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by Marc Hoberman


With all the busy schedules of children today, it is harder than ever to motivate them in the school setting. But it’s important for parents to help keep kids on track. 

1.  Know when you can’t help, and why.  First of all, parents are emotionally involved in their children’s lives and this creates an enormous amount of frustration. Additionally, most parents do not have the knowledge base to effectively teach children the material they need to learn.

2.  Parents, you are the enemy! Why is it that teachers, who might not know our children well, say things that are taken as gospel but when we say the same things to our children, we don’t know what we are talking about? As much as you want to help your child, most youngsters resist assistance from their parents…..period. Take solace in the fact that when they are older and need money, you will seem very smart to them.

3.  Know when you can help, and how. No matter their grade level, children rarely ask for help. You must notice the warning signs as soon as possible so intervention can take place in a fast and efficient manner.

4.  What are the warning signs? During study time, a child’s head might be down, he or she might be crying, falling asleep or, in some cases, pulling his hair out. Low grades on quizzes, tests or projects are indications that help is needed. Teacher phone calls or emails, as well as negative progress reports, can also be signs that students are struggling.

5.  Don’t wait! Progress reports are usually mailed home five weeks (half-way) into a marking period. At this point, too much time has passed for a struggling student to make up missed work. Contact the teacher and make sure you let her know to contact you if you can help in any way. Your child’s success is everyone’s responsibility.

6.  What can you do to help? Firstly, set up a schedule of extra help sessions for your child. Many schools have peer tutoring and other resources as well. Sometimes parents feel it’s necessary to contact a professional tutor. Be wary of agencies that make you sign contracts for an excessive number of lessons. Also, ask for referrals and make sure that the person working with your child has acceptable credentials; however, some tutors who do not have Master’s degrees can also be excellent instructors.

7.   Testing. If you feel your child needs special testing accommodations or might have a learning disability, your school district can often do the testing for you. Sometimes it’s necessary to go to an outside agency, but these tests are quite costly so be sure to get a referral from someone you trust.

   It is never easy to help a struggling, frustrated youngster; but with a positive action plan, it is certainly easier to motivate your child to succeed in school.

MARC HOBERMAN, M.S. Ed., is a Rockland dad and owner of The Grade Success Education Center in Monsey. His services include instruction for students, K-12, College Prep, Speed Reading and Study Skills, and a full service College Advisement Center. He is a motivational speaker, author, and educator with over 22 years of teaching experience. He can be contacted at: gradesuccess@aol.com; www.gradesuccessinc.com; (845) 369-7967.

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