Helping Your Child To Enjoy And Succeed In School

Author: Ian McAllister

Helping your child succeed in school: Fleas crashed violently again and again into a glass lid.

What has that to do with the subject? Well, the fleas learned that they couldn’t jump higher than the glass lid, and when it was removed, they “knew” that they couldn’t jump any higher. That is what our education system does to our children – teaches them limits.

The best way is to show him that the limits don’t exist… and where there is a will there is a way.

The first and most important thing you can do is to help your child to feel good about school. It is a virtuous-circle, he feels better so he performs better, which makes him feel better… If you can teach him that the “glass lid” is no longer there, he is on the way to success.

The first step to helping your child succeed in school is to convince yourself that there are no limits. I’ll start off with conventional techniques and move to less conventional, but all of them deal with removing the limits.

Why do I use “his” in the expression “Helping Your Child Succeed in School?” It is too clumsy to say his/hers/its and him/her/it all the time, so I use the masculine form to make it less confusing. There is no other reason for the gender bias.

Important digression

Helping your child in school is just the first step. He must pass exams to succeed in life, but once he has passed them salesmanship is everything. So every time your child persuades someone, praise him. You might even make homemade sweets for him to sell at school. Praise him. Get him to bargain for lower prices when he buys something. This too is salesmanship. The best salesman wins the job interview.

Before you start helping your child succeed in school

You are more likely to succeed in helping your child succeed in school if you make your plans based on understanding. So I’ll try to cover some of the background.


It used to be believed that you were born with a certain IQ, and were stuck with it, so that limited helping your child succeed in school. Now it is known that we use between a twentieth and a tenth of our brains, so it doesn’t matter if your child has a smaller brain. As long as you can help him to use a few percent more of it, helping your child succeed in school will be very successful.

You should think of intelligence as being a range, not an IQ number. Trachtenberg invented his speed system of Mathematics to avoid going mad when he was in solitary confinement as a prisoner of war. All he had was his mind, so he invented a high-speed form of mental arithmetic.

Later on he taught children who were failures because they couldn’t do arithmetic. Suddenly these children found that they could do mental arithmetic better than their school teacher, and they started to do better at all their other subjects as well.

However, what I consider to be strikingly encouraging is that the IQ of all the retarded children went up. That was the first I heard about increasing an IQ but now there are several techniques known to raise IQ. So a low IQ doesn’t mean that you should stop helping your child succeed in school.

Your child might enjoy showing off his lightning arithmetic, getting right answers faster than the calculator, or his teacher. Now he can. This book is offered at an amazingly low price, so I suppose the author must be more interested in sharing the fun than in making money. If it raises your child’s IQ, do you think that the book might be worth it?

Click here to have fun helping your child succeed in school

It has since then been shown that intelligence usually goes up when a child starts to succeed as the result of a new approach. So use the approach in my book for helping your child succeed in school and see if his IQ changes.

Your child may be unable to perform better than his IQ allows, but his IQ is so much bigger than he needs, that it doesn’t matter. Never, never, never just accept the limits that other people impose. If the teacher says that your child is a stupid failure, ask how he knows. Challenge it. Your best way of helping your child succeed in school is to help him “get rid of the glass lid”.

A retarded boy and girl got 20% in preliminary spelling tests. Then using accelerated learning techniques, the girl got 90%, and the boy got 60%. The boy’s poor score was because he “knew” that he couldn’t spell, so he went through changing his right answers. Did I mention removing the glass lid as a way of helping your child succeed in school?

Your child can learn to use the Japanese abacus to add when he is 3 years old. Don’t bring speed into it at this stage. Just get him to make the write finger movements using 2 columns to add numbers from 0 to 9 eventually (they’ll mostly be wrong at first but don’t tell him) The Second column is of course for carrying 1, but don’t tell him – just let him learn to do it. Teach him to recognize the digits from 0 to 9, and manipulate them on the abacus. Once he gets everything right you can teach him that he is adding numbers. Before then his is just pushing beads about in a special pattern. By the time he is four (with daily practice of say 10 minutes twice a day) he will be able to add 4-digit numbers fast.

Don’t you think this will make him feel intelligent when he goes to school at 6 years of age and discovers his classmates are still using only numbers up to 9? My headmistress complained that my son was treating his teacher with contempt – teaching him the alphabet and numbers up to 9. Some months before that we were driving along in the car and my wife made a mistake in the mental addition of two 2-digit numbers and he corrected her. No wonder he felt contempt – he had been reading for a couple of years already too. So I taught him that he should always be polite to people who weren’t as clever as he was.


I firmly believe that your child’s attitude is probably the most important factor in helping your child succeed in school. Think about three different attitudes

  • The loser
  • The victim
  • The successful rebel

If your child sees himself as a loser, he will shuffle around with stooped shoulders, unwilling to try anything because he will only lose again.

Perhaps your child sees himself as a victim of the teachers. They give him ten times as much homework as he can possibly handle. They expect him to understand things that they don’t explain properly. They expect him to write notes a hundred times faster than he can write.

Or perhaps your child sees himself as being one step ahead of the teachers, always coming up with ideas to get good marks without working much.

Which of these examples do you think would be best for helping your child succeed in school?

