Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Child Needs School Help

Middle School Expert Advice from Connie Collins

Q: My son is going into sixth grade this year. He doesn't do well in school and never understands his homework. I know that if he doesn't understand the class work, he's not going to understand his homework. His fifth-grade teacher tried to help, but he still didn't understand. What do you think the problem could be? Also, last year the other boys in his class were constantly bothering him. I know it's all going to be worse when he starts middle school. What should I do?

A: I encourage you to go to your son's new middle school now before classes begin! Make an appointment with the school counselor. Tell her what you have told me, have some questions ready, and expect answers.

First, find out if the school has tested your son for achievement and learning abilities. Do they know if he has a learning disability and does he need help in learning good study skills? If he needs to be tested, insist on it. Based on his abilities, work with the counselor in planning the best teachers and classes for his level. Follow up by attending open house, then meet with his teacher(s) on a regular basis to get him on track.

Also, discuss with the counselor whether the school has any programs or groups that help children make friends and or settle disputes -- programs like ambassador, big brother/sister, mentoring, peer mediation, etc.

Read and learn about how to help your son with his study skills. The counselor may have information in the office that you can use or there may be parenting-skills groups that could help. If neither of these resources are available, check the library or the Internet (this website is a good source) for ways to help your son improve his study habits.

More on: Expert Advice

Connie Collins, professional school counselor, worked for 35 years in public education as a teacher and counselor at the middle school and secondary levels. Collins worked daily with the parents of the students in her various schools, and has facilitated several parenting groups.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


10 Best Creative Apps for Kids
Looking for apps that foster creativity? Check out these top-rated art and music apps for kids.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

A New Intergalactic Reading Adventure!
Get your reluctant reader hooked on an irresistible new story, Galactic Hot Dogs! Join the Book 1 reading marathon, and get behind-the-scenes tidbits on the official Galactic Hot Dogs blog. Also, print this cool Galactic Hot Dogs reading log to keep your bookworm excited about reading!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks