By Renee Smith | J&R Tutoring Academy of Indiana
Now that it has been a couple of weeks since the first grade cards have been distributed, you may be still be wondering if the less than stellar grades are going to be the norm.
Your child was likely rusty after the summer. Or perhaps there are a few rowdy students sitting nearby who create a distraction. And all your friends told you that this year was so much more difficult than last year. It always takes a little time to get back into the school schedule . . .
If you have had any or all of these thoughts, then “Guess what?” You are completely normal! However, that does not resolve the potential problem your child may have.
All of the situations mentioned could either be short term issues, or they may be real indicators of a problem.
Studies have proven that children do “lose” some skills over the summer. Those who lose the most obviously are going to have the most difficult time catching up. Although teachers do spend some time reviewing the previous year, the time spent is necessarily limited.
Elementary education is an ongoing scaffolding process. Each new skill is dependent upon the skills learned previously. When the old skills are not mastered, the ability to learn the new ones is compromised. If there is no intervention, a child can get very far behind rather quickly.
Most children know when they are behind, but they do not know why. Some develop rather elaborate coping mechanisms to hide their problems. These coping mechanisms evolve naturally when faced with the reality of their lack of knowledge.
These can include constantly dropping a pencil, not having the correct materials to do an assignment, needing to go to the bathroom, being tired, etc. Basically they are an endless variation on “the dog ate my homework.” The child will do anything to hide the real problem.
Threats and discipline are not likely to correct the problem. Waiting to see if the problem corrects itself is also a gamble.
Wouldn’t it be better to spend some extra time now with a tutor who can work with your child one-on-one, in a non-threatening environment, at his or her own speed, with materials and processes your child likes?