Helping your child succeed in school

You are the top expert

Apart from your child you know better than anyone else how he will react to your attempts at helping your child succeed in school. My mother taught me the alphabet by baking cookies shaped like letters. I didn’t get a cookie until I said it’s name. What are your child’s hot buttons?

If you are lucky, you may be able to get help from the top expert (the child) with a simple open-ended question, such as “How do you feel about writing essays?” (An open ended question is one that can’t be answered with yes or no.) Some children won’t help you.

You are the expert who will have to decide how to apply my suggestions

and I can only describe what has helped other people.

You should encourage the third attitude mentioned above. Remember, attitude is most important. Technique follows on.


Have you heard of a child putting on a Superman costume and jumping off the roof? That is an unfortunate result of a common pattern. We all build up a picture of ourselves in our mind, and then the picture tends to become real. We behave like our own picture of ourselves.

One way of helping your child succeed in school is to work out an image of someone who will succeed, and encourage him to see himself that way.

If your child sees himself this way

  • a rebel who does things his own way
  • one step ahead of the teacher
  • doesn’t follow the other sheep, thinks for himself
  • questions everything with “why” or “prove it”
  • bends the rules, but doesn’t quite break them, so teacher can’t “get him” for it
  • is a good storyteller, always seeing how to add a twist to the story
  • sometimes does things “just to be different”
  • doesn’t follow the “teenage rebel” fashions (Why should he? He thinks for himself! )

you will find that helping your child succeed in school becomes less and less necessary.

Life wasn’t meant to be easy

You are going to find that helping your child succeed in school by changing his attitude is going to need you to be pretty clever. If he gets the idea that you are trying to make him change, he will dig in his heels and do the opposite.

When he thinks about not doing things the same way as his friends he will start to get worried – “They will laugh at me”. The fact is that even though some will laugh, some of his friends will copy him. It always happens. Wear some outrageous item of clothing, and people will copy it. It may even become fashionable, like patches in your jeans.

Tell him that people are wrong most of the time. Investors have made a fortune on the share market from this fact – they simply buy when the experts say “sell” and sell when the experts say “buy”.

Originality and essays

If you are helping your child succeed in school you won’t want to miss out on showing him how to use originality to get good marks for essays, as described in my book.

Play “tennis-elbow-foot” to encourage originality. Keep making comments like “I’d never have thought of that one” or even just “you’re good at this” or “you’ve beat me again”. What? You don’t know how to play tennis-elbow-foot?

It is best played in a group forming a ring. Someone says a word to start it off. The next person says a word that is related to the first one in some way, and it progresses round the circle. So elbow is related to the first word as “tennis elbow” and foot is part of the body just as elbow is.

Now comes the fun part. I would probably suggest dragoons as the next word. If you didn’t follow my reasoning you could challenge me. If I can give no good connection I lose a life. If I give a good connection, you lose a life. In this case foot soldiers and dragoons are two kinds of soldier.

Encourage your child to find the most remote connections possible. For instance take the word fire. Possible words with good connections are

  • Smoke
  • Gore (firing squad)
  • Dole money (fired by boss)
  • Enthusiastic (speaker has fire in his belly)
  • Opportunistic (weeds grow after fire)
  • Earth, or Air, or Water (These and fire were the “elements” of early scientific thought.)

Emphasize Success

Helping your child succeed in school means emphasizing each of his successes. Tell your friends (in his hearing) about how cleverly he did something. Your friends probably won’t listen, because they are thinking about how clever their own children are, but he will be listening.

Success breeds success

Picture of a book that will help your child succeed in schoolOne way of helping your child succeed in school is to encourage him to use the tricks in my book to write exciting essays. I went from the bottom of my English class to the top when I learned these tricks. I don’t need to tell you that it did wonders for my self confidence! After all, I wouldn’t be telling you how to build self confidence if I still saw myself as a loser!

The other extreme

This way of helping your child succeed in school may be too successful. He may become so big-headed that he doesn’t listen to anybody. He may become an unpopular “know-it-all”. That’s fine until after the exams.

Then get him a copy of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. Once he realizes that people judge him by how interested he is in them, he will go about personal relationships as logically and successfully as he handled essay writing.

Dale’s book is a good introduction to your child’s working life in any case.

The techniques work just as well now as when they were written, even though they sound a bit old fashioned – human nature hasn’t changed.

Accelerated Learning

This technique will give you the perfect way of helping your child succeed in school if you are prepared to do the work. It will help him to know a lot about his subject. However the person who does best in exams is the one who knows most about exams, not about the subject of the exams.

So your child should use exam techniques even if your child develops a photographic memory.

Other useful links

The next link could be very helpful if your child wants to learn speed reading, or to improve his memory.

  • Become a lightning calculator – Fun With Figures
  • Raise his IQ, teach him self-hypnosis and other specialist mental subjects – improve your IQ
  • Speed reading – speed-reading
  • Improved memory –Photographic Memory
  • Learn Chinese – Rocket Learning Chinese
  • Learn French – Rocket Learning French

Children can learn a language without an accent until they are 4 years old. After that the lose there skills to learn languages. At what age do you think a child should be taught languages? Memory caution – a photographic memory only works when you mean to use it – it doesn’t remember conversations for instance.