What to Do if Your Child Falls Behind in School


Many children will go through phases where they want nothing to do with schooling.  This could be due to teachers they dislike, subjects that have grown difficult, of problems with friends that escalate to the point that they disrupt your child’s education.  While there are certainly steps you can take to address issues with other children (asking the school for mediation, contacting other parents, etc.) you may be at a loss as to how to proceed when your child simply hates the subject or the teacher.  Getting him moved to a different classroom could send the wrong message, and it probably won’t help anyway if the problem is that he hates math or science.  So what can you do to spark your child’s interest and get him back on track before his grades slip and he falls irrevocably behind?  Here are just a few options you may want to consider.

  1. Help with homework.  If you’ve been rather lenient about homework in the past, perhaps it’s time to institute an after-school schedule.  Give your child a break for snacks and a little entertainment, and then get to work on the homework.  Sit with him so that you can answer any questions and check over his work when he’s done.  Getting his grades up could be just as simple as putting in a little table time.
  2. Make it fun.  If your child bemoans the fact that history and math are totally boring, then you may have to find ways to spice up these otherwise humdrum subjects.  Think about taking your kid to a natural history museum for an up-close looks at some major historical events (and a few dinosaur skeletons), go to the library for some age-appropriate books on historical figures (even fictional accounts could help him get into the “story” in “history”), or use real-world examples when teaching math lessons (a bowl of blueberries could make addition and subtraction a cinch).
  3. Hire a tutor.  Engaging the services of a home tutor might be just the ticket to get your child back on track with his studies.  Home tuition, where you send your child to the tutor’s house instead, is also an option (and possibly a better one since it gets him out of his normal environment).  Either way, you’re bound to see an improvement.  Your child is less likely to act up in front of a stranger (while he has no problem hurling his math book at you when he’s frustrated).  And a tutor may have better tricks on hand to help your child learn whatever lessons seem to be vexing him.
  4. Consider private school.  This is a big leap, but if your child’s problems seem insurmountable (or simply out of your hands) the personalized attention provided by a private institution could be just what he needs to turn it around.
  5. Sit in on a few classes.  Perhaps the problem is neither the teacher nor the subject, but rather your child.  No parent really wants to believe this, but if multiple teachers have singled your student out as a class clown, you may want to make an appointment to sit in on a session and watch from the back of the room.  Don’t tell your child you plan to do this, simply sneak in and have a seat so that you can observe the class.  If your child is simply goofing off instead of paying attention, you may want to make a habit of showing up randomly.  He will likely mend his ways just to keep you from coming in and embarrassing him.


  1. Brandy says:

    I would do anything it takes. Since I am very book smart and my oldest is as well … I would certainly make it a famiy effort to start and see if that helps if not, I would use all resources to push forward in a positive way before my child loses complete interest in school!

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