29 answers

Ideas for Son Getting Bad Grades

For the last few years, my son has been struggling with grades. K-3 he always did great in school, now, since about the 4th grade, he's brought home some good grades, but he has also brought home some bad ones as well (he's in 6th grade). Alot of it, I believe, is him rushing and not really caring. It's pretty much with all subjects, except for spelling. He just brought a "D" home on a Social Studies test the other day, and had changed it to a "B-" so he wouldn't get in trouble (even though he knew the lying would be him into more trouble). I'm a pretty involved parent, which I always thought would benefit my children, but it doesn't seem to be helping my son. i have talked with his teachers each year, and nothing really changes. At the end of the year we pull in some extra credit and he ends up getting some pretty good grades (one "C", mostly "B"'s, 1 "A"),however his STAR testing is also low. I have punished him numerous times (taking away outside time, video games, TV), and rewarded for good grades, but none of this works. I feel very opposed to not having any punishment because I feel he needs to know that I expect good grades from him.....but whatever is happening is making him afraid of getting in trouble, so now we're at the point that he's lying about it.
I have emailed/talked to the teacher, sat down and studied with him, corrected homework, not corrected homework, made spreadsheets and charts.....I'm just out of ideas.
Any advice would be appreciated.
Thank you!

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So What Happened?™

Thank you everyone for your advice. I think took a little of what everyone said and kind of changed the way I was thinking about it. I decided to take away the pressure of the "letter grade" and put more of the focus on "doing your absolute best". I did however make it very clear that "doing your best" doesn't mean you can bring home D's and F's on a regular basis. We talked about consequences for "not doing your very best"....which means that if you are getting bad grades due to missed assignements, slacking off in class, and not studying hard enough, then there will be consequences.
He has taken 3 tests since then.....2 on social studies. The first one he brought home was a B- (7 out of 8 correct), and the next one a C (6 out of 8 correct). I really felt he studied hard the night before, as we went over the study guide together. He also got a B on his math test, and was moved up to the "group 1" math group instead of the "group 2".
So we'll see. It's only the first 2 months of school. We'll take it day by day i guess. Thanks for all of your support and advice.
T.

Featured Answers

Hi T.-
I am a school teacher, and after third grade you are reading to learn. When you have a drop in state test scores, motivation and class grades, I would almost think there is a learning problem of somekind...
You may want to talk to him and see if there is someone bothering him....if not talk with a counselor and ask if they can do some testing.

More Answers

Hi T.,
I am a middle school teacher (RSP actually) and I have just a couple of suggestions to add to what the other posters have given.

First, stop punishing him for bad grades. At this point his fear of getting in trouble is causing him to hide poor grades and thus stopping him from getting help when he is struggling (he can't say "Mom, I failed my test, can you help me study for the next one?" if he doesn't want you to know he failed the first one.

Second, talk to his teachers about what extra help may be available at the school. If there is an afterschool tutoring program, sign him up; if they can assign an inclass buddy, have them do that; if they are willing to email you the homework assignments so you know what he need to do, give them your email address; finally request a meeting of the Student Study Team, if he does have some specific needs that just can't be met in general education (ie a specific learning disability), the SST is the place to start a referral for testing in this area.

Finally I would try to replace punishment AND reward with sincere "how can I help" and "I'm so proud of you." At a certain point, success has to be it's own reward, so why not teach him that from the beginning? Besides, a proud parent can mean much more to a kid this age than a Play Station (and it's a lot cheaper !)

Keep up the good work. Your kids are lucky to have such an involved and concerned parent.

Hope this helps,
T.

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Hi T.,

This is right around the time my grades started slipping too. For me, it was homework. I simply didn't do it or if I did, it was VERY half asked. No punishment worked and no reward worked (I didn't care about grades at the time).

If I were you, step one would be to see where the problem is with his grades.

Is it testing (sometimes test anxiety can be a killer)?
Is it homework?
Is it disruptive classroom behavior?

Once you figure that out, solving the issue will be easier. Maybe you should consider getting him a tutor. The one on one time will be wonderous and often tutors are younger, therefore cooler and can serve as a mentor in addition to a teacher. Perhaps the opinion of a cool person will be helpful in his overall success. Just a thought.

Good luck!
T.

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Have you ruled out any possible learning disablities? It may just be him not studying enough, but there could also be some modifications the teacher could make to help him do better also. This may not be it, but I would check it out, because school is going to get a lot harder for him when he hits junior high and high school.

1 mom found this helpful

I think Cheryl hit it, before you continue racking your brains, make sure their isn't some type of disability prohibiting him from doing good in school. So many times children go through school not realizing they have some type of disability. It isn't a bad thing to have learning disabilities or anything to be ashamed of, if you do find out he has one the school can help you find alternative ways of learning the material. One way doesn't always work for everyone. My cousin went through most of school with dyslexia, always getting not so good grades, when they finally figured it out it explained ALOT!! now he is a bio-chemical engineer! GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!! I vcommend you on all the time you take to be active with your children, sounds like you are an awesome mome!!!

Hi, T.,

I am a teacher, and the saying is "K-3 is learning to read. Grades 4 and up you are reading to learn". It strikes me that your son's problems started at 4th grade when the reading really kicks in. If a child doesn't have a firm reading foundation, he flounders and falls. Up until grade 4 they can fake it, but then they can't.

I would have him assessed for a reading disability, and take it from there, modifying work, taking with the teacher(s).

H.

HI T.
I am a mother of 4 my oldest is in 8th second oldest is in 6th and my 2 younger ones are in 4th and 2nd and I had the same problem I am to involved with my kids school and what it boiled down to is being in his class to help out the teacher not so much on him but being a room mom for awhile watch him see if he is bored see how the teacher is teaching and after a few times of being with just my son it has helped alot and remember hes in 6th grade now and every thing is harder so he may be frustrated to talk to him and think back when you were in 6th grade tell him about a time when it was hard for you kids seem to open up when you talk about the past
I wish you the best of luck Danielle mother of 4

T.,

First, really talk with your son and see if he can identify the real problem...does he have trouble following what the teacher says, is it hard to concentrate because the class is too noisy, is it hard to read the assignments written on the board, is there a bully (or a girl) in the class that is distracting him?

Also, have your son read outloud to you. He might have a reading issue or a learning comprehension issue or even a hearing issue.

My youngest son didn't get diagnosed with his issue until he was in 5th or 6th grade. We finally had him tested by a speach and hearing specialist. He had/has auditory discrimination disfunction (well that is what they called it back then) where it is difficult to hear certain sounds and difficult to filter out background noises. We also learned he was a visual processor (as opposed to an auditory or a kinestetic processor) as his main learning style. He did a 12-session class in the Lindamood method of learning which helped a lot.

Then we had him moved in all his classes to the front right side of the room which supported his visual learning style and supported his need to be close to the teacher to be able to hear what was being said. Those simple fixes made all the difference in the world for him. (If that hadn't worked, we would have put a microphone on the teacher and a headset on my son so he could hear). We also learned that he had a slight hearing loss in both ears, primarily due to lots of ear infections as a kid and scar tissue from two sets of tubes. He did great in school after that.

Good luck - don't give up. - J.

Boys are like this, sorry. They don't care about homework or studying. (sometimes girls too) Try to make sure he knows you wont accept D or F! Then roll with it. It's gonna get worse, mine is a jr now. He started slipping as soon as he hit middle school -they will spend more time lying than doing the work. sad, but realize boys are that way. He is just now applying himself (and still not that hard) I think because he had to repeat a few courses (pay a consequence from someone besides us). But I am sure yr son has many other loveable qualities, try to focus on them.

