Finding out that your middle schooler is failing in school can be frustrating for parents. 

So what do you do when your child is failing in school? 

First, create a good and safe study space at home. Second, help your kid with their homework and organization for a period of time. Finally, spend quality time with your child and outside of school activities. You can also consider hiring a tutor or enrolling them in academic enrichment programs. 

There are a number of reasons why your child may be falling behind in school. If you think your child may be struggling academically, keep reading to discover how you can help your child with their academics.

Reasons Why Your Child Is Failing In School

Many parents make the mistake of thinking that their child simply doesn’t want to do the work because of laziness or stubbornness but that is rarely the case. There is always a reason why your child’s grades start to plummet. 

The first step is to have a conversation with your child. In most cases, the reasons for your middle schooler failing in school are one or more of the following: 

  • They are struggling with organization. Not all children can keep track of all their assignments. 
  • They don’t know the right way to study. It takes time to figure out the best way to retain information. 
  • They have memory issues. Sometimes children just can’t remember the big chunks of information that schools require them to. 
  • They have a problem in class that prevents them from paying attention. Your child might have had a conflict with one of their classmates or they are being bullied and that’s why they can’t focus on the material. 
  • Alternatively, your child might be a bully. It’s always difficult to accept, but your child might be the one acting out in school. There is an underlying reason for this as well
  • They missed some classes and now can’t keep up. With subjects such as algebra, for example, each lesson builds upon the previous one. So if your child missed a couple, they might not understand the new material. 

They have a learning disability. This does not mean your child can’t do well at school. It just means they will need more help ​​to learn their own coping skills and to receive the right accommodations. But the sooner you discover it, the sooner you’ll be able to help your child.

School Subjects that Require a Little More Attention

Mathematics is often the subject that most kids struggle to learn. Studies show that 37% of teens, ages from 13-17, found math to be their hardest subject. Why is math so hard to comprehend? How can parents help their children with their mathematics?

We put together a brief table listing out the reasons why kids struggle with math and ways parents can help.

Reasons Why Kids Struggle with Math

The Reasons Why Is This Hard? How to Help
Attention difficulties Math problems involve a lot of steps to find the solutions. If kids have a hard time focusing, they may not have comprehended each step of the process and therefore get stuck Participate in daily tasks that require a lot of attention to detail. Put together resources for them to practice at home to get better at multiple step problems
Math builds Math is built on sequential learning. If they don’t understand the previous lesson, they will not be able to comprehend the current lesson Go back to the basics. Help them build a better foundation for each step. Find resources that focus on one step of the problem and don’t move forward until they have mastered that step
Concepts are learned but not understood There is a lot of repetition in math so often times kids will know how to do a problem based off muscle memory but they don’t fully understand how they got there Visual representations with random household objects or real life situations can really help a child comprehend certain problems like multiplication and division. You can also have your child teach you the math problem to make sure they fully understand it
Lack of practice or patience Math is frustrating and when a child doesn’t catch on right away they tend to give up Make math fun for your child! Get creative when practicing math problems at home. Encourage them when they get frustrated and be open to different learning styles to help your child succeed in math
It doesn’t appear relative “When will I ever use this in real life?” Kids have a hard time learning something that they can’t connect to reality  Show them the areas where math is used. Building things, baking cookies, applying a discount when shopping, etc. This will provide your child with some appreciation for the subject

Encourage your child to keep trying, reach out to their teachers for advice on how to help, and if necessary, you can seek outside help from tutors.

Top 5 Ways To Help Keep Your Middle Schooler On Track For Academic Success

1. Get Involved With Your Child’s School

Being involved with your child’s school does not only mean volunteering at parties and school fairs. It also means talking to them every day after school, asking them what they learned, if they have homework, etc. 

To dig deeper, ask them about their friends, who they talk to at school, and what they do during recess. It’s important to keep in mind that the social aspect of school can influence academic performance.

2. Teach Your Child How to Study

Once children start middle school, most teachers expect them to know how to study. But that’s not always the case. You might have to take matters into your own hands and teach your child how to study efficiently. 

