Learning at home isn’t easy in the best of circumstances, but when you have a child who has had problems learning already, it’s even harder. We talked with Hadassah Meyers, Founder and Director or Educational Services at A+ Solutions for advice on how parents can best support their struggling learners.
Q: In what ways are students with learning problems struggling more with online learning?
Meyers: It is not only that the academic material is coming to them in a different way, but they’re also on their own. Every school is doing it in a different way but however they’re doing it requires students to be more independent as they have to navigate curriculum on their own.
Q: If my kid just can’t do it, what can I do as a parent to help?
Meyers: First, ask yourself these questions: “Is this something that is unusual? Is my child normally coming home from school frustrated and unable to do homework or is this because of the situation we’re in?” You may not have the answer. In that case, email the teacher. Tell them what’s happening and ask if your child struggles with this in school. If the answer is yes, it’s time to discuss looking further at how the child learns – their learning profile and what challenges they’re encountering. If the answer is no, find out what the class expectation is. Get some insight.
Q: With so little of the school year left, is it worth it to push our kids?
Meyers: Definitely. Here’s why. Even though school is almost over, we’re going to have some sort of school next year. The expectation is going to be that the child has mastered some of these things they’ve learned in this time and you don’t want them to start the year behind.
Q: If my child had an aide in the classroom, should that person be reaching out?
Meyers: If your child had student service in school, they should in theory continue to receive them. However, they’re not necessarily continuing in the same way. If you’re not getting support and it’s not something your school can do, there are other people out there who can help.
Q: Parents are so frustrated. This is not what they signed up for. How can they get help?
Meyers: Don’t wait until you’ve hit the wall. I know it’s important about teaching our teens to advocate for themselves, but this is so big that you may have to step in. If a parent is having trouble, it’s normal. You’re working from home and managing everyone’s schedule. Having to be your child’s special education teacher on top of everything else is a lot. You don’t want to get into a situation where you’re butting heads with your teen.
Reach out for help. Look for learning specialist or a company who hires learning specialists to help with the process. My company A+ Solutions hires intervention specialists, reading specialists, academic coaches, and tutors. We have school psychologists. We can help with the evaluation process; we do testing. We can look at your child’s educational profile and see what their learning potential is versus what they’ve learned and see if there is a discrepancy. We can take a look and see if there is a behavioral or emotional challenge that is getting in the way. We can also look at expectations that the school or teacher has set for your child to see if they’re appropriate. If they have an IEP or a learning plan, we figure out how we can step in and make sure those goals are being followed and help fill in the gaps.