Hi T.-
I am a school teacher, and after third grade you are reading to learn. When you have a drop in state test scores, motivation and class grades, I would almost think there is a learning problem of somekind...
You may want to talk to him and see if there is someone bothering him....if not talk with a counselor and ask if they can do some testing.

I have heard that until 3rd grade, we learn to read, after 3rd grade, we read to learn.

Let him know you believe he can learn, and that you would like to help him figure out what is getting in his way. If he is performing poorly on testing and school work, but you believe he is intelligent enough to be able to do the work, then there is a disconnect somewhere and you need to find out what it is.

My daughter was able to fool us through 2nd grade, but it finally came out that she couldn't read. Turns out she has a learning disability. Tutoring and accomodations (fewer problems and longer time on test), gave her the support she needed to succeed in school - and more importantly, to have confidence in her ability to handle challenges and learn. One of her goals for years was to learn to ask for help - which may be something your son will need help learning to do.

Good luck.

Hi T.!

I know the feeling! :o) My son is now in 6th grade, and I am just now starting to see some improvement again.

First, we CANNOT expect 4th-6th grades to be anything like K-3 when it compares to grades. The expectations are simply NOT the same. I always said they need to send a letter home to incoming "4th graders" to prepare them for all adjustments during this year. It's more than just class size and REAL grades, it's emotional growth, some hormonal growths, and then mixing it all together and performing "what has been expected of you" for the last 3 years. I learned that there is absolutely no comparison, and my expectations were a little too high, so I reflected some diappointment. Be careful not to do that with your son, it's hard to re-gain that homework connnection.

I did what you seem to be doing, stay helping him through all of it at home. I remember reading a question so my son could answer it......simple things to help him get it done.

As far as STAR testing goes, I look at them to see what the State see's, but I never show them to my son. He's never seen them from me. I don't believe that I can I compare his school cirriculum to the STAR test, i believe they are too different? I focus on what's expected of him on a daily basis, and not one week a year.

Stay involved. if your son is doing everything he can, trying his best, and not missing homework, etc... then there is no way in the world he should receive a D on his Report Card (a test maybe). Just keep up with the Teacher, and investigate the need for a Resource Teacher to possibly become involved to help him, but it will probably be on you. The Teacher would've recommended it by now I would think.

Keep doing what you're doing, T.. Just let him know you are proud of him no matter what. Notice the small things that he improves on.

Good luck

:o) N.

Perhaps he needs a tutor...to make sure he is understanding the work and/or not having a problem like dyslexia (wehn the words appear backwards or jumbled). Club Z adviertises in the Sac area and your child's school should have some suggestions for programs available at the school or after school. We have a teenager who went through the same thing and was too proud to ask for help so we just did it and he improved enough to at least pass and tended to listen to an "outside" source as opposed to mom and dad.

Hi T. ~
I used to think that my son wasn't willing to try; however, (in the 1st grade) I asked him "can't you see that this says (whatever the word was) and his response was: "Mom, my words dance!" I felt so bad. I had his vision checked and his eye muscles had not developed as they should have! With eye therapy and exercises at home his vision went from that of a 2 year old (muscle strenth) to that of an 8 1/2 year old (muscle strength) in just one year. He still wears glasses and his GPA is around 3.5. My suggestion would be to go to an opthamologist that specializes in "vision therapy". If you live in the San Jose, CA area I can refer you to ours. They are wonderful!

As for the 'changing' of the grades; just ask him how he would feel if you lied to him and he later found out the truth. He'll probably say that he wouldn't like it; then tell him that you expect him to be honest with you ("because that's what we do in this family ~ be honest with eachother".)If he says that other kids do what he did; tell him that you are not the "other kids" parent; you are his parent. Remind him that you are not raising a child; you are raising a young man.

Lucy B.

