'GPS' for Students

Detecting roadblocks on the path to success
Provided by Tutor.com

Homework, studying and tests are a fact of life for every student -- and every parent. But, as the year goes on and classes get more difficult, students sometimes get lost in the maze of schoolwork.

Unlike the GPS system in your car, children don't always alert you when they make wrong turns, so parents don't always know when they're in trouble. There are warning signs, though, that parents can keep an eye out for before a major detour happens:

"The dog ate my homework"
Learning is cumulative, and that means every homework assignment counts toward complete understanding of a subject. Students might get away with one missed assignment, but several missed assignments can add up to lower grades and falling behind.

If your child is missing homework because he or she doesn't remember when it's due, you might suggest writing down each assignment in a notebook and check off the list each night.

If your child is skipping assignments because of a failure to understand the subject, don't wait to get help. Find someone who can step in to provide extra help so your child doesn't fall behind -- teachers and guidance counselors can provide referrals, or try online tutoring for immediate help.

"I don't like my teacher"
Sometimes students and teachers just don't click in the classroom. Teaching and learning styles vary, and it can be difficult for a child to recognize that problem and know when to ask for help.

Encourage your child to ask for further explanation of the subject in class, talk to other teachers, or ask for help from an outside source. Sometimes all your child needs is a different explanation of a concept to "get it."

"I'm no good at algebra -- I give up"
Most children won't send up an obvious flare if they have fallen behind in class, but they may exhibit signs of low confidence and self-esteem that are tied to schoolwork. This could be a sign that your child is stuck, frustrated and needs help. Take action quickly before things get worse.

Talk to your child to determine the root of the problem and work with the teacher to determine the best way to get your child back on track.

Getting back on the road
If you see signs that show your child is heading for a detour, act quickly. Help your child with homework in subjects you know, and ask for help with the subjects you don't know. Teachers and guidance counselors can provide resources for you, and tutors can provide extra help in difficult subjects.

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