Yikes! My Child Is Struggling with School
Winter report cards were just distributed and your child is struggling with various core subjects. Many parents feel overwhelmed when their child is not happy with the daily school routine. The report card may reflect many of these ongoing challenges. To clarify frustrations, consider asking your children these questions:
- What frustrates you about school?
- How do you get along with your teacher?
- What can I do to help you succeed in the classroom?
- What can you do to improve your relationship with your teacher?
- What can we do at home to build your learning and resiliency skills?
- How can we partner with the school to ensure your success?
Elementary Student Solutions
Through these discussions, parents can listen to their children’s fears about learning and identify concerns and needs. After probing more deeply into your children’s feelings about their classroom experiences, it is time to meet with the teacher to create a plan of successful actions. Effective solutions for elementary school students might include:
- Work with the teacher to select reading books that are academically appropriate to support reading skill development. Many teachers can provide parents with guidance on various age appropriate book lists or online resources to reinforce reading challenges.
- Ensure that your child is reading each day for at least 20 minutes. This can include sharing the reading of a book together, alternating reading each page to each other, having your child read to you, and reading to your child. This should be a positive experience of nurturing and support for both of you. Have your child read books that he or she wants to read and you can read the harder books to your child.
- Integrate art and family play activities with reading. For example, you can visit historical sites when reading about local history or celebrations. Then you and your child can watercolor a site that you visited or create a framed college of a historical family outing.
- For math, you can play math games and help your child develop math facts through the use flash cards. Encourage your child to help you with various home projects and work together to problem solve using various math applications. Kids love to cook, measure, calculate square footage, build, sew, construct, design, and budget. All of these activities require various mathematical applications you can support through your guidance and modeling. Ensure that these projects are fun for both of you.
- Participate in the classroom to learn how to support your child’s learning at home.
- Offer to prep various projects for the teacher to establish an ongoing dialogue of support.
Middle and High School Student Solutions
Middle and high school students should meet with the teacher first and then include their parent in the discussion if not successful. The students can lead the discussion on how to resolve their challenges with a teacher. The teacher and students can also devise a plan on how they can succeed in a class. Then parents can follow-up with both the teacher and their children at predetermined intervals to ensure that all are supporting students’ successes.
Much success in partnering with the school!
Copyright © 2020 by GenParenting
Mary Ann Burke, Ed.D., Digital Education Expert, is a substitute distance learning teacher for Oak Grove School District in San Jose, California and the author of STUDENT-ENGAGED ASSESSMENT: Strategies to Empower All Learners (Rowman & Littlefield: 2020). Dr. Burke creates digital language arts and substitute teaching K – 12 activities for teachers and parents. She is the Cofounder of the Genparenting.com blog. Burke is the former Director II of Categorical & Special Projects for the Santa Clara County Office of Education that supports 31 school districts serving 272,321 students in Santa Clara County. She is also a previous Director – State & Federal Compliance for Oakland Unified School District, the former Director – Grantwriter for the Compton Unified School District, and was the initial VISTA Director for the Community Partnership Coalition in southern California. Much of her work focuses on creating innovative digital trainings and partnership programs for teachers and families to support students’ learning. These programs were featured as a best practice at a National Title I Conference, California’s Title I Conferences, AERA Conferences, an ASCD Conference, the NASSP Conference, and statewide educator conferences.