September brings back a lot of memories for parents. We often think about those good old days when we were in school with our friends and all the fun we had. We remember teachers, school staff and principals that left an impression on our lives. We might laugh at silly things we did with a friend or sometimes cringe at not so nice things other kids may have done.
One of the other things that going back to school brings to mind is all of the tests, classwork, and homework. A lot of us may have had a class or two where we struggled for a halfway decent grade. Some may have had to work hard and push themselves in every class and were probably great at other things.
When school days were over, a lot of us expressed a sigh of relief. Fast forward to now—when the kids come home with homework—it may be like Deja Vu. For me, math brings back memories of just doing what I could to make it through in school. The funny thing is I’ve since spent many years working in the financial industry. In fact, I literally hated math and couldn’t wait until the day I could put algebra and geometry behind me. When I tell people that story, they usually ask the obvious question…how did you end up working in the financial industry then? Fortunately, it was the process of getting to the answer that confused me all those years ago and not the answers themselves. Believe it not, that’s helpful because what I’ve done over the years had more to do with the answers and what to do with them.
What happens when your child brings home work you don’t know how to do? Do you immediately jump in to help them while freaking out in your head? Do you wing it and just hope the answers you help them get are right? Do you blame their lack of understanding on the teacher’s way of teaching the material? Or do you wonder like many parents why in the world the way they teach them the answer is way longer than what it takes for YOU to get the answer? As a student, you can kind of make it through the best way possible. When the student becomes the parent, however, the story changes big time. Here are a few tips that might help you help your own child:
- Acknowledge what your strengths really are as it pertains to school subjects.
- Identify school help programs in the subjects your child may struggle with early so as to know what to do if they face some challenges.
- Put your personal emphasis on helping with things you know you can help with because it’ll be less stressful for you both.
- Make sure to go to curriculum night, open house, or schedule a call to talk to the teachers to discuss their style so you know what your child will be dealing with and make a plan.
- If possible, help your kids find study groups with peers that understand certain subjects they can help them with and let your kids also be in groups where they may be able to help others.
- Get all the information on available local tutors in case you need to call in a professional.
- Scout out local community centers for free or discounted tutoring programs if you need to.
- Don’t be afraid to admit “it’s not your thing” but you will help them find the help they need. This will help them realize they don’t have to be perfect but they can still do it with help. (This goes a long way in life.)
- Reach out to family members who may have strengths in the areas you child may need help with if they’re available and willing to help.
- Be patient with your child. Not everyone will get straight A’s in all classes. Sometimes we have
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