Children cannot succeed in school if they don’t attend regularly. In this twenty-first century every person needs at least a high school diploma in order to find a job, start a family, and lead a fulfilling life.
In North American schools, where public education is available to everyone, why would any child not attend school? Following are some of the possible reasons:
1. Academic Problems
If a child is placed in a grade where the curriculum is too difficult, he may become so frustrated and unhappy that he will seek to avoid classes at any cost. He may feign illness, play hooky, or just walk the streets until he can return home without be questioned.
Similarly, if he is very intelligent and bored by the program in which he has been placed, he will see no need to attend school. He may seek challenge and adventure elsewhere and possibly get into trouble by doing so.
The solution to either of these problems is to have the child tested, either by the local school system or by an independent agency, and insist that he be placed in a program which meets his needs.
2. Social Problems
If a child is harassed on a daily basis, humiliated before his peers, or fearful for his physical safety, who can blame him for skipping school? It is vital that parents keep the lines of communication open, so that their child will confide in them when he is having trouble relating to his classmates.
At the first sign of trouble, whether it be lack of friends, isolation or bullying, Mom and Dad need to become advocates for the child, seeking help from the teacher, the principal, even the director of education, if necessary. An education is too important to be hindered by social problems.
3. Health Issues
Health problems, whether physical or mental, can disrupt a child’s educational progress. When the trouble is a contagious disease or a broken bone, most school systems provide an in-home tutor who will insure that the child does not fall behind his classmates.
However, when a child suffers from a learning disability, depression, autism, or another mental or emotional disorder, early and ongoing intervention and treatment by health and educational professionals is essential. There are many treatments and strategies today which can enable a student to attain his or her maximum potential despite having to cope with mental or emotional disabilities.
4. Home Conditions
When a child has to deal with turbulent conditions at home, school concerns will become unimportant. If the parents are constantly fighting, going through a separation or divorce, or if one or both are alcohol or drug addicts, the child has more to worry about than educational matters.
Similarly, if the parents view education as unimportant, if they pay no attention to report cards, fail to attend parent-teacher conferences, and do not question the child’s unexplained absences from class, the child won’t care either. Parents are a child’s first and most important role models.
5. Bad Companions
As a child approaches adolescence, his peer group assumes primary importance in his life. He needs to fit in, to be “cool”, to be accepted and respected by the others. If he lacks self-confidence, or strong self-esteem, if he’s a follower, rather than a leader, he may fall in with a group of which his parents do not approve. Bad associates can wreck havoc with a teen’s education and his parent’s dreams for his future.
Wise parents will start early to monitor their child’s playmates, and school friends, and encourage healthy relationships while they still have the influence to do so. If the child gets involved in team sports, Boy Scouts or Girl Guides, or a church’s youth activity programs, chances are that these beneficial friendships will continue through the teenage years.
Few children are gifted enough to become super sports figures or entertainment stars, but even these individuals will need an education to negotiate contracts, to oversee banking and investments and avoid getting scammed by unscrupulous agents and managers. Education is a vital component for a successful and fulfilling life in whatever career a child chooses. It is the duty of every responsible parent to see that their child receives one.