As a parent, it can be difficult to see your student struggle in a subject in school. There are times you’re familiar enough with the subject to help them overcome their issues, but sometimes, you simply have to find ways to inspire them to overcome their struggles on their own.
Whether they’re enrolled in a traditional school or an online charter school, there will come a time when they need a little extra motivation. No matter what subject your student is struggling in, letting them know they have your support can go a long way. Here are seven tips for inspiring your student to tackle the subjects that are causing them to struggle.
Relate What the Subject is to Something They’ll Understand
One of the most effective ways to help your student get past a difficult subject is by connecting it to their interests and/or making it real-world applicable. Sometimes, what appears to be a struggling student may actually be a bored student; if you can keep them interested in what they’re learning, they may make more of an effort to understand it.
Talk Them Through Their Issues
Even if you have no clue how to help your student with their challenging schoolwork, you can still help them. Ask them to explain what they’re stuck on and what they do know. By verbalizing their issue, they may be able to walk themselves through their struggle. After all, one of the most powerful ways to learn is through teaching.
Encourage Your Student to Reach Out
If talking it through doesn’t help, encourage them to reach out to their teacher. They can stay behind after class is out or send an email to their online teacher with their questions. Many teachers offer a syllabus with office hours and ways to get in touch with them, so urge your student to use those modes of communication to get the help they need. Remind them that their teacher wants to see them succeed just as much as you do, and the best way to get guidance is through someone who is an expert in the subject.
Help Your Student Find Intrinsic Motivation
When a student is forced to learn something they don’t want to, it will result in a struggle. There will always be a subject your student may not thoroughly enjoy, but if you can help them find intrinsic motivation for learning, they’ll be able to tap into their own personal reasons for getting the work done. Help them discover their love of learning or remind them of the bigger picture, like getting into college.
Offer Rewards & Praise
Sometimes intrinsic motivation isn’t enough, and it then becomes up to you to help them extrinsically find their motivation. An encouraging word, recognition, or praise can go a long way in helping them not give up. You can also use rewards—like dinner at a place of their choosing or a new book in a topic they love—to keep them going and working to get past their obstacles in the subject they struggle with.
Find Ways for Your Student to Track Their Progress
Many online classes offer techniques for students to track their progress, such as exercises, quizzes, and online assessments. If your student isn’t enrolled in an online school program, help them see how far they’ve come by building portfolios of all their past work or creating charts so they can see their improvement. This may also be where rewards come in; when they hit certain goals, celebrate those achievements with a special treat.
Give Your Student Some Say in How They Learn
Whenever possible, give your student a say in their education. One of the benefits of online learning, for example, is that the curriculum can be tailored to your student’s interests. Other schooling programs may offer electives or additional extracurricular classes that may inspire them to learn.
Likewise, keep in mind the way your student learns. If they’re more visual, look for video resources or links mentioned in their textbooks. Or, if you know your student has more energy at night, let them start homework after dinner, instead of pushing them to get it done before. Giving them a say in how they learn will help them feel more in control of their education and might motivate them to rise to that responsibility.
How do you help your student when they’re struggling in a subject? Let us know in the comments below!