What do you do when your child’s report says they’re not meeting expectations?

Do you dive onto Amazon and buy whatever is the latest snazzy looking book?

Do you find them a tutor?


Do you think about what those expectations are and why they might not be meeting them?

Our expectations are somewhat arbitrary and I’ve talked about them in my previous blog. You can find it here:  


In this blog what I’d really like to ponder upon are a couple of the reasons why your child might not be learning what you think they’d find easy or ok. There are, of course, many reasons but I’ll just talk about a couple for now.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of a few sessions with a Year 8 boy that I had taught previously, up to Year 6. He was revising for a maths  exa and wanted a few explanations on topics he had missed. He had been told he could look them up in a book or on various websites. Luckily most of it was geometry which in my head lends itself to very practical learning. It was surprising and disappointing to me that it transpired that he was not doing any maths in a practical way. Now I know that maths does become very academic at a higher level but I would argue not in Year 8. After we had constructed some shapes, cut them out, used mirrors, turned and flipped them around and cut them up he had a much better concept of internal angles, the sum of angles, rotational and reflectional symmetry etc. He actually asked me why he didn’t learn maths like that all the time.

So there’s one reason why your child might not be learning well; it’s too written and not practical enough.

Looking back at the maths lesson, the other obvious reason is that it was fun for the entire time we were doing it. The minute we get anxious we start to produce cortisol. It’s a fear reaction and that means we need to go into fight, flight or freeze. We don’t need to be thinking about alternate and corresponding angles. In a practical sense our body’s job is to keep us safe and we don’t need the higher level processing part of our brain. It becomes really difficult for our brain to work at that level.

Even if you can’t do anything about that whilst your child is at school, you can help them out by making it more practical and fun for them to do their homework.

Or if you find the work they are doing difficult yourself, find someone your child can work with that makes it practical and fun. The children that come to me all have a great time and learn loads even when they don’t realise. My job is to help them to become fantastic learners not to fill them up with content. Once they know how to learn and enjoy it they can learn anything.

If you’d like to have a chat about the kind of tutoring I offer please do send me a message or give me a call.

PS. Be wary of the word expectations. These change frequently and so it really doesn’t mean your child is behind if they’re not meeting the current set of expectations xxx