School is far more advanced than when we were in school and it is common for boys to lose interest at this age. He may just choke on the tests being under a time pressure or stress of not doing well. I took my daughter to the tutoring club and learned that she was missing a portion of learning from 3-4 grade. She is not back to being an honor student. Talk to his teachers and as long as he is doing all of his work and turning it in try to find out if he is struggling with certain areas. I also made my son get a progress sheet signed by all of his teachers each week with his grades and assignments that weren't done. This paper determined if he would have any free time that weekend. I have always just required my kids to do their best and if their best was a C then ok but not ok if they had potential to do better.

My oldest son is in eighth grade now, and like you, I've had a similar problem from the fourth to sixth grades. He's a great kid and once I found out what the issues were, I focused on ensuring my son had love, support at home and at the school he attends.

What you are doing is fine. Being an involved parent is a beautiful and wonderful thing. However, middle school is a tough transition for boys. They are adjusting to a new environment where they're learning to fend for themselves; there's also the puberty equation [most boys are developing into men at this age] as well.

Boys usually have issues with school around the fourth grade, when the letter grading system comes into play and there could be other things going on. Here are some suggestions I've done [which have worked with my son, who turns in consecutive B-averages since grade 7]:

1. When talking with his teachers, find out if there are any organization/focus issues they've noticed. Since kids are fending for themselves in middle school, they are not taught how to organize their lessons in terms of time management and detail. For example, each subject requires 90 mins of study and homework time [I could be wrong] and afterschool programs, tutoring, etc., only takes up 1/2 time.

2. Continue being involved in his school activities and discuss things with your son in a manner where it's not mother/son...try being a peer.

3. Introduce him to mentors, counselors, etc., who have knowledge dealing with boy-man transitions. At my son's school there's a parenting institute which meets 1x/month during both semesters and they discuss ways to interact with and be closer to your preteen or teenager. One of the topics discussed is in the area of how to get your children to adjust to middle school. I think this again, is the reason why your son may have some difficulties, because when you're thrust from a communal circle [like it is from K-3] to sitting down on your desk and doing your own work, it can be intimidating. But study groups, tutors, and afterschool programs with a homework center and enrichment activities worked for my son and turned his life around.

Hi T.,

I would take out the TV, video games for good. I dont know if you read about the effects of the video games- it actually makes kids disinterested in school and makes them dumb. I read it somewhere. I have a daughter right now in 6th grade, she is smart but she needs to be pushed and reminded to do school work. My other daughter just entered college and graduated valedictorian from HS- while working 2 jobs. Both daughters are smart I pushed the older one also to always do good in school and it just became a habit to her to do homework and school work first. But the younger one needs to be constantly reminded to do homework. I know it gets old after a while but I realize that each child is different. They don't have the same strengths and weaknesses. Please continue to push your son and yes, sit with him and don't give up. Check his homework all the time and yes, do expect good grades from him that is the least that he can do. I tell both girls that their job is to do good in school and my job is to provide for them. I pray that you wont give up- I know its hard but they cant see us give up on them. We are the portals of their being especially when they are still living with us. God bless you and your family T., things CAN ONLY GET BETTER- trust me!

Barring that you have tried all of the other suggestions, I'd say let him go. Explain to him that it is now his responsibility to either bring his grades up or ask for help. Tell him that you trust his intuition to know when he is need of help. Then tell him at the end of the school year that there will be two options for him... 7th grade ... or repeating 6th grade. Also tell him that you are not going to help him seek out extra credit. As a middle school teacher i never gave extra credit projects for the students to raise their grades. It irritated me actually because the other students in the room put in the time and effort to make sure they did well the first time..so why would I reward someone who didn't care enough the first time. However, my middle school students all knew where they stood and as their teacher I made sure they knew what their grade was at all times...I put them in charge of monitoring it. If they wanted to know what their grade was at any point in time they could ask me to figure it out for them. I put THEM in charge. By giving them the responsibility, and in essence, the control over their grade in my class it made them work harder. It was never a surprise to them at report card time either.

