This is a sponsored post by Huntington Learning Center which recently opened in Round Rock. Read more to learn how they can help your child who may be struggling in school.
It’s not always obvious when your child is struggling in school. Since the late 1990s, teacher expectations for students have become measurably higher, with a heavier focus on reading and math; meanwhile, time spent on things like art, math, and simple playtime in the younger grades has decreased.
You might not realize that your child is struggling because kids will try to hide failure, blaming the struggle on circumstances. Kids struggle with the high expectations placed on them, so when they feel they’re not measuring up, the most common response is to mask it. Kids don’t have the worldview or data to know that they should ask for help.
Listen to what your child is saying verbally and behaviorally, but also to your intuition. As parents, we often have to infer meaning from behavior. You became a master at this parenting skill during potty training, intuitively understanding what cues required a trip to the restroom. Apply those same skills to school behaviors. In fact, your parenting brain has probably figured out that a problem exists, and you just need to know what to do about it.
Too many parents wait until the child is so frustrated that she is acting out. The longer the problem exists, the harder it will be to diagnose and fix it. Here are some clues that you may be dealing with a cognitive skills issue. Seek help at the first signs of struggle from professionals who use skill-based teaching techniques to overcome deficits before your kid falls behind.
Number 1: Tells you that school is stupid, boring, or he hates it
Kids are curious creatures. They enjoy learning and will pursue opportunities to learn topics of interest. When a child resists learning or is frustrated with learning a new task, it can be a sign of an underlying cognitive development problem. It’s not that he can’t add two-digit numbers in a column, it’s the way in which he tackles the problem that indicates an issue.
For example, if a child struggles with multi-step directions, she might copy another child’s homework. Or he will label the subject matter boring, therefore dismissing the importance. It could be that the curriculum or the teaching method is indeed not stimulating, but “stupid” and “boring” are keywords that should start parents investigating the matter.
Number 2: Makes frequent trips to the nurse or misses school
Children who struggle with school will make excuses not to attend. Lagging behind classmates can make kids feel unhappy, anxious, or overwhelmed in class. Anxiety and discomfort manifest in physical complaints like fatigue or a headache, but it is a flight or fight reaction to avoid distress. In older kids, it can escalate to skipping school without your knowledge.
Commonly, kids will refuse school more after vacations or sick days, because they are trying to prolong the calm feelings that occur during breaks. A red flag that should trigger parental intervention is a child who wants to skip special days at school, where the average child would be excited to attend a party, assembly, or field trip.
Number 3: Asks the same questions repeatedly
Anxiety over school can cause children to ask a lot of questions, sometimes repetitively, as they seek reassurance. Rather than clarifying content they don’t understand, the questions more often focus on administrative issues, like asking the teacher to repeat multi-step directions. Careless mistakes like repeatedly leaving their name off assignments can indicate trouble in following directions, or a working memory deficit.
If your child understands the subject matter but gets marked off for forgetting steps, it’s an indication that parents should seek assistance developing executive function skills.
Number 4: Calls themselves dumb or stupid
A consequence of not being able to remember directions, or consistently forgetting homework is that children get labeled as lazy, distracted, or troublemakers. Socially aware kids will label themselves before anyone else has a chance to lower expectations.
School problems are more often a sign that the child isn’t getting enough support and needs help. If your child seems low on confidence or self-esteem, it’s time to start an investigation into the core problem.
Number 5: Complains about a mean teacher
Teachers get frustrated with kids who disrupt class, appear not to care about learning, and constantly seek asylum from a bathroom pass. Studies show that ADHD kids will get as many as 1500 non-verbal signs of disapproval from those around them over the course of a day. A sigh, a joke at their expense, rolling of eyes from other kids or a teacher makes a permanent mark on self-esteem and social standing.
If your child has a consistent trend of complaints about a teacher or group work, there may be a deeper issue at hand. Plan an intervention to discover the cause.
