Leaves are changing color and falling to the ground. The temperature has dropped and the sun is setting sooner. Everything is about pumpkins, your food, drinks, fragranced items; it must be autumn.
This is great time to do a status check in regards to your child’s education. Chances are the first report cards are arriving at home and maybe some parent-teacher conferences have just past or are underway now. The school-year routine is set at home and things are back to normal, at least for the cooler months of the year. Were you a little shocked at what your child’s teacher had to say during the conference or were you a bit caught off guard on a few grades? It’s completely normal that as the new school year ramps up some gaps widen in terms of learning. What’s not normal is hoping that those gaps will eventually close or thinking time will improve things. Chances are that if your child is struggling now, even a little bit, and the issue isn’t corrected sooner the struggle will worsen significantly.
Much of what children learn in school builds upon itself. Especially in mathematics. Complete mastery of one concept is needed before beginning another, but don’t assume that there will be time to ensure every student has sufficiently mastered the concept. Teachers and schools are held accountable for covering a certain amount of material within a school year. The material is usually paced and taught based on how long it ‘should take’ rather than how long it is actually taking based on assessment data.
So, who is responsible for making sure your child has mastered the missed concepts even though class has moved on? That would be you, the parent. While it seems unfair that we rely on our educational system to teach our children what they need to know but are often left in the dark on some topic or concept. Therefore, parents are left holding the bag and wondering what to do.
Keeping an open forum with your child’s teacher is a great way to start. By the time you’ve started to notice your child is struggling with something in school, their teacher has likely already noticed it too. Check in with them often, especially if you don’t receive much graded work returned or progress reports. Grades are important and our society puts a lot of stock into that one letter or percentage equaling an expected level of intelligence. However, don’t just assume that if the grades seem ok, then everything must be fine and your child is learning accordingly. Familiarize yourself with how their teacher grades work, (usually found in a syllabus). Sometimes a lack of conceptual understanding on your child’s part is masked by things like “participation” points. This means that D level work can be masked with a B because your child is willing to raise their hand and interact during class. Those ‘participation’ points won’t matter much down the road if the mastery isn’t there.
Many of our Scholars come to us for a need of intense tutoring. They are one or more grade levels behind and are in critical need of help. However, we also have a number of Scholars who come to us because they need help just from time to time, need a little help with a project or a tough subject, or because even though the grades are ok there is a concern of mastery. Often a tutor is only considered when an academic ‘problem’ has been identified. Much like hiring an attorney because you suddenly have an urgent legal issue. It’s a good idea to find and get to know an attorney so you know who to turn to in a legal crisis, or who to call in case you just have a legal question. Therefore, it’s a good idea to find and get to know a tutor in case of an academic crisis or just when a little extra help is needed. A tutor is your educational ally! Besides the obvious role that a tutor plays; teaching on an intense concentrated level. A tutor can also be a great source for navigating many education related areas, like applying and getting into that first choice high school. Or, identifying a learning disability and how to receive extra resources through the school. Of course, with anything, do your research and identify a tutoring center that will best meet your needs. I’ll get you started in the right direction, www.scholarfactoryky.com!
Now that you’ve stopped racking leaves long enough to read this, and we have you craving a Pumpkin Spice Latte from your favorite barista, consider this final thought. Scholar Factory, LLC. is here when you need us. We are prepared to handle any academic crisis should one arise and we always have time to help with the occasional tough homework assignment or big looming project. It’s better than Pumpkin Spice Tutoring, it’s like Chocolate Tutoring - it’s available all year long and its never a bad choice.