Because we are not an “every child needs to attend an Ivy League school” learning center, we try to avoid alarmist rhetoric. Still, we have seen too many students develop long-term issues because parents ignored early warning signs or lowered their expectations. Here are a few of things that can happen when students fall behind and do not get the help they need.
Obviously, students struggling with a subject have problems in their classrooms. However, beyond the academic issues that come with struggling are often personal and emotional ones. Students who struggle may be the target of increased bullying. More importantly, students lose self-esteem when they struggle in school. Some of them shut down and fall further behind.
Future Educational Issues
Short-term academic problems become long-term issues when you don’t address them. We have tried to help way too many high school students with problems that can be traced back to poor performance in elementary or middle school. If your children are struggling in their K-8 years, they must get help with their fundamental skills in math or reading. Just like great athletes, students need strong fundamentals to excel in school.
Students also get accustomed to a certain level of achievement: “once an A student, always an A student.” Why not get your child to the top as early as possible so it becomes the norm. We have seen this pattern repeat itself thousands of times over the years, partly because the top students raise their own expectations and become more self-sufficient and responsible.
Students with strong fundamentals go to quality universities and perform well. Often, they are destined for success because they learned to adjust to their learning challenges at a young age.
College & Career Options
Before you think we have lost our minds, we want to clarify that we don’t think 1st grade parents should worry about their children’s college prospects! We have had a few 6th grade parents inquire about SAT Prep and that was bad enough. What we DO want you to realize is that you CAN set the right tone from an early age so high performance and high achievement becomes the norm (mentioned above). Here is a loosely related anecdote to bring this point home:
When I grew up, it was always assumed that my siblings and I would go to college. That was true for most of the children in my neighborhood and 95% of us went to college. What would happen if this were the norm in every small town in America? Instead, in many parts of the country, families do not think beyond high school. Many children do not attend college, and some do not finish high school.
Although these problems do not have to be a college or career death knell, they will almost always put a lower ceiling on a student’s chances for success.