Helping Your Struggling Student

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Most parents can think back to when they struggled with a subject or concept during their grade school days—and now empathize with their children, who may be experiencing the same.

Yet with new learning trends and updated subject matter, parents can sometimes feel completely in the dark when it comes to helping their child conquer academic hurdles.

Hillary Malone Tilton, Sylvan Learning of West Michigan owner and executive director, knows well the positive effect personalized assistance has on students who need it.

"Not every child will excel in all subjects," Malone Tilton said, "and it's important to know what subjects your child might need a little help in. If your child is struggling in a particular subject, talk to their teachers about what you can do to help, including outside tutoring, and work together to devise a plan for success."

Sylvan's learning programs, she notes, are individually customized to address children's specific skill gaps in the areas of reading, writing, math, study skills, homework help, and STEM camps (robotics and coding) and also offer several free resources for parents to support their children's success—from a blog with timely and practical education advice for parents to a learning styles quiz, worksheets, homework and study skills tips, best practices, and more.

Malone Tilton recalled a student who benefitted from Sylvan's guidance, since she was in the second grade. She was smart and determined but had been in an accident; the trauma affected her ability to recall information. "We worked with her to reteach some of the basics and get her not only caught up, but ahead of her class."

That student—who is now in college—still returns to Sylvan in the summer, to get ahead while class is out.

"Even a child who is doing well in the classroom can benefit from outside help, to sharpen study and test-taking skills," said Malone Tilton.

"A supplemental education provider can help your child prepare for a test or obtain academic enrichment in a particular subject, including developing better study skills, becoming a more efficient reader or writer, and preparing for college entrance exams."

According to the National Education Foundation, additional ways to help your child succeed include:

  • Establishing a daily routine for things like meals, homework and chores—an ideal home environment that encourages learning.
  • Showing your child how the skills they're learning at school translate into real-life situations.
  • Being a role model by demonstrating to your child how you're a lifelong learner, through the use of technology, reading and writing.
  • Stepping up as an advocate by being vocal at school board meetings about resources needed at your child's school.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for West Michigan Woman.

This article originally appeared in West Michigan Woman.


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