Surviving Chemistry Class: A Guide for Parents

Parents of high school students often cringe when their kids reach high level science classes. Everyone had to take these classes at some point, however, many of us have moved on to careers that deem the periodic table unnecessary. It can be frustrating to watch a child struggle, while unable to find solutions. Parents are often the first responders to students that are having trouble in school. You can help your child in many ways, even if the subject matter eludes you. Take on chemistry with your child and see positive results.

Identify the Problem

It is impossible to help your child if the problem is not clear. Solutions come after you reach a full understanding of the issue. There are many reasons that kids do not succeed in chemistry class. The number one issue is the math. Parents can help by making sure their children have strong math skills before enrolling in chemistry. The class may be required. However, many schools are lenient on which year the class is taken. If your child needs more time to improve in math, talk to the counselor about putting off chemistry until the next year.

Study skills must reach a new level for high level science classes, as well. If your child is used to getting by without intensive study sessions, it may be time for a change. Help them plan a study schedule and teach them to take good notes on reading material. By the time they reach chemistry class, college is not far off. These are skills they can take with them.


You likely know ahead of time when chemistry class is going to become a part of your child’s life. Take the time to prepare well ahead of time. The summer before can be a great time to start presenting a few materials. Do a few fun experiments at home, and start going over the periodic table. Memorization is a large part of chemistry class. This can be difficult to accomplish when a student has several other classes to prepare for. Early introduction of elements, formulas, and vocabulary can help the class go much smoother.

Call in Reinforcements

There are times when help is needed. If your child’s grades are dropping quickly, they probably have lost all understanding of the subject. Fast intervention is necessary to avoid a failing grade. Check with the school for tutoring opportunities. Make a point to communicate with the teacher, as well. Teachers want students to succeed and many step up to help. Family members, friends, and older siblings may also be good resources.

Chemistry class can be a daunting experience for many reasons. Not all students love science. It is important, however, to make it a positive experience. Introducing study skills, planning ahead, and seeking help, are all great options. Parents are the best resource for helping children succeed.

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