Your child’s number one trick for getting through school – Survey results

One of my closest friends at teachers college was Liz P. We are still close friends to this day. A few years back she revealed to me for the first time that she had found learning at school really difficult. I was shocked. She went on to tell me how she had developed specific learning strategies to get through not only high school, but also her tertiary education. This included using a tutor for a couple of hours each week during Years 10 to 12. Her grandfather was also pivotal as he helped her to understand her English novels and her homework tasks, so she could organize her thoughts and complete her school essays. It seems she kept her learning struggles a secret over the years from all of us. As such a proactive person, she has gone on to be very successful throughout her schooling and also during her working life.

During a recent Facebook live, I asked you what strategies your child uses to help them to get through their school day.

Thank you to everyone who answered our survey. Your answers were divided into 7 categories.

Interestingly, the largest response category consisted of avoidance techniques. The number one trick was to avoid work by taking bathroom breaks, leaving class to run errands, complaining about not feeling well or simply just avoiding doing schoolwork altogether.

“A child who is using the bathroom excessively at school may be avoiding work they
are struggling to cope with.”

The next largest category was the children who had developed strategies to help them to simplify the schoolwork or used tools to help them understand their coursework. Just like my friend Liz P, these children have developed personalised strategies to help them complete their work.

Getting help from friends, parents, school support teachers or counsellors was the next biggest group. This is also a strategy, however, it also represents a personal support network which can be critical for a struggling learner.

The next two categories had an equal number of responses. One was allowing extra time to complete school work and the other was using a tool like music or noise cancelling headphones to maintain concentration.

“Some children may use music as a tool to enable them to concentrate on school tasks for longer, while others simply allowed more time to
complete class tasks.”

The last two categories were behavioural and included pretending to understand what was being taught (or faking it) and either being the class clown or bottling frustrations up.

Every response we received was slightly different, just like our children, however, it is clear that while some children have developed coping strategies just to get through the school day, others have developed strategies to ensure their success at school.

“For children with school learning difficulties, coping strategies include things like; avoiding doing schoolwork altogether, using bathroom breaks and faking understanding to take the pressure off. Achievement strategies were things like; getting help from friends, parents or teachers, using music to aid focus and concentration, allowing extra time to focus and complete tasks, putting set routines in place, simplifying note taking, getting things explained in layman’s terms
or the use of a computer.”


  1. Avatar Lesley KNOX   •  

    My grandson Ollie is a great negotiator. He is 7 yrs 6mnths and can’t read or count. In reception his teacher said that whenever it was his turn to read aloud,
    he would say “I think I’ll give it a pass this time if you don’t mind”
    His report said he was very respectful and considerate to others but he was way behind in reading and maths. Same again in year 1.
    He is very sociable and has conversations with people of all ages. Very interested in what they are doing and how things are done.
    Loves the discovery channel and gets excited about what he has learned.
    He plays the piano sensitively without ever having a lesson from his mum who is a piano teacher. He is a delight to introduce to adults and friendly with other children.
    Sadly he says “I am just a stupid boy” He does not like school.

  2. Avatar Liz Dunoon   •  

    Wow Lesley your grandson has so much going for him. He sounds like a gorgeous young man. Please consider trying my program The Ten Minute Tutor with him to get him learning. You can learn more here. If it works for him contact us at and we can talk to you about pricing. You have got 30 Days to give him a try. I think it may help. He sounds very mature and worldly and needs some support to get his learning moving. In the meantime there are lots of articles on the Dyslexia Daily site to give you some info as well. Thanks for telling us about him. He sounds like like he is a boy of many talents. Kind regards Liz D

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