It’s frustrating when a child is struggling at school; it’s exasperating for the parents and for the child. Often, parents are aware that their child is having a problem, but they don’t understand the extent of the issue until the end of the grading period or when they receive an unsatisfactory report from a state testing agency. And by then, it’s too late to salvage their child’s grade for the semester or keep them on track to graduate to the next level with their class.
The implementation of Common Core standards, which is ongoing at school districts nationwide, may underscore the problem since many children are struggling to meet the new requirements and schools and teachers are scrambling to deploy Common Core-focused lesson plans and testing schedules. That’s why it’s more important than ever for parents to keep a close eye on their children’s progress; parents need to identify issues and get tutoring if required to keep their child on track. Here are five signs that your child might be in need of tutoring.
1. Frustration or unusually intense crabbiness about homework. Few children actively enjoy homework – they’d rather be playing outside or engrossed in a video game or fun hobby. But if your child’s attitude toward homework seems unusually negative, it’s possible that he or she is acting out of frustration due to an inability to handle the assigned work.
2. Consistent underperformance on homework assignments and tests. Sometimes parents assume that failing grades on homework assignments and tests are a sign of laziness and punish the child by taking away privileges. But consistent underperformance could be a sign that the child is simply unable to handle the subject matter without additional help.
3. Uneven performance across course loads. Children who excel in some subjects but underperform in others are clearly capable of learning. Their success in some classes can lead parents to assume the child can handle work in other courses that he or she is currently failing, but it’s possible the child might need extra instruction in those subjects.
4. Hiding work and assignments from parents. Most children want to please their parents or at least avoid getting in trouble at home for receiving failing grades at school. Children who are secretive about their schoolwork and hide assignments from their parents may also be concealing an academic problem that will take outside expertise to address.
5. Unresponsiveness to parental interventions. Outside of the classroom setting, parents are typically the child’s first resource if they need help with their schoolwork. Depending on the subject matter, you may be able to assist, but occasionally children have trouble taking academic instruction from their parents, who probably aren’t trained teachers. Tutors can help.
If you’re noticing one or more of these signs in your child, he or she may need help from a qualified tutor. To make sure that obtaining tutoring services is the right step for your child, you may want to consider a diagnostic test. Companies like Tabtor and Kahn Academy offer free diagnostic tests your child can take to determine whether academic tutoring is needed.
Your child’s education is incredibly important, so it pays to stay on top of the academic situation to make sure a small setback doesn’t become an insurmountable problem. By frequently assessing your child’s school performance, keeping tabs on homework and getting a tutor to help out when necessary, you can set your child up for success at school – and in life.