Hi T. - I was wondering if you have ever considered online tutoring during homework time? That would help your son to be able to complete his homework without so much stress and give him confidence when he goes to school each day. It is on demand, so whenever he needs help, help is available. It is used for students 4th through 12th grade, and is available 24/7. He can try a 25 minute tutoring session free to see what the two of you think about it. My three children are all grown up now, two attending San Jose State, and on SJSU graduate, but we really could have used online tutuoring to help them during middle and high school. Best of luck to you and yours. :o)

visit: www.tutor.com Use FREE Code MGVIP50F

T.,

When my son started "not caring" about schoolwork and projects, I didn't get mad at him. Instead I told him "How sorry I am for him", which really got his attention. I said that I was "sorry he would always struggle financially in life and how he would have to work at McDonald's or laboring away in a ditch". At this point, he was listening intently. I asked him "don't you want a nice car, big house...?" Of course he replied yes and I explained the connection between good grades now and throughout school leading to college and a financially secure life later.

I explained that "work" or at least some aspects of it are not always fun, but my contribution to the family is to go to work and do a good job so I don't get fired so that we can afford housing, food, clothes, entertainment and things for him and his siblings and health insurance. I told him that doing well in school is his "work" and contribution to the family so that he will not have to live at home forever because although I love him, I was not willing to support him his whole life. I also explained how I wanted him to succeed by going to college to get a good job and have a good life filled with everything he wants.

Of course chores came up and I told him that was another contribution that we ALL make to the family and reminded hi of all the cooking, cleaning, laudry, etc. that hubby and I do. Being part of a family requires pitching in and having a wonderful family life and home life requires money and that requires good grades and graduations.

Do keep assisting him as much as you can...have him show you his school planner and check his homework. If you think he did a sloppy job or didn't put his all into it, make him redo it. That is something we have required of both boys from time to time. Let him know that a job that is not well done is not really done and if you behaved that way at work just because you weren't interested in it or it was hard, boring, etc. that you would be fired.

This logic made all the difference for my oldest son (now 13 and a freshman in HS) and little brother has heard the talk and seems to be living by that advice too. I really hope this helps...kids don't understand why school is so important and need to know how it relates to their wants/needs in life. I cannot claim credit for this...read the Love and Logic books...they are SO helpful, especially with my headstrong 3 yo.

Good luck!

We have been doing biofeedback for our 11 year old daughter and have seen very positive results with mood and behavior. The school year has just started, so it's difficult to tell how it will help with school just yet. We live in San Jose and have been taking her to Dr. Mark Steinberg. He has an excellent website, explaining what biofeedback is and how it benefits. He also does an excellent job working with your insurance. It's a lot of money up front, but we recooped most of our "investment".

J.

Hi T..

Like everyone else, I am there too. I home schooled up until this year (6th grade) and my oldest son also started having trouble at 4th grade. We did the Stanford tests and he always scored low. The problem is, when I sit with him, he does excellent on his work. We used a computer based curriculum which scored assignments and tests. He got all A's if I would just sit with him, not helping him, just sitting with him. So I know he is a very smart kid.

We see a counselor because we've been through a divorce. The counselor said that as smart as he is and as low as he scores on tests, there may be a learning disability. His doctor, his teachers, and other counselors all said he is not ADD, so I never thought there was a problem. I'm very leary of diagnosis of learning disabilities as I believe some of these kids are just lazy. I just don't get it. For a kid who did very well until 3rd grade, did they suddenly pick up a learning disability in 4th? Why does it seem like all boys suddenly aquire this learning disability in 4th grade? And aren't all 6th graders going through hormonal changes? Could that have something to do with it and we call that a learning disability? I'm just not sure. So, I'm going to have him tested just to see if someone can explain this to me.

This year our district has 6th grade in Jr. High. He feels like the big man now and is more interested in friends, sports, girls. He really wants to do well in school, but he just can't seem to get motivated to start homework. He also lies about it stating what he has to do, then 10 minutes later lying and saying he only has half the amount. I often catch him reading a magazine or playing with his tech decks when he is supposed to be doing homework.

