If your child fails the exams, the most important thing is how you respond. It can make or break your child.
The thing no parent wants to say: “My child has failed their school exams.”
It’s exam term again, but this term comes with the dreaded “What will I do if my child needs to repeat?” or “What must I do if my child hasn’t fared well in certain subjects?” Firstly, it’s natural to feel scared of the unknown or, worse still, feeling as if you have failed as a parent. Secondly most of the fear is “not knowing what to do” and “what will other people say or think?”
Forget about other people. This is your child. Find out what you can do for your child and DO NOT blame yourself for not acting sooner. You cannot fix what has already happened, but you can make a difference going forward. Get advice by meeting with the teacher concerned and really listening.
Children often act and respond very differently in the classroom to what you are privy to at home. Remember there are 30+ children in most classes. If your child is easily distracted at home can you imagine how they must feel having to wait their turn, being not the only one to vie for attention or having to sit still in a desk for long periods of time? The teacher is not there to find fault with your child (or how you are raising your child for that matter) or “pick on” your child. Believe you me, they don’t have the time.
Meeting with parents is difficult for any teacher especially when having to explain the “negative aspects” of the child’s school performance. We spend many hours with your child and also want what’s best for them. We don’t have all of the answers, but we usually have recommendations to make. All we ask is that if a parent asks what they can do, is that they follow through with the recommendations. The professionals they refer you to will have the answers, but you have to ask yourself: “Am I prepared to listen?”, “Why am I doing this?” You also need to be honest with the teacher, because recommendations may mean digging into your pockets. If money is tight then other avenues may need to be explored, but this can only happen with open communication.
Reading my previous blog article about learning disabilities may also give you insight into your own child’s needs and what path to follow. Whatever path you follow will definitely mean sacrifices and dedication from all parties concerned. Is it worth it? Absolutely! Who doesn’t want to see their child enjoying school? School does not have to be a burden.
Often it is recommended that your child be assessed by an educational psychologist. The reason for this is that they assess the whole child. For example: sometimes a child sails through Foundation and Intermediate Phase with no problems doing Mathematics, but suddenly their marks start dropping in Grade 7. First reaction: “My child can’t do Maths!” However, Maths may not be the problem, but rather their ability to read and comprehend the question being asked. It is examples such as these that an Educational Psychologist will be able to identify.
They can also identify concentration problems, perceptual problems, emotional and social problems, etc. and make recommendations from these findings. It is then up to you, the parent, to take it further. Why then do parents stop at this point? When having your child assessed you need to be prepared to hear what should be done and then act accordingly. Why else did you have your child assessed? An assessment doesn’t rectify the problem. What comes after the assessment is what counts.
Something I’ve heard often: “I don’t see why my child needs to go to remedial lessons, I’ll just take them to extra lessons or get someone to do homework with them.”
There is a misconception that remedial lessons are just extra lessons. This is very far from the truth.
So, what then is remedial teaching? Well, it definitely is not extra lessons. It is a therapy that focuses on skills rather than on content.
These skills include visual discrimination, perceptual organisation, focusing and eye tracking, laterality, abstract reasoning, auditory processing, to name a few.
What procedure is taken to diagnose your child?
- Tests and observations will take place.
- A meeting with the parents and teacher.
- When a clear diagnosis is made a therapy plan is drawn up to suit your child.
- Remedial teaching usually takes place twice a week.
Remember it’s never too late to help your child. You just need to be open to suggestion and accept your child’s learning difficulties and needs. And, most importantly, act on the recommendations.
Also look for additional resources that can benefit your child. WorksheetCloud is a great resource that will give your child access to printable CAPS worksheets that cover core subjects. If your child has failed, or you fear your child may have failed, you should consider enrolling him or her to WorksheetCloud today.