Make sure they know when exams are scheduled. You can give them a notebook where they’ll be able to keep track of all upcoming assignments and exams. 

Help them plan enough study time. When there’s a lot to go through, make sure they start early enough so they avoid cramming the night before. 

Show them some study techniques so they can work out which one works best for them. 

Possible Study Techniques:

  • Flashcards
  • Re-writing notes
  • Creating practice tests
  • Reading aloud
  • Elaborate on topics and make connections with different ideas to lean how they work together
  • Put all materials away and start writing or sketching everything you know, being as thorough as possible, and then compare it with your study materials 
  • Switch it up and don’t study one subject for too long
  • Look at the visuals provided in study materials and put into your own words what they mean. 
  • Draw your own visuals to describe what you have learned 

3. Ensure Your Child is Ready to Learn

To be able to concentrate and learn properly, children need to have their other needs met first. Make sure your child gets enough sleep and eats a nutritious breakfast to get fuel for the day. Foods that are rich in whole grains, fiber, and protein, can help boost a child’s memory, focus, and attention span. 

4. Create a Study Space

A good way to help your child do their work is to ensure they have their own study space. That means they need a quiet, well-lit place to study, away from all the distractions.

Make sure their phone is off during this time as well. And if they need to use the computer, consider installing an add-on that blocks social media and similar sites, such as StayFocusd.

5. Talk to Your Child’s Teachers

Teachers are the ones who actually see your child in the school environment and they are your best source of information about your child’s abilities and potential problems. 

Try to schedule a time to meet with them occasionally and find out how your child is doing in class. You can compare what you notice at home and what they noticed in class and then work from there. 

Some of the questions we recommend you ask a teacher are: 

  • Is my child participating in class?
  • Do they have friends? How do they get along with their classmates?
  • How are they handling the workload and in-class tasks?
  • Was there a change in the attitude or performance?


Why Getting Good Grades Is Important For Your Child’s Future

You should teach your child that grades don’t determine a person’s worth, but it’s important to also let them know how getting good grades can help them in the future. 

Here are several reasons why getting good grades matter. 

1. Good Grades Boost Confidence

Getting good grades can give them the confidence that they will be able to do other things in life as well. 

Numerous studies are supporting this claim a study at King’s College showed that students with low self-esteem were more likely to learn less or even be involved in criminal activities later. 

2. Good Grades Lead to a Good College

Middle school is the time when your child should create consistent study habits and develop a healthy attitude toward school. Grades don’t begin to have an effect on your child until they get into high school. High school grades are what colleges are looking at the most.

Remember: good study habits, love for learning, and your child’s wellbeing matter most. Once that is covered, good grades will be easier to achieve. 

3. Good Grades Can Lead to Scholarships

College can be expensive and some kids don’t go because they can’t afford to, or they take out student loans and are paying those off for years to come. 

Good grades can help your child avoid all of that.

Grades can also help in becoming a member of an honors club or organization within the college. That opens many other doors that could be useful for the child’s future. For instance, they can study abroad, become a campus leader, or learn about on-campus jobs before everyone else.

Outside Resources To Consider

School is more competitive than ever so it might not be a bad idea to enroll your child in a learning program that will allow them to reach their academic potential. Here are some outside resources to consider.

Resource Their Website Their Ratings
Excellerate Learning Studio 5/5
Google CS First 5/5
The Concord Consortium 4/5
NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program 5/5



So, what do you do when your middle schooler is failing in school? Don’t panic!  

We understand it can be terrifying for parents to learn their child is struggling academically. We also know that there is a multitude of reasons why they may be struggling. Parents need to be proactive in their child’s life in order to see the real issues at hand, avoid any potential setbacks, and let their child feel their love and support.

If your child is falling behind in school, we can help. Here at Excellerate, we are passionate about helping kids reach their full academic potential. We are dedicated to maximizing your child’s learning experience, providing them with one-on-one coaching, and technology to support independent learning skills. 

To contact us today, click here.

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