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My child is poor in academics, how do I help him?

Q: My son who will be entering class 4 has always been in the last 10 in ranking. He has always struggled in school with his academics. I have had many discussions with his school teachers but each year it is the same; he is slow, he is below average, he has a very difficult time reading, focusing, staying on task etc. He is never interested in his home work. He is the second of three children. His older brother is 13. His younger sister is 4 and is way beyond the level of a four year old. I am a teacher and my husband a doctor. He is otherwise a very street smart kid and he has a heart of gold, always wanting to help. He is also extremely athletic. The most recent blow to us was his recent star results came in which he scored way below average in language, arts and was in the bottom 2% of his school statistics. I don't know how he should be classified or what to do to help him. Can you give me suggestions as to what might be going on?

A:Children are born with different natural endowments. They do not necessarily take after their parents, but also inherit genes from several earlier generations. Educated and high-achieving parents have difficulty accepting that their offspring may have a lower level of academic talent. But these are facts of life. We usually locate the weak point of a child and persist in trying to improve it, much to the frustration of all. It would be good if you could look at the strengths of your child, as you have done in mentioning his helpful nature and his athletic skills. Focus on these aspects. Help him to become proficient in any game or sport of his choice. Do we know anything about the academic qualifications of the sportsmen we admire? Let him take his time about getting through school. Today we have many alternatives to the monstrous PLUS TWO! There is Open School and children can take one or two courses at a time. All this can be managed if you change your approach that he is a problem. He might turn out to be the greatest asset for the family. But patience, affection and proper guidance on your part will be needed. Consult the School Psychologist if there is one, to decide upon a pace of work. The child is only 9 years old. He needs opportunities for self fulfillment and the company of other children of his age. Have you exposed him to music? Some children have an ability for music and music can also be a support line in his career. Try not comparing the children all the time. It may difficult at the start, but practice will help. Each child is an individual given to you in trust. Accept your children with their traits, their strong and weak points as you would a friend. All the best.

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