Q: My son got very bad grades. I am worried about his success and school is closed, what should I do in the meantime during holiday break?
A: First off let me say that I am sorry that your son didn’t do as well as you would like in his studies. I get this question a lot especially since during the holiday, many schools are closed and you can’t speak with his teachers, counselors and principals. During the holiday time, it is a good opportunity to reflect on why and how your son didn’t live up to his own expectations.
Here are some things you can do in the school break to investigate and set him up for success long term.
1. Have an honest and frank discussion
This should go without saying, but one way to understand the situation surrounding underperformance is to ask. More often than not, your student will know why they are underperforming and are scared that if they tell you they will disappoint you.
Remind your son that in this conversation you have established a safe space for him to discuss why he isn’t performing at school, and remain calm and ask kind probing questions so you can help him succeed in the future.
You are there to help and listen, but do not dominate the conversation.
2. Set up for success
I can’t stress enough how much a well-honed routine can impact studies and improve grades. Did you son express that he has trouble concentrating in class? Try a sleep schedule during the break that will keep him alert.
Also look into diet or schedule an appointment with your physician or a dietitian. Try starting or ending the day with a walk, meditation, board game to see what works to diffuse energy and engage your student.
There are also holistic support that you can employ during this break. Break is the perfect time to try calendaring, using new organizational apps or talking to professionals to better engage your student.
This blog has many resources, tips and organizational tools to help with academic achievement. (Link to an article on our blog)
3. Consult a professional
If you have tried everything, it may be time to consult a professional. The advocates at Beyond Tutoring and Learning Lab LA, are professional academic advocates and tutors that are experts in studying, excellence and performance from a holistic approach.
When you are speaking to potential tutors or mentors, look for professionalism, knowledge, credentials and practicality. Your school district may have help (especially if your student has a disability) free of charge.
An important question I would always ask a professional advocate is about their methods and success rate and situations that they have had like this in the past. For example, the tutors at LLLA and BT have had many experiences where they have taken students from 1.8 and below to 3.0 higher GPAs in less than a year and our methodology can be clearly explained and articles written on this blog demonstrate our commitment to a comprehensive approach.
Be aware of false promises, though. If someone promises results in a shorter time than a few months, I would be wary. What you want is a good fit!