If your child is falling behind at school, it can often feel as if they are stuck in an impossible situation. While they are struggling to keep up with the rest of the class, the course work keeps getting harder and harder. Fortunately, there are ways of breaking this cycle. Check out our top 5 things to do if your child is falling behind at school.
1. Help Them Master Mathematical Operations
You have to learn to walk before you can run. A lot of students who fall behind at mathematics do so because they have not yet mastered their basic mathematical operations. Skills such as times tables, long division, multi-digit addition, subtraction and multiplication, decimals and fractions provide the foundation of even the most complex mathematical questions. Without a firm grasp of these basic operations, it is unlikely that your child will be able to keep up with the rest of the class. So, if your child is struggling in mathematics, a simple 10 minute revision of basic mathematical operations each night can dramatically increase their chances of keeping up with their class at school.
2. Expand Their Vocabulary
One of the most common traits of students who fall behind in English is that they have a lot of great ideas, but lack the ability to express them. Expressing ourselves through language is one of the most difficult skills that human beings develop, and it is one that students must consistently strive to improve. You can help your child to expand their vocabulary by providing them the opportunity to read widely, and by encouraging them to seek out the meaning of words that they do not understand. If your child asks you what a word means, encourage them to look it up and report back to you. Then, see if they can use it in a sentence. You can also challenge your child to come up with as many synonyms as possible for a particular word. For example, how many words can you think of that mean “big”? Huge, colossal, gigantic, epic, mountainous, grand, significant, enlarged, overgrown, immense, massive, humungous, copious…
3. Improve Their Reading Comprehension
On top of writing, the ability to read and understand texts is another vital skill that every student requires to succeed. Students that lack the ability to engage with texts will often struggle and fall behind in their classes. The good news is, reading comprehension is one of the easiest skills you can practice. All it requires is for you to ask your child questions about what they are reading, watching or playing. While this may annoy your child if you do it formally, it can also be a good way of connecting if you sincerely show interest in what they are enjoying. You may have to do your own research so they you are able to ask relevant questions and understand their answers. Here are some questions that you might ask about your child’s favourite book/movie/TV show/video game…
Who is your favourite character?
Why do you relate to them so much?
What would you do differently if you were in their situation?
What do you think the moral of this story is?
How does this world differ from the real world?
Who is the author/director?
What do you think the author/director has done to make this so enjoyable?
What do you think will happen next?
The more your child thinks about the media that they are coming in contact with, the more natural it will feel when they are asked to answer similar questions about texts they read at school.
4. Help Them Get Organised
Albert Einstein once asked, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” While I’m not sure I agree with his point, I agree that there is an obvious relationship between the state of one’s desk and the state of one’s mind. No matter how intelligent a student might be, they will inevitably struggle with their school work if they cannot keep their diary, study space and school notes organised efficiently. If your child is falling behind at school, it may be worthwhile to dedicate some time to developing a system that they can use to take care of their notes. You can even encourage good habits in a more fun setting, by encouraging your child to develop a system to organise their music, photos or video game collection.
5. Get Help
Quite often, parents don’t get to find out that their child is falling behind at school until parent teacher interviews or, even worse, when the report arrives in the mail. The problem with this is that parents are often given a very limited indication of which areas their child is struggling with and what they can do to help. If you are concerned that your child might be falling behind at school, or you would just like to get a realistic assessment of your child’s strengths, weaknesses and capacity to grow and improve, then why not book in for a free assessment at one of our campuses. We can tell exactly what level your child is at, exactly which areas they find difficult, and exactly what you need to do to get them back on track!