Number 6: Avoids talking about school
The universal answer when asked how the school day went is, “fine.” If your child doesn’t want to talk about school, changes the subject, fidgets, leaves the room or lashes out when you try to discuss school or homework, there’s an issue.
When she says she’s not learning anything new, or hides interim grade reports, start the process of finding out what’s behind the behavior.
Number 7: Misbehaves in class
Beware of anger, frustration, and tantrums. Increase in bad behavior can signal frustration due to an inability to cope with school demands. A child who expresses frustration when the schedule is upended or other kids aren’t following the rules is signaling distress. When a kid is struggling, and the school system upends everything dependable, kids will lash out.
Kids transition quickly from feeling upset or threatened into a fight or flight response. Yelling, throwing chairs, or pushing over a desk are screams for help that should trigger a parental investigation.
Number 8: Leaves things at home and is disorganized
Perhaps your child was fine all through elementary school, but upon starting middle school, everything falls apart. Grades are in a steady decline, papers coming home with instructions to re-do the assignment, or a huge leap in test anxiety are indicators of struggle.
It’s not an issue of understanding the curriculum or being able to do the work. It’s that the expectations of juggling multiple teachers and assignments and the inability to break a project down into parts start taking a toll on grades. If your kid is struggling with disorganization and scheduling more than she is with content, it’s time to seek help.
Number 9: Homework takes substantially longer than peers
There’s a rule of thumb in teaching that a child should only get 10-20 minutes in first grade, and then 20 more minutes every year after that, so that seniors in high school should expect two hours per night. When a child believes that she hates math, avoiding anxiety can get in the way of learning or showing what she knows. If your child is taking substantially longer than this to finish nightly homework, you’ll need to figure out if the homework load is too high or if your child is taking longer to get it done.
Number 10: Lags behind peers academically
One of the most obvious indicators of challenges at school is on the report card. It’s also important to know what your child should be able to master at certain age levels. School gets harder every year, so if your child doesn’t have the mental tools to organize information, it’s just going to compound year after year. Self-esteem issues and changes in peer relationships will result if left unmanaged. If your child has trouble with benchmarks, intervene as soon as you can.
Huntington Learning Center: Don’t wait to address the problem
Even well-trained teachers can miss problems. They can’t see the child when he wakes up in the morning, or hear him talk about himself after school. They don’t have the insight to how frustrated your kid gets while doing homework. Do what you can do to assess the problem, but find an expert who has a track record of solving these kinds of problems.
Skill-based teaching at Huntington Learning Center
It’s not that June can’t learn her multiplication tables, it’s that she struggles with the underlying mental tools that allow the brain to sort and store memories, pay attention on command, use logic to solve problems, and process information. You need an expert educator who will work one-on-one with your child to investigate the underlying cause and use skill-based teaching methods to solve the long-term problem.
The teachers at Huntington Learning Center don’t just help with homework. The program isn’t designed to offer tutoring or a quick fix. Every student is evaluated thoroughly by the expert staff in a 3-4 hour analysis, and a customized program is created based on the results. After that, Kindergarten-3rd graders work one-on-one with teachers, while 4th graders and older might work with 2-3 children in a group. The experts at Huntington also offer ACT and SAT prep classes which focus on test-taking strategies and techniques to boost performance.
Certified Teachers at Huntington Learning Center
If school is the source of frustration, then seek out teaching professionals who understand learning differences and childhood development. Certified teachers who can work one-on-one with your child to overcome challenges will allow your child to improve in a safe environment. Huntington Learning Centers employs expert teachers who have proven success records tackling learning disabilities and special education.
Book an appointment
Call for a risk-free appointment to learn more about the expert teaching staff at Huntington Learning Center. We can help your child develop lifelong skills.
Huntington Learning Center
2800 S Interstate Highway 35 #150
Round Rock, TX 78681
Located in the Crossing Point shopping center
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Huntington Learning Center. All opinions are my own.