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Educational Support Q&A

What are the signs of a struggling student?

When a child or teen begins to struggle with their school work, it is best to get them the help they need as soon as possible. The longer it takes for a student to get help, the more lost they become since the school learning continues forward.

Below are some signs to look for. Keep in mind that while anyone may have an off day without it signaling an overall problem if any of these become a pattern or start to become at all regular, the earlier you find out what is behind the change so you can help them, the better.

  • Becomes easily frustrated
  • Lacks self-motivation
  • Has difficulty staying on task
  • Sudden refusal to discuss school
  • Takes longer than normal to complete written work
  • Begins to argue with you over school work
  • Becomes anxious and stressed about homework
  • Starts to leave books and assignments at school
  • Has difficulty following directions
  • Seems to work longer and harder with little or no improvement
  • Is no longer organized and forgets projects and tests dates
  • Turns in incomplete homework or none at all
  • Makes frequent and careless errors
  • Seems to have trouble with note-taking skills
  • Struggles with basic reading, writing, math, or spelling skills
  • Has difficulty remembering and does not retain learned skills
  • Makes negative comments about the teacher or about school in general
  • Major change in attitude about school
  • Misbehaving at school
  • Your child’s teacher expresses concern
  • Receives notes home from teachers about classroom misconduct

What should my child know before starting the first grade?

Both academic and social skills are expected before beginning first grade. The following list is to serve as some benchmarks, not a complete list.

  • Cut along a line with scissors.
  • Understand time concepts like yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
  • Pay attention for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Follow three-step directions, such as go to the shelf, choose a book, then sit quietly on the rug.
  • Hold a crayon or pencil for writing.
  • Share materials, such as crayons and blocks.
  • Know the eight basic colors: red, yellow, blue, green, orange, black, white, and pink.
  • Recognize and write the letters of the alphabet in upper- and lowercase forms.
  • Know the relationship between letters and the sounds they make.
  • Recognize sight words such as the and show interest in reading or trying to read simple sentences.
  • Spell their first and last name.
  • Write consonant-vowel-consonant words such as bat and fan.
  • Retell the main points of a story that has been read aloud.
  • Express an opinion by drawing, writing, or speaking (e.g. “My favorite book is…”).
  • Identify and be able to write numbers from 0 to 20.
  • Count by ones and tens to 100.
  • Do addition problems with sums up to 10.
  • Do subtraction problems with numbers 0 to 10.
  • Identify basic shapes, such as square, triangle, rectangle, and circle.
  • Know their address and phone number
  • Share and communicate appropriately with other students
  • Respect their peers
  • Raise their hand before being called on

How do I make the most of a parent teacher conference?

The following includes a sample of questions to ask your child’s teacher. For more information, check out this valuable resource:

  • What are they learning and what do I need to know about what they’re learning? What ‘standards’ do you use and what do I need to know about them?
  • How will you respond if or when my child struggles in class and how can I help at home?
  • What are the most important and complex (content-related) ideas my child needs to understand by the end of the year?
  • Do you tend to focus on strengths or weaknesses?
  • How are creativity and innovative thinking used on a daily basis in your classroom?
  • How is critical thinking used on a daily basis in your classroom?
  • How are assessments designed in this classroom? What are the strengths and weaknesses of those assessments?
  • What can I do to meaningfully support literacy in my home?
  • What kinds of questions do you suggest that I ask my children on a daily basis about your class?
  • How exactly is learning personalized in your classroom? In the school?
  • How do you measure academic progress, and what are the strengths and weaknesses of that approach?
  • What are the most common instructional or literacy strategies you will use this year, and why?
  • What learning models do you use (e.g., project-based learning, mobile learning, game-based learning, etc.), and what do you see as the primary benefits of that approach?
  • What are the best school or district resources that we should consider using as a family to support our child in the classroom?
  • Is there technology you’d recommend that can help support my child in self-directed learning at home?
  • What are the most common barriers you see to academic progress in your classroom?
  • How is education changing?
  • How do you see the role of the teacher in the learning process?
  • What would the ideal learning environment, free of any constraints, look like?
  • What am I not asking but should be?

Considering private school for your child? Review some of the basic questions you should be asking.

The following includes a sample of questions to ask when considering a private school. For more information, check out this valuable resource:

  • What is your school philosophy or vision?
  • What type of student are you looking for?
  • What curriculum do you use?
  • What are you class sizes and student-to-teach ratios?
  • How much is tuition and what does it include?
  • What extracurricular activities to you offer?
  • What are you teachers’ qualifications and what professional development opportunities are available to them?
  • How do you integrate technology into the classroom and curriculum?
  • How do you measure individual achievement and progress?
  • What is student life like?
  • How can parents get involved in school life?
  • How is your school operated and governed?

How do I help a child that’s falling behind or struggling in school?

  • Look for patterns that could help you to find the root cause of the issue.
  • Know the difference between typical developmental growing pains vs a larger opportunity for improvement.
  • Share your finding with the teacher or educational expert.
  • Be open and consider connecting with other parents and caregivers.
  • Set the tone for the larger picture that can be a struggle with a child dealing with everyday challenges and looking for instant gratification.
  • Reward the effort of hard work and dedication to boost confidence.

Are you ready to start making a difference? Call (954) 398-5046 today!

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