First semester is already in full swing! You and your child may still be adjusting to the hustle and bustle of primary school or secondary school. Succeeding in semester one is not only important for your child’s self-esteem, but also preps them for the semesters to come.
Making sure that your child's learning and developing good study and homework habits is a goal for parents and educators alike. It's important to find help for your child if they're struggling in the first few weeks of the new school year. The longer it takes for them to get help, the more difficult it becomes for them to catch up.
Here are 5 early warning signs that your child may be having a hard time at school:
- Your child doesn’t want to go to school
- Your child is misbehaving at school
- Your child avoids doing homework
- Your child has trouble concentrating
- Your child is disorganised
Knowing the best course of action when your child's struggling at school can be difficult. We’ve put together a couple of ways to help you understand your child’s needs and help them get back on track.
1. Speak to your child
Set aside time to listen and speak with your child. Let them know that you're there to support them; you can do this by encouraging them to express themselves and creating an emotionally supportive space at home. Having and sharing a supportive space may help your child feel safe and allow them to express their thoughts and worries. Examples on how to cultivate and foster an emotionally supportive space include:
- Listening to you child before sharing your thoughts
- Refrain from judgement
- Let your child express and work through their emotions
2. Touch-base with their teachers
One way to better understand why you child is having trouble with their homework and at school is to have a chat with their teacher. You may find that your child’s teacher has also noticed that your child is struggling. The key to understanding what your child’s needs are is to ask the right questions. Asking the right questions will help you and their teacher problem solve and create an action plan.
Some questions you could ask are as follows:
- Is my child struggling in one or more subjects?
- Is my child not doing their work because they don’t understand the content?
- When does my child misbehave at school?
- Is my child anxious when working on in-class assignments?
3. Find the best tutor for your child’s needs
It's important that you assess and understand your child needs before you find a primary school or secondary school tutor. You can do this by:
Brainstorming goals with your child and their teacher
A good teacher will know what your child needs help in and can monitor their progress. Brainstorming ideas with their teacher will also help you understand what level of help your child needs.
Looking at areas for improvement
Your child may have good study habits but may need to improve or have trouble with understanding specific subjects; for example, VCE English or primary school maths. You can speak with a tutor about focusing on a particular subject area to improve grades and provide homework support.
Understanding your child’s learning style
Understanding your child’s learning style is important. A learning style links directly to how a student grasps the information being taught. A learning style also links to how your child uses the information they learn. Some children are kinesthetic learners while others may be visual or auditory learners. A description of each learning style can be found here.
Finding out what motivates your child and their personality type
Does your child have any hobbies or interests? What is their attitude towards learning? A good tutor will incorporate your child’s interests into their lessons. Knowing what motivates and resonates with your child can help make learning more enjoyable. Even better, you may find a tutor with the same interests!
If you are considering home tutoring or online tutoring for your child, don’t forget to compare your tutoring options! Be realistic with your expectations. Remember that children develop at a different pace and the best that you can do is help your child reach their full potential and support them through the learning process.