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As one of our outstanding tutors was diligently tutoring one of her student’s last week, we will call him Drew; she asked him, “Which letter comes first, the C or the K?” Drew’s response was not what she expected to here….he said, “I can’t tell, they keep moving”. This is a phenomenon is common among people with dyslexia, but Jess had not personally experienced this; no one in her family and none of my students have ever spoken of this being an issue for them. When Jess’ second oldest son, we will call him Angel, was in school they found overlays to be helpful. Jess assumed that would be beneficial for moving letters as well. When she returned to the office, Jess began doing some research and sure enough, overlays are the suggested remedy for words and letter movement. Drew, who is 9, quickly wanted to tell the teacher the exciting news! His tutor had to explain to Drew that first, he needs to find out what color works best for him. Interestingly enough, different... read more

In my experience, many children who come to tutoring struggling with mathematics show signs that these troubles have been occurring for a long time, in some cases years. In most of these cases the students only receive a few lessons until parents are satisfied when their child brings home one good test or homework assignment. Then the parents start the cycle over again when the child brings home a bad grade.   Students who have been struggling for a long time will continue to have difficulties until the trouble area has been addressed. Math is a building block subject. If you have difficulties computing the 1st few levels of mathematics, you will continue to struggle in every level afterwards. For an example, a pre-algebra student is working on basic algebra skills. He/she doesn't understand the concept of the algebra. Upon working with the student, I immediately realize he/she has difficulties computing basic math (addition, subtraction, multiplication,... read more

For many students, last year in school was frustrating and there were needs that perhaps were not appropriately met.  Maybe it was accommodations needed that were not in place or it was study or organizational skills that are lacking and are not being supported in school.  Or, if your child is in high school, perhaps they're struggling with writing -- research papers, essays, or preparing for the writing portion of the college admissions exams.   Summer is the time to evaluate what has happened and where things need to improve for the upcoming school year.  Every school year matters and ensuring that your child is realizing success vs. struggles can make all the difference.  A few tips include: Ensuring that your child has a quiet area for school/homework.  TV, video games, and even texting cannot and should not compete with their ability to focus; Online calendars are great, yet many students do better with an actual calendar/day... read more

(This is actually a modified version of an article I posted a while back - Parents wait! Why a study skills tutor is what your child REALLY needs. But I think tutors should consider this idea of study skills even more than parents should.) After a dozen years as a classroom teacher and private tutor, I know the routine well. Like clockwork, October and March bring new report cards and parents start to get nervous. “An F in chemistry? I’m afraid I can’t help you there; let’s find you a good chemistry tutor.” This is the kind of dialog I imagine taking place in many households around this time. And chemistry is just an example – insert subject here and the reaction is the same. But that low letter grade on a report card can indicate many things – maybe the teacher is bonkers; maybe one major assignment was weighted too heavily; maybe the student can’t see the board and is afraid to say anything; maybe that particular class is a source of social anxiety; etc...... read more

After a dozen years as a classroom teacher and private tutor, I know the routine well. Like clockwork, October and March bring new report cards and parents start to get nervous. “An F in chemistry? I’m afraid I can’t help you there; let’s find you a good chemistry tutor.” This is the kind of dialog I imagine taking place in many households around this time. And chemistry is just an example – “insert subject here” and the reaction is the same. But that low letter grade on a report card can indicate many things – maybe the teacher is bonkers; maybe one major assignment was weighted too heavily; maybe the student can’t see the board and is afraid to say anything; maybe that particular class is a source of social anxiety; etc. And let’s be honest – in most high school classrooms, students are essentially graded on their ability to keep track of, complete, and submit paperwork (i.e. homework), instead of their mastery of the material. (Not a good state of affairs, but it’s a topic... read more

As the smell of new boxes of crayons and freshly sharpened pencils fills the isle at the market, parents might be thinking “Help! My child is behind in school and I don’t know what to do. How can you start out behind?” This realization brings a feeling of failure before the new school year has even begun. Although the education system in America has many problems, one of which is constantly allowing students to be promoted to the next grade regardless of their failing to meet the standards required to be promoted, there are many things that parents can do at home to help their child succeed and grow as much as possible. 1) Read, read, read everything in sight! Children of all ages need to hear fluent adults reading to them on a regular basis. This helps them to develop expressiveness in reading, fluency and accuracy, increase vocabulary, and better understand figurative language. It also greatly influences a child when they see that their parents or guardians love to read... read more

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