We are now into the third week of Term Three; our boys should be back into their study routine, heads down and fully engaged with learning.  Parents and teachers share the hope that your son will succeed, that he will love to learn.

For some children, those hopes and dreams are easily realized. School is a joy, and learning is a delightful challenge but for many others, the path is not so easy. Somewhere along the way, they experience frustration, learning goes from being a challenge to being a struggle. It’s hard for everyone in the family when this happens to a child. The child is struggling with what is expected of him. Parents feel frustration and bewilderment because they want to help their child. Often, it’s hard to know what to do.

Is your son bringing home grades that do not reflect his level of intelligence?

Is your son having difficulty finding motivation to complete homework and school projects? Those may be signs that your child is finding his schoolwork a challenge.

A student may struggle for a number of reasons, such as a lack of motivation or effort or responsibility. Often boys lack the organizational and time management skills to complete assignments on time. He may struggle because he doesn’t know how to study effectively.

For students to experience success at school there needs to be a united effort between the school, the parents and the student.

Parents are a child’s first teachers and a major factor in your son's success, in formal schooling, is your involvement. When you ask about his school life, you are communicating to him that school is important and that you value what he does there each day. When you become involved in helping your son, you are modeling teamwork, time management skills, organization, and the importance of academics, perseverance and optimism. You are in fact, teaching your child quality traits that will last his lifetime.

Some key areas that parents can support and provide structure for their sons are:

  1. Help your son to become organized. Your son should organize his backpack, school folders, desk/locker daily. Check-in when necessary until a habit has been established.
  2. Check that your son is writing down his homework and uses calendars to schedule project due dates. Develop a weekly study plan that makes time for all the important aspects of his life, but ensures that homework, assignments and revision are a priority.
  3. Ensure your son has a quiet study spot and that he sits down to complete homework. A quiet spot and the ability to focus are key to effective learning.
  4. Before your son begins a difficult task, setting a goal and a reward can help. Some boys require external motivation, especially to conquer a challenging area that they would rather ignore. Explain that the size of the goal is tied to the size of the reward. As long as you're both in agreement, it can be as simple or complex as you want; like a favorite meal or activity.
  5. Be encouraging and patient. Stress the importance of hard work. When your son accomplishes something, give due praise and be proud of his achievement. Teach your child the secret of talking positively to himself. Athletes know that talking to themselves can help them perform better.

This same technique can be used in the classroom and when studying.


If you are concerned that your son is not preforming as you would like, get to the bottom of the problem by having a candid talk with your son and his teacher(s). 

Don’t watch TV while attempting to do homework.

Don’t give up until you’ve really tried with your whole heart.

Do call another student in the class for help.

The best way to study for tests is to go back and rework at least one of each type of problem in the sections being tested.

Sometimes you have to memorize a few things – get over it.

It’s better to drop a difficult course when you’ve tried your best and failed three times than to stick with a course that will kill all the joy in your life.

Don’t fool yourself.  Tell yourself the truth.

● ● There are good choices and bad choices.  You will make some of each.

Take responsibility for your choices.  Blaming others is a waste of energy.

Don’t beat yourself up….

Do be reliable.  Let yes-mean yes.

Do review your mistakes and make a note of them so that you’ll be less likely to repeat them.

You are NOT stupid.

Do make realistic goals.  Then try to reach them.

Your best will never be good enough for many people, but your worst isn’t good enough for you.

Do try to write legibly.  It prevents a multitude of misunderstandings between you, your pencil and the teacher.

Be proud of your integrity, not your grades.

Do help others to learn.  It’s the best way to learn yourself.

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