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MomTalk.com November 19, 2017:   The women's magazine for moms about children, family, health, home, fashion, careers, marriage & more


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How to Recover When Kids Get Behind in School

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By Ursula Richards Scheele, M.S.Ed.

When a middle or high school students falls behind in his/her schoolwork, the student and his parent/s often enter a power struggle over how to get the child back on track, and how quickly this can be accomplished. Often, one of the main hurdles in this situation is making sure that succeeding in school is the number one priority for the child and the family.

studyinglate250.jpg

By Ursula Richards Scheele, M.S.Ed.

When a middle or high school students falls behind in his/her schoolwork, the student and his parent/s often enter a power struggle over how to get the child back on track, and how quickly this can be accomplished. Often, one of the main hurdles in this situation is making sure that succeeding in school is the number one priority for the child and the family. When a child is falling behind in school and grades are suffering, schoolwork needs to become the primary focus so the situation doesn't continue to deteriorate. This means that other demands on the child's time–such as extracurricular activities, after school/weekend jobs, religious activities, sleep-overs, etc.–may need to be temporarily reduced until the child proves that he/she can again manage both the schoolwork and the other activities.

The child then needs to organize a list for each class of all of the missing or overdue assignments, quizzes and tests that can still be turned or taken for credit. The list needs to specify the order in which the work needs to be completed. This is challenging because the student needs to keep up with the regular daily work, tests, and quizzes, while simultaneously working on the overdue work (thus the big time commitment here).

This is a great time to introduce (or reintroduce) your child to a student planner. Some schools provide student planners in the fall; if yours does not, pick a planner up at any store that has school or office supplies. It does not need to be elaborate, expensive, or cute; think function here. Typically the two pages a week style is good for this age. You should review with your child how to use the planner. Work together on filling in any family plans you might have scheduled, days off from school, special events, etc. Then start working on filling in the academic deadlines: upcoming tests, quizzes, project deadlines. I suggest checking the planner with your child every day, prior to homework time. If your child is resistant to this, try tying use of the planner to a simple reward or privilege at home that can be fulfilled at the end of the week.

This brings me to a final, but important tip: schedule time for homework each night. Is it painful after a day at work to struggle through this with your child? Yes, it can be. However, think of the investment in time as a way you can help your child learn to be successful in the future. Learning how to recover from setbacks is an important life skill and often the steps are the same: commit to solving the issue, make a plan, and just do it.



Categories: Tweens, Teens, Children,


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