YOUR CHILD’S TIME MANAGEMENT
Some students struggle with managing their time more than anything else. This could be due to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which causes struggles with focus, task completion, organization and staying on track while doing just about any activity.
Check your child’s routine. Does he or she have one in place? Have you set expectations for what your child must accomplish in the mornings and after school? Help your child become more efficient with better time management.
OBSERVE YOUR CHILD AND PAY CLOSE ATTENTION
You can learn a lot about what struggles children are having by watching them do homework. Observe how your child operates. Is he or she struggling with the work, staying on task or both? Which subjects take the longest and cause the most stress? You may find that your child needs better homework habits.
DEVELOP A GAME PLAN
Once you’ve gathered information and evaluated the problem on your own, it’s time to strategize about fixing school issues, too. Talk with your child’s teacher, or if you have an older student, encourage him or her to do so first. The teacher is an important resource who can share observations about what’s happening in the classroom. He or she can work with your child to take appropriate action and refer you to the right school resources if needed.
The new school year is just beginning, but if you notice that your child seems to lack skills and knowledge he or she should have acquired in prior years, is getting poor grades already, is angry or apathetic about school or has needs that are not being met, don’t wait to deal with these issues. Your child needs help getting back on track.