Advice on Education

Updated on March 08, 2007
B.M. asks from Stamford, NY
33 answers

I have a 12 (almost 13) year old daughter who is doing very poorly in school. It's mostly because she doesn't complete her homework assignments but her average right now is 58%. She's getting some help in school but it's not enough. My husband and I have tried everything we can think of for instance. Promising money for good grades and taking her to her favorite restaurant (or anywhere else she might want to go). Right now she's grounded till the next report comes out. She's lost computer time unless it's school related and lost her video games. She doesn't seem to care. The school thinks she should seek counseling but money is an issue. We've also thought of tutoring and someone also suggested martial arts. But again money is an issue. Plus her dad doesn't want to "reward her for martial arts when she's getting bad grades". Any suggestions?

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D.G.

answers from Chattanooga on

Well you can't fix the result unless you find the cause. I mean if she's having problems doing the work all the rewards in the world not gonna help. If she needs counciling does the school have a therapist my 10 & 8 yr old have 1 at their school. Is she bored? they may have to give her more challenging work. Can she see to read? my 10 yr old had trouble reading the board & got in trouble till we got her glasses. If you live in Ