Tag Archives: Tackling Academic Challenges

5 Success Strategies for Tackling Academic Challenges

As the school year moves along, our kids inevitably hit a few bumps along the way.  They will encounter academic challenges that will cause them to lose momentum and the cadence of the new year will shift as the scramble to find the best way forward.

Often we don’t know about these things until we’re well into the first marking period and progress reports start coming home.  We can have a heads up on the issues our kids may be facing and do our best to jump on it sooner rather than later.

5  Success Strategies for Tackling Academic Challenges include:

  1. Identify the problem – Is the problem strictly academic in nature? Has it just surfaced or is it been a recurring one?
  2. Help them decide on an action plan – What learning styles and motivation have to do with true learning.
  3. Be their compass – Goal setting and guidance and how we as parents can help our kids get there.
  4. Come up for air – More than just school and grades, how are we helping our kids discover other strengths that they can transfer to their overall education?
  5. Reward their efforts – Finding ways to motivate our kids so that they bring the best of themselves and value excellence over perfection.

If you missed our Back to School/Forward to Success Teleseminar Series- Part 2–Tackling Academic Challenges, you can:

 

Wishing you and your family all the best for a successful school year!

 

Donna and Pat

Did I mention that I flunked out of college?

I was a sophomore in college and had transferred from one school to another with a 3.25 GPA. Obviously, I had the stuff when it came to studying and succeeding.  Or so I thought.   I’m sad to report that within one semester, I was bounced out of that new school with a whopping 1.25 GPA.  When my transcript came in the mail, I thought it might be bad but not that bad.  My dad was less than happy with me and my friends less than impressed. 

“No school for you. Don’t come back for one year!”

That fall when all of my college friends went back to school, I didn’t return.  I was on academic probation and had to spend the next months taking courses at yet another college and proving that I had what it took to be a college student in good academic standing.

By the following fall, I was accepted into Eastern University as a junior and happily graduated from there two years later.  It only took me four schools and five years to finish; but finish I did.

Why is she telling us all of this?

You may be asking yourself why I’m telling you all of this.  You’d think I’d want to keep something this embarrassing and humiliating to myself.  But the truth is that it was my failure that actually led to my success. 

Would I justify what it took for my grades to plummet?  No way!  I can share more about that with you offline.  But it’s what I did next that makes all the difference.

When I fell down, I could have stayed down.  I felt defeated and ashamed at 19 to be academically dismissed.  I could have called it quits right then and there.  I could have told myself I wasn’t cut out for college and that it just wasn’t for me.

Fail forward

But that failure led me to do some pretty deep soul-searching and in the absence of all of my friends, I had to decide that I’d do whatever it took to go back and finish. 

It would be great to tell you a wonderful story of how my dad encouraged me; that is after he got over wanting to disown me.  But that’s not what happened.  In fact, when I first heard the news that I flunked out I wanted to just give up and do something else with my life.

My dad’s words of wisdom and inspiration went something like this, “So you’re just going to sit around and do nothing.  I guess that’s it then Joe College—you’re not going to finish school, are you?”  It was like someone lit a fire under me.  The thought of my dad losing faith in me and being disappointed in me was too much.  I jumped off the couch where I’d spent my afternoons lounging and watching soap operas and said, “You just watch me!”  It was my pivotal moment.

So what does all of this have to do with you?

The most wonderful thing is that’s not the end of my story.  Not only did I go on to fall down many more times after, the main thing is that I kept getting back up and keep getting back up.  It’s not over till it’s over and I’m still here!

As parents, we tend to look at things in freeze frames.  I’m sure you’re quite happy that your life now is not judged on your life then because I have this funny feeling that I’m not alone!

So why do we do that to our kids?  We panic.  We fret. We feel guilty and inadequate.  We strive to do our best and hope and work toward better days.  All of that is part of where we are as we raise our kids.  So whether your child is getting on the school bus for the first time or pulling out the driveway in your car alone for the first time, the fact remains that we can’t control or oversee everything. 

They have to fail sometimes.  They have to fall down sometimes.  And the best thing we can do for them is model how to get back up.  We can show them how to learn from their mistakes and get back up and keep moving forward until they reach success.

Today’s Challenge

Join me today in seeing our kids beyond this moment.  Today as you look at your child, remind yourself that it’s not the end of the story.  Our children are evolving, growing, and learning.  And the truth is so are we!  So let’s partner with them in the everyday things and the big things.  Let’s stand by them and encourage them when they fall down and applaud them when they get back up.  Let’s remember the gifts and the treasure they possess inside and believe for them and in them until they can do that for themselves.

I’m so grateful that flunking out of college was only a chapter in my life; not the whole book.  I’ve written many chapters since and have many more yet to write.

Just a reminder that we’re standing and partnering with you to help your child write successful academic chapters that will bring a great return now and in the years to come.

Donna Duffy
Academic Connections Tutoring

Tackling Academic Challenges: Tip #5-Reward Their Efforts

Here’s the last tip in our series.

 

Just to review:

 

Tip 1.  Identify the problem

 

Tip 2.  Help them decide on an action plan

 

Tip 3.  Be their compass

 

Tip 4.  Come up for air

 

Tip 5.  Reward their efforts   

 

Our role is a constant and committed one. We want the very best for our children. We know how tough the world is and we want to equip them to be successful in it. As we applaud their efforts, even the smallest of steps, we help build confidence in them. As they rise up and do what they should, we need to reward them for a job well done. We may not be all the way home yet, but certainly on the path to getting there. By our positive feedback, we help our kids stay on track and give them the encouragement they need to run the race all the way to the end.

Tackling Academic Challenges: Tip#4–Come up for air

Tip 4–Come up for air 

 

When grades and school become a focal point, we can tend to get tunnel vision and only see our children in their role as students. We need to relax a bit and remember that by developing them as well-rounded individuals we help to make them better students as well.

 

What do they like to do? Where do they excel? They need to also hear good, upbuilding things about themselves and know that there is more to life than just getting good grades on their report cards. Draw out every gift, every talent, and every area of strength and interest that can help them feel excited about their school year. Sports, clubs and after school activities can help our kids feel like they are still part of things at school even though they may be struggling academically. As we relate to our kids as people, not just students, our relationship with them will be based on our strong, unbreakable bond not on their performance.

 

Tackling Academic Challenges: Tip #3-Be their compass

Tip 3–Be their compass

   
As we continue looking at tackling our kids academic challenges, we know that it’s not enough to just get the ball rolling and walk away. This is the time to monitor progress by checking the school homework site, staying in touch with teachers and counselors, and remaining vigilant about helping our kids stay on top of the school work brought home everyday.

 
This is also a time to assist them as they learn more about themselves-the way they learn, the topics that interest them, the gifts and talents they’ve been given and what they might be able to do with all of it. It’s important to encourage them so that they see that even subjects and activities that might not seem to have any relevance today actually prepare them for their future, promote their mental development as well as help them gain a greater understanding and appreciation for the world around them.

 
As parents, we know all to well how important it is to cheer our kids on if they may have drifted a bit or reel them back in if they seem to have totally lost their way.  We need to be their compass and offer them guidance and direction.  Our input is so vital to their academic progress and success. 

 

 

Tackling Academic Challenges: Tip #2–Decide on an Action Plan

Tip #2 — Help them decide on an action plan.
 
Once you know what the real deal is, you can then help them develop a plan and strategy to cope with their issues. Perhaps they need to stay after school or get a tutor. Maybe they need to hang with a different circle of friends or they need help getting organized. Whatever the case may be, we as parents can do more than just help with tonight’s homework; we can help set in motion strategies they will use in school and in life.
 

At times we may feel that we want it more than they do. I have been there more than once. It is here that we have to be prepared to implement short-term solutions toward long-term goals. It can be difficult to help a child think beyond next week. But as we talk with our kids and help cultivate their interests and strengths, we help them see that they are in the driver’s seat of their own future.

 

 

 

 

 

Tackling Academic Challenges: Tip#1–Identify the Problem

The school is starting to wind down and in a few months students will begin their summer break.  Your child may have had a shaky foundation through the school year.  Though you may have done all the right stuff and put all the tools in place for success, your child may still be facing academic challenges. 

 

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll touch on a few areas for you to focus on that can help your child finish up the year more equipped and with greater confidence. The first one is:

 

 

1.  Identify the problem  Though this may seem simple enough, it may not be as easy to identify the true root of your child’s academic challenges. There may be struggles with motivation that get interpreted as laziness. There may peer issues that lead to feeling pressured all day. Or it may be that your child is truly struggling with comprehension or concentration issues. Do they need glasses? Are they unorganized? There are many reasons that they may not be doing well.  Be a Sherlock and find out. Keep watch for things that may indicate a learning issue, peer pressure or physical problem.

 

A few years ago, my son’s grades plummeted. He kept telling us he was tired and we urged him to get more sleep and work harder.  Teachers thought he was just slacking off as well. Later we found out he had mono so he needed tons of rest and it explained why he was not doing well.

 

So let’s keep digging until we truly come to the reason why our kids are struggling. There may be issues that need our attention and we need to be prepared to unearth the root of the problem so that they can get on top of things and finish well.