Archives for September 2010

Dr. Linda Answers Your Questions | Reading but Doesn’t Get It

Dr. Linda's School Success Q & ADear Dr. Linda,

My son is in fourth grade and he loves to read, but he has no idea what he’s reading! He reads stories to his younger brother who is four. My four-year-old can tell me about the story, but his fourth grade brother can’t. I’m concerned there’s something wrong with him. -Janet

Dear Janet,

What’s happening is that he’s learned to read as if he’s reading a word list. He’s not visualizing an image in his head nor is thinking about the story. Also, he may not be focusing. All he’s doing is reading words. [Read more…]

When Math Struggles Cause Tears

Math troubles reasonsMath may be difficult even the brightest kids.

Some kids who are great in social studies and science may have trouble just learning multiplication facts. Some have trouble with anything to do with math. For these kids math homework leads to frustration and tears.

I’ll never forget this adorable little 6th grader I worked with. She was smart, vivacious, talkative and loved school.

Then she had to do fractions. Her whole personality changed as she went into panic mode. As the saying goes, “she looked like a deer caught in headlights.” She’s not alone. Many children panic when they hear the word math.

The first thing you have to do is to learn why math is so difficult. [Read more…]

Dr. Linda Answers Your Questions | Test Scores Aren’t Good?

Dr. Linda's School Success Q & A

Dear Dr. Linda,

My daughter is in 9th grade. I’ve always had to sit with her to study for tests. I read everything she reads and then teach it to her again and again. We’ve sat for hours studying for one test and she still gets a C. She may even fail. I’m so frustrated and so is she!

She’s actually told me that she’s just stupid and doesn’t want to study with me because she’s still going to fail. I’ve gone to her teachers and they say she is bright enough to do better.

What am I doing wrong? -Bewildered Mom [Read more…]

When Kids’ Outside Activities Get in the Way of Homework


Most kids say they don’t like doing Homework.  But why?

For many kids, they’d rather be outdoors playing or watching TV or texting their friends. These are certainly understandable reasons.  Usually, when parents and teachers help them understand how important homework is to school success, they’ll buckle down and do it.

It helps if homework is always done at the same time each afternoon or evening, and there’s a regular, quiet place to do the work. In addition, kids need to have good study skills.

But what happens when homework is a struggle? [Read more…]

Dr. Linda Answers Your Questions | Paper Overload

Dr. Linda's School Success Q & ADear Dr. Linda,

Every year when school begins I feel like I’m always ready. I pride myself on the fact that I’m a very organized mom, but by the second week of school, there are papers all over my house. Do you have any suggestions?

An Organized Mom [Read more…]

Public School, Private School: Which is Best?

Choosing your child’s school can be a big decision.

Many parents feel that public school is the only way to educate their child, and some parents believe that a private school education is the only means to a good education.

So who’s right? [Read more…]

Dr. Linda Answers Your Questions | Homework and Multitasking

Dr. Linda's School Success Q & ADear Dr. Linda,

My daughter does her homework while she’s text messaging her friends, listening to music and chatting with her friends on Facebook. She argues that she can do her homework while doing all this. Is she right or should I make her do her homework at the kitchen table so I can watch her? Very Frustrated Mom.

Dear Frustrated Mom,

Teenagers value their social life and don’t always understand or agree with advice from Moms. Your daughter will argue that she is doing her homework, and she probably is. She doesn’t realize that she’s doing her homework like a robot but not learning anything from it.

But having her sit at the kitchen table will be torture for her and for you. You don’t need to watch her do her homework.

When you’re both calm and she’s listening, talk about the research that has been done on the teenage brain and multitasking. It doesn’t work. The teenagers who didn’t multitask while they doing homework or preparing for tests finished their work quicker and learned more. In fact there’s a lot of research that proves multitasking doesn’t work for anybody, not just teens.

However, listening to music if it isn’t too loud may help. Research shows that listening to music while studying helps some kids, especially kids with ADHD.

She’ll just have to experiment to see if music helps her concentrate.

Suggest to your daughter that she set up time to do her homework and set up another time to talk to her friends. This way she’ll have the best of both worlds. She’ll do better in school, and she’ll still have time to talk to her friends. Let her know that you think it’s important for her to have time to talk to her friends.

Best wishes for homework time for you and your daughter,
Dr. Linda

Be sure to leave your school success question for me in the comment section below. I publish readers questions and answers every Friday.