As a parent, you can only do so much to help your child improve—he or she needs to do the rest. Part of that means knowing when and how to ask for help.
A staggering number of kids are hesitant to ask their teacher for extra help. Some kids are afraid that they’ll look stupid in front of their peers. Remind your child that if he or she has a question, odds are pretty good that someone else has that same question. When they ask a question, it can often benefit the entire class. They can also write down their question and ask the teacher later.
Other kids fear that they won’t understand the lesson if it’s repeated. This is an understandable fear. However, hearing the concept explained again—without the distraction of other students—allows the teacher to explore the topic in greater detail. Sometimes it takes hearing it from a different person before it sinks in. Sometimes it takes repeated exposure to the material before the light bulb of knowledge flickers on.
You can tell your kid to ask for help if they don’t understand, but that doesn’t guarantee it’ll happen. Make asking the question the student’s responsibility, and ensure they’ll follow through. You can accomplish this by helping your child compose a letter or email to the teacher.
Dear Mr. Horton,
I’m working on my homework, and I don’t understand what you said about monomials. I looked through my class notes and referred back to the book, but I still don’t know what makes a number a monomial. Would there be a time I could come in for some extra help?
Make sure the child writes, signs, and follows up on the email. Your child is accountable for learning—make sure he or she connects with the teacher. You are the middle man until that happens.
Help your child understand when and how to ask for help. Facilitate if you have to, but don’t get in the way. You can also contact your child’s school to explore free tutoring or mentoring options.