We all want our kids to be successful. Not all children learn in the same way, at the same pace or with the same level of success. Some children do just fine and never really need extra help. Others get help but need more for continued success. As a mom of six very different learners, a trained educator, experienced classroom teacher, private tutor and mentor to many international Au Pairs, there will be signs of trouble.
Here are some sure signs you might consider more help:
The first and most obvious sign your child needs more help is consistent poor grades and performance on a variety of school tasks. Try to assess if there are certain types of tasks or assessments where he or she performs particularly poorly or well. Teachers may have some insight to your child’s strengths and weaknesses, but look for an area of poor performance across tasks or topics. This is helpful information to share with a tutor.
In conjunction with poor performance, if your child shows poor attitude toward a certain topic or task, this may be his or her way of avoiding it. Students who struggle with a topic will often have a bad attitude or will not want to complete work in that area, reading and writing for example. Students can sometimes develop negative attitudes towards teachers, but when the negative attitude is generalized to other people who approach the same topic, this may indicate a need for more help.
More and more children are experiencing anxiety when it comes to school. Even the youngest of children will find ways to manipulate their parents or caregivers into letting them stay home. At first, you may not suspect anything, but when poor grades and lousy attitude combine with poor attendance, you may have a problem. Children should really only miss school for fever, vomiting, diarrhea or the first 24 hours on an antibiotic (and maybe lice and pink eye). Repeated attempts at staying home for a stomach ache can be a sign of anxiety which may or may not be related to academics.
Lack of Organization
One of the most helpful skills your child can learn in school (and life) is organization. If you are an organized person, you already know this. If you struggle with organization, you know how important it is to keep things in order for a successful experience. Just think of baking a dessert but realizing half-way through you don’t have the main ingredient. It is important to plan ahead and keep a system of organization (and there are dozens) which works for you and your child. A tutor can help with general organization and some students will see an immediate improvement, while others need daily or weekly support to maintain being organized.
Lack of Results from Effort
As I said, we all want our kids to be successful. It hurts to see your child try hard at something and still not experience success. When your child gets extra help from you, his or her teacher and is generally giving his or her best effort, there should be some level of improvement. When you see no results, it might be time to get more help. Even a child with a tutor but without the internal drive, success will be hard to find. Effort is the key to success, but not the only one. Be sure to evaluate whether your child needs a tutor or just needs to pick up the pace for themselves.
Before you hire extra help, be sure to communicate with your child’s teacher to ensure he or she is on the same page and will support and communicate the tutor’s work. A tutor may be a classmate, an older student, a friend or neighbor, or even a sitter who has mastered the subject and is willing to help. Private tutors can cost anywhere from $20-$40 per hour, so be sure to explore your options or use a provider you’re already paying for a service, like your sitter or Au Pair. Give the new school year a few weeks to get going before you worry about needing more help. Sometimes kids are just
Give the new school year a few weeks to get going before you worry about needing more help. Sometimes kids are just slow starters, but by the middle of first quarter, most parents and kids know how they’re doing and if they need help. Have a great school year!
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