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What To Do If Your Child Is Struggling In School

With the school year underway, it’s never too early to start checking in with your child to see how they’re doing academically.

While it can be challenging to know what to do and how to intervene if you notice your child is struggling, Tucson tutor, Audrey Sher, owner of Mrs. Audrey’s Academic Achievement, offers some helpful tips for how to handle any academic hardships.

Audrey has been tutoring students in pre-K through high school for over 20 years offering in-person and virtual tutoring sessions for those struggling with course work, ADD/ADHD, test anxiety, and other learning challenges.

Questions to ask if you notice your child is struggling in school

Is it effort or ability? One of the first things Audrey says to look for is to see if a child is struggling due to effort or ability. If the child is old enough, she says to ask them to self-rate their effort on a 0-10 scale. Parents can also weigh in from their perspective.

Did it happen suddenly or has it been an on-going problem? Assess whether your child’s struggles in school have been recent or a long-term issue. “If it’s sudden, maybe something is going on emotionally,” said Audrey. “If it’s on-going, it’s important to not be judgmental. Every child can learn, we just need to meet them where they’re at and take it from there.”

Is it across the board or in a specific area? Notice if your child might be struggling with math but excelling in reading, or vice versa. “Identifying the reason is the most important thing,” said Audrey. “We should be building on their strengths rather than focusing on weaknesses. I always try to figure out what they’re good at and see how we can use that to help.”

How to get your child the help they need

Utilize school resources: Your child’s school is full of educational professionals who can help. “Use every resource that is available to you at the school, those are usually free,” said Audrey. This may include after-school help, seeking guidance from a school psychologist, and speaking with your child’s teacher.

Find a good tutor: Audrey recommends hiring a private tutor versus sending your child to a tutoring center. “Some tutoring centers have specific programs that aren’t necessarily individualized,” she said. “Private tutors can figure out what is going on and can see when a student is exhausted, overwhelmed, or needs a break.”

Establish a study area at home: Find a good place at home where your child can work on school work—preferably not on the bed with headphones in. Instead, you want the space to be quiet, clean, distraction-free, and equipped with all the tools and supplies your child needs to be successful such as pens, paper, a laptop etc.

Dedicate time for studying: Even if your child doesn’t have any homework, Audrey says it’s a good idea to have a set schedule for when your child can focus on their academics. “Have a studying time. They can use this time to look over notes, review, or read. But have a schedule and stick to it.”

How to encourage your child to have a love for learning

Be a role model: “If you want your child to read for 15 minutes every day… ask yourself, are you reading?” said Audrey. “What you do is more important than what you say. Kids see your behavior.”

Make learning fun: Audrey suggests keeping learning fun and exciting for kids by taking them to the library, museums, and even turning everyday errands such as grocery shopping or driving around into learning opportunities. “If you need 7 apples, count them out and tell your child ‘We have 4 so far, how many more do we need?’ As you’re driving or taking a walk, encourage reading by saying things like ‘What does that sign say? Oh it says stop.’”

Read, read, read: “It’s never too early to start reading to your child—starting when you’re pregnant,” says Audrey. “Take them to the library or bookstore and let them pick the books (guide them to age appropriate material). Read before bed and before naps. There’s no bad time to read.”

“Early intervention is key,” says Audrey. “Don’t wait. If you think there’s a problem, don’t think it’s going to resolve on its own.”

With help from the school, a tutor, and your own positive example, your child will be well on their way to academic success.

For more information on Mrs. Audrey’s Academic Achievement services visit mrsaudreytutors.com

Tips for Finding a Good Tutor

  • Look for someone who tutors as a career not a side job
  • Assess what the tutor’s experience is and what their skills are
  • Ask how they tailor lessons individually for students
  • Find someone who can rebuild your child’s academic confidence



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