4 Signs Your Child is Behind in School


A child who has fallen behind with schoolwork needs help now, before the situation becomes unmanageable and a whole grade must be repeated. Your vigilance in spotting these four signs that your child is behind in school can make all the difference in resolving academic struggles.

Reading Between the Lines

As a parent, one of your toughest jobs can be reading between the lines. For various reasons, including fear of disappointing their parents, children are not always forthcoming when they need help.

However, children usually exhibit signs indicating that things aren't going as well as they should be at school. It's important to pick up on these signals and help your child make a course correction before his or her grades are finalized in an unsatisfactory school report card.

#1: Your Child is Reluctant to Talk About School

Not all children are enthusiastic about attending school, but most of them will talk about the experience. Evasiveness or passive-aggression during conversations about schoolwork could signal that your child is not only falling behind but also unwilling to admit it.

#2: Your Child's Homework Routine Changes

Unless your child's school is experimenting with a homework ban, changes in the amount of time your child spends on homework might indicate a learning lag. For example, perhaps your son or daughter used to take 45 minutes to complete nightly homework, but now works on assignments for two hours every night.

Changes in homework routine can indicate that your child is behind in school.

On the other end of the spectrum, maybe you can't recall the last time you saw your child spend more than ten minutes on homework. In this case, an overwhelmingly large backlog of incomplete assignments may have prompted your child to simply quit trying.

#3: Your Child Makes Excuses to Miss School

If your child keeps looking for excuses to be absent, especially on days when long-term assignments are due or tests are scheduled, it could be a sign that he or she is falling behind. For instance, if your child pretends to be sick in order to avoid a scheduled exam, it might be a ploy to buy time to catch up with neglected studies. A similar motive could account for a suspicious absence on a project due date.

Other reasons your child resists going to school could include bullying. That's why it's important to rule out other causes for his or her reluctance.

Moody behavior and evasiveness may be a sign that your child is behind in school.

#4: Your Child is Inexplicably Moody

Since they're still learning how to manage stress and strong emotions, some children will act out when faced with a difficult or an overwhelming situation like falling behind in their schoolwork. If your child becomes increasingly moody, sullen, or surly, it might indicate a problem at school.

Granted, there are several different reasons why your child may exhibit this type of behavior. You will need to consider various possibilities, such as a learning disability, a social situation, or even recent changes in family dynamics.

Getting Back on Track

Talk to Your Child's Teachers

Parents and teachers must work together to ensure that children stay on the learning track. This is especially important when children aren't forthright about problems in the classroom.

If you believe your child is behind in school, talk to your child

If you suspect that your child is falling behind in class, don't wait for the report card to bring irrefutable (and irreversible) proof. Schedule a parent-teacher conference to discuss your concerns. Your child's teachers can provide you with insights on classroom performance, so you can better understand how to help your child.

Talk to Your Child

Once you have some feedback from your child's teachers, approach your child directly. Emphasize that you're not angry about the situation, but that it's an important one to resolve. Stress that you want to help your child find ways to get back on the program and be confident in the classroom.

Consider a Tutor

Especially if your child has a known learning issue, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a remedial tutor may help. Remedial tutoring involves identifying and specifically focusing on problem areas.

A tutor may help your child when he or she falls behind in school.

Look at Other Ways to Learn

Sometimes it helps to present difficult material in a different way. Your child's teacher may be familiar with his or her learning style. If your middle schooler or high schooler is a visual learner, for instance, try video lessons, which might make a challenging concept easier to grasp. By comparison, verbal and logical learners could benefit from a service like Instant Answers, which quickly provides expert answers to academic questions.

Moving Forward

Your vigilance and intervention can get your struggling child back on the learning track. For additional ways to help your child succeed in school, count on Study.com to bring learning to life with clear, dynamic video lessons and interactive exercises.

By Michelle Baumgartner
December 2018
k-12 parent tips

Never miss an update