While a failing grade might be the most glaring indicator of an academic problem for your child, often the signs that your student is struggling are a bit more obscure. After all, most students aren’t chomping at the bit to tell their parents they are having a problem in school. Many students are down right evasive when it comes to their academic performance. As a parent, there are a few ways to break through these barriers in order to help determine if your student needs some extra help.
At The House, we offer on-demand homework help and private tutoring in Chicago. Our academic lounges are parent-free zones, because we know the stress that struggling grades can have on families. We've helped hundreds of students reduce stress and gain solid academic footing — but you have to know when to seek outside support. Here's 6 signs a student may need some help with their schoolwork.
1. Your student says they are doing their homework every night, and yet their grades are still subpar.
If you, the parent, aren’t monitoring whether the homework is actually getting done, this is a tough one. Start by changing their work location, so you can accurately gauge whether they're working or not. If the student is authentically working on homework and still struggling, then a tutor could helpful with assessing their studying techniques and suggesting more effective approaches.
2. Your student often claims: “It is the teacher’s fault! They aren’t grading me fairly!”
While that may be true in very rare cases, there could be more underlying reasons for your student’s poor performance. Perhaps they weren’t listening well and misunderstood the assignment, or they haven't figured out how to study well for tests. Asking a teacher directly for a defined list of what your student should be working on can be helpful. Oftentimes students are missing or ignoring simple directions, and unfortunately, their grades suffer as a result.
3. When you attempt to help your student with a complicated problem or idea, they get angry, anxious or frustrated.
This is a glaring sign that your student needs a tutor. The worst thing that can happen for a student is that they get in the habit of giving up when the work gets too hard. As a result, a domino effect can occur in the learning process when they altogether miss concepts that are the foundation of a larger problem set. For example, if a student gives up at the beginning of a semester in Math, they will continue to struggle throughout the semester without properly grasping the concepts. Finding an after school tutor here will help the student to not only catch up, but work through their frustrations and gain confidence with the concepts.
3. Your student procrastinates and makes ample excuses for why they aren’t getting work done.
Sometimes the procrastination is a sign of a student that not only doesn’t want to work, but also avoids homework because they aren’t sure how to do it. In these cases, a tutor is a great solution for your student. A tutor can help your student stay organized, add accountability and help strategize to tackle projects the student's been putting off.
4. Your student is simply bored with school.
Sometimes advanced students perform poorly because they are simply apathetic to the lessons they are learning in school. Academic tutors can be helpful for the advanced learner as well. Consider this: a student that scores a perfect ACT score but has a 1.5 GPA. Obviously, this student needs to be challenged academically. A tutor can not only offer some guidance for this student and their daily work routine, but they can also offer a more challenging curriculum for the student to engage in on their own time.
4. Your student blames extracurricular activities for taking up too much time.
It's not as simple as removing activities altogether. If your student is spending too much time concentrating on mastering their team’s playbook or planning fundraisers for their clubs, then certainly something needs to change. Yet, before you wipe their schedule, consider a few other things that might be happening. Sometimes students concentrate on these activities because they are insecure about their academics. One-on-one tutoring is a great option for helping the student build their academic confidence. Other times, some students need a tutor to help organize their time and their academic priorities. The answer might not be to eliminate extracurriculars, but rather to figure out a balanced system that works for them.
Recognizing the warning signs of a student that needs some extra help could, in the end, have the greatest impact. While you know your child best, you may not be the right person to offer them homework help and organization tips. Whether your student needs a designated space to study, some added accountability, accessible on-demand homework help or private tutoring on the North Shore, The House can help.