I've made it clear to him that he is no longer an elementary school kid and he is the one responsible for his homework and grades. I am there to help him whenever he needs it. I don't allow TV, games, or music until all chores and homework are done. If he decides not to do the work, he will suffer the consequence of staying back a grade.

All this to say I think your son is very normal, but I know how frustrating it is for you. I would have him tested, offer your help as often as possible, don't punish for grades, but do offer consequences for lying or being lazy about doing the work (if the teacher reports homework is missing or not finished, he'll have to drop after school activities until he can prove he is doing what is expected of him). He needs to know that he is responsible for his future. It is hard for moms to allow our kids to fail, but letting them face the consequences is the only way they will learn to be responsible.

I'm with you T.. All we can do is encourage them, offer our help, and pray for them. God bless you.

I feel for you. It's hard to watch our children not making the effort we know they can. Unfortunately, I think the old saying "you can lead a horse to water, but can't make him drink" fits this situation. All you can do is encourage him to do better and I definitely think you should stick with punishment. I think I would make him do school work from the time school gets out until bed time - even if it's work you have to make up for him. He needs to know that if he doesn't make the effort in school, there will be no play/pleasure and all of his time will be spent doing school work. If the grades come up, then he gets some free time, but until then, it's study, study, study! If he's struggling to understand the material, then maybe a tutor would help but it sounds like he's a typical 11 year old who is developing his own interests and unfortunately school is not one of them. Just keep on him - it's really all you can do.

Hi T.,

I have two children ages 13 and 10. They are very different and learn differently, however, we have always adhered to very strict guidelines in our home life. The "WE" has as much to do with the parents as the kids. Schoolwork is done at the kitchen table everyday and we check it for my younger child. Your son needs close attention right now or he will lose what ground he has at school. As parents it is hard to put other things/commitments aside, however, they are not as important as making sure our kids do well in school. At 11, middle school adds new pressures and a streamlined study time with no TV or music on will only take the pressure off of him once he gets into the rhythm of having this time set aside for his work. Reading a book with him and your other kids at night will also increase his vocabulary/mental skills. Research shows that it greatly increases their brain power and adds years to their reading ability. Read something you can all enjoy like the Harry Potter series, Eragon series, etc. It may sound elemental but it works. I found that being involved with the PTA is nice for moms socially but helping in the classroom and library benefits ones child on a personal level. I've been on both sides of the street on this one.

I would ask about a resource teacher for your son. The school should have someone who can pull him out for extra help in the areas that he is having difficulty in. Maybe he just needs someone to explain things in a different way or to give him a little extra time to digest the information. If he really is "rushing and not really caring", just the idea of being pulled out for help might motivate him to do better. Also, some kids really have a hard time with the transition from 3rd to 4th grade -- there is a big difference in going from a class of 20 students to a class with up to 34 students. With that many kids, its alot easier to get distracted and lose focus. The teacher should really be willing to work with you on identifying what is hindering his progress, but if she won't, go to the principal. You will end up being your child's biggest advocate!!

Hi T. -

Punishing him is not going to help -- it is simply going to make his performance worse, and hurt your relationship. This isn't about laziness or wilfull disobedience -- something is wrong.

Either he is not understanding the work, he is not able to do the work, he is not able to organize his time as well as others, etc. In short, he may have an undiagnosed learning difference such as Cognitive Processing Deficit, which sometimes does not present itself until 4th grade when the work gets a bit harder. Another possibility, as strange as it may sound, is that he has a low level depressive or anxiety disorder.

I would strongly urge you to look into asking your school to assess your child for learning disorders. They will probably tell you it is not necessary -- as again, and ask in writing. By LAW they must assess him if you request in writing and have 50 days to do so. I would also recommend finding a good private evaluator. I know of several very good ones in the Bay Area -- you can write me if you like, and I'll give you their names.

Best of luck!

J.

4th grade is a transition stage where the work becomes harder. However, since is Star Testing is low and has struggled in school the past few years, it might be that he has a learning disability. You can ask the district to assess him for disabilities so that he can get assistance with his work. Parents helping Parents has a great letter on their website to help you request an assessment. The website is www.php.com. Look in the tag for Special Education. Another great book is called From Emotions to Advocacy written by Pete and Pam Wright.

You might want to find out why he is rushing through his homework? Does he have trouble focusing - he might have Attention Deficit Disorder or is it because he just wants to get it done whether he understands it or not?

Also, Parents Helping Parents has support groups and lectures on various topics.
Have you asked your son, how he feels about school? Why he thinks he might be having trouble?
I think trying to understand his difficulty and working with the teachers and him to find successful solutions will benefit him greatly.

Find ways to make learning fun. I tutor a 3rd grader twice a week and we play math and reading games. She loves horses so I got her a horse binder, a horse notebook and some pony pencils. We are also reading a huge book on horses. Now when I get there she's happy to work on our sessions.

What kind of learning style does he have? Does he learn by seeing things, by hearing things, by doing things, or a combination of styles? Does his teacher teach that way? Find out how he learns best and talk with his teacher about it.

I truly believe that if you have a weak foundation in reading, every subject you approach will be difficult. For example, it's hard to do well in social studies or history if you can't read the homework assignment or write the answers out well. If he's reading at grade level than check to make sure that he can see the board and doesn't need glasses.

What do you do for fun? Does he see you read or does he see you watch tv? At our house we only watch tv if the closed caption is on. It helps you hear it and see it at the same time. It helps you to learn how to speed read too!

The idea of holding your son back might be hard to swallow, but constantly struggling and not feeling smart all of the time might be the worse option. If he's capable of doing the work, the idea of staying behind might motivate him to get work done.

A few thoughts for homework time; set the timer for 15 minutes. You'd be amazed at what can be done in 15 minutes. Set the timer and make a game to race the clock. Anybody can do almost anything for 15 minutes. Do one subject for 15 minutes and switch topics when the buzzer sounds. After 3 subjects take a 15 minute break. Establishing a routine helps too. Pick a homework time and stick to it.

You didn't say why he is getting bad grades. I would ask, in detail, the teachers why he is getting bad grades (not turning things in, test scores, etc.). Have you considered having him tested? My youngest always did well in school until middle school. For awhile I thought she was hurrying or being lazy. After having her tested we found out she has an auditory processing disability. She does not qualify for special education (we knew she wasn't special ed) but it put in place what is called a 504 plan. This plan allows some extra help to her (longer for tests if she needs it, study guides from the teachers, etc.) You would never know if you met her or had conversations with her that she has any trouble. Once her grades started slipping and I saw self esteem issues, I decided, reluctantly, to have her tested. Testing is paid for by the school district as long as you do it before high school. A 504 plan stays with them through college. No one wants to think their child could have learning disabilities but it is more common than you think. One last note, no one at school knows she has this plan. It is very confidential and they are not pulled out of the classroom. My daughter now knows she has something that makes it a bit harder for her to retain information and she knows there are resources available to her. She is now a junior in high school and has all A's and B's. Good luck.

As a parent, I think the best thing you can do for school work is encouragement and getting resources to help your child learn. I book that crystallized how I could help in concrete ways was a book entitle Setting Limits. It walked through how to setup good studying habits, ways for you and your child to recognized when they are needing more help and learning what kind of infrastructure is required to do well in school.

My last piece of observation, children want to please and do well. They are looking for ways to succeed. I believe punishment for rewards for good habits and effort may give you more results that punishment for bad grades which can't be changed. Work to the intermediate goals and hopefully the end goal will be reach. At any rate you will know that you child did all they could.

Good luck.

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