Be prepared for the long haul.
Learning is a process, and children (adults, too) don’t all learn at the same rate.
In fact, children don’t even mature at the same rate or grow at the same rate physically, so why would we expect them to learn at the same rate? Why do we think all ten year old’s are ready for the same math or language learning at exactly the same time? It does not make sense.
Your child might excel in one area and be behind in others.
Your child might be behind in all areas.
Your child might excel in one grade and fall behind in another.
Enough of that. You get the picture.
The point is that you love your child, and he or she needs your support at any stage and throughout any challenge. This support needs to be unconditional love but also, at times, a tough love. You have to be the adult in the relationship because there will be occasions when “I don’t want to” just isn’t an option. Even democracy has limits and rules!
Never give up!
I never give up on my students, so you should definitely never give up. Oh, believe me – some of my students wish I would give up; but, over the long haul, many of them have thanked me for making them stay on track even when they fought back.
No doubt, you will face trying times when you have explained the same concept for the one hundredth time (more than likely what seems like…) and your child looks at you as if he or she has never heard about this concept in his or her life!
Take a deep breath (or ten) and try to think of an alternative way to explain or walk more slowly through each step.
Use the internet to help you. For example, there are lots of videos that might have a unique way of explaining the material. Each person has a different learning point and access doors, so alternatives can be helpful.
WARNING – Blatant plug coming here:
Hiring a tutor is a great way to help ameliorate some of these issues. An independent tutor will often have more tools at his or her disposal. Thinking outside the box is often necessary when you tutor a wide variety of learners and you are not restricted by a bureaucracy. You can focus on that particular student and his or her own unique learning style.
Your child might have a slow pace that keeps him or her behind others at the same age or grade level. Don’t panic. Take a proactive approach, and help your child take a proactive approach as well to make change. The important point is to keep moving forward. Despite what you might have heard, this is NOT a horse race!
On several occasions, I have seen a student suddenly blossom.
One young student of mine did not read anything beyond his name (first name only – three letters long) and a very few memorized words until he was nearly eleven years old! The so-called “window” should have been closed; however, I am a firm believer that our brains are receiving information even when we are not always fully engaged or able. The instruction he received must have been making connections because he suddenly started to read. He found out that books have a lot to offer; and, before you know it, he was reading more and more – and not basic learners, but stories only a little below his age level. Yes, he read slowly and needed lots of help at first, but he was reading! It wasn’t long before his pace improved as well.
Other students I have seen have not made quite the same dramatic improvements, but many have suddenly boosted their performance after a long plateau. Parents sometimes think it is a miracle. It is not a miracle; it is staying the course and never giving up.
The plateau (or plateaus) should not be left dormant. Keep the information coming and the practice schedule on track. Remember that sometimes change comes suddenly in a burst, but in reality all that “drip, drip, drip” of information was working and making connections in the brain at some level all along the way.
Never give up.
What if your child is never going to be an A+ student?
So what. That is not important. Lots of students who don’t reach the A’s or even B’s manage to do amazing things in the world and in their lives – but not if they don’t try. You should still encourage your children to do as much as possible – reach for their highest achievement. Just because they won’t be the top student does not mean that you or they should give up or coast. They don’t know what they can do until they try. The don’t know how high they can get unless they reach for it. They don’t even know for sure that the A is impossible!
Prepare yourself for the long haul with your children, and never give up. Don’t despair. Keep helping them work toward their goals and instill in them the desire to keep trying.
You might be pleasantly surprised with the outcome even if it isn’t exactly as you initially imagined!
I know you can do it. And I know your child can as well. If you need help, please get in touch.
Video: The Long Haul