How parents of teens can help their children help themselves with school and academics

Developing academic ownership & better grades

At the A+ Club  our goal is student independence and academic ownership.

When we take on a new student, we take the time to learn what's going on.

Usually a parent has reached out to us because of concern over grades -- and it's generally math grades. The parent may not feel capable of helping out with the math homework or other work, and even after reaching out to the math and other teachers, nothing has changed.

What's happening here is that this is not a "math" problem!

Instead, it's a process or "executive function" problem whereby the child doesn't know how to go about classroom learning, doing the homework or studying.

So rather than jumping into expensive math tutoring, we first want to know more about the student and his or her academic processes. Some questions might include:

- Does the student track assignments effectively?
- Does the student feel overwhelmed and not even know where to start?
- Does the teacher provide feedback on assignments or just go over the answers in class as a group?
- Has the student worked independently with the teacher outside of class?
- Is there a textbook, and if so, does the teacher and/or student use it? Does the student know how to use a textbook?
- Are grades across homework, classwork, quizzes and tests similar or different?
- When the student does well in a class or on an assignment or test, what went right?

The reason for these questions is that we so often see parents turn to math tutoring for a low grade in Algebra when the problem isn't the math but the study skills, goal setting, and academic awareness required to learn the math.

From here we can start to isolate the real causes for a downturn in a grade.

Perhaps it really is the teacher's fault and the student simply needs outside reinforcement of in-class learning. Or, perhaps the student is not using teacher feedback effectively. For example, your teen might not be receiving useful feedback from the teacher, which means that the student can't engage in correction and advancement because nothing is clear. (In this article, we discuss how math learning is a process of student practice with regular and directed feedback: ).

Or, perhaps the student is not engaging in effective goal setting or prioritization and time management. Whatever the underlying cause of the low grades, our expert and experienced academic coaches are real teachers who know what goes on in the classroom and know how to help kids improve generally.

And perhaps you can achieve on your own for your teen the same positive outcomes that we have delivered to hundreds of middle &  high school and college students and their parents.

Either way, w'd love to help out! Try our no-obligations academic consultation:

Or call (888) 59-APLUS (592-7587) or (703) 271-5334 or visit

Good luck to you and your student!

~ Affordable & Effective Academic
Coaching, Tutoring & Mentoring ~
~ (703) 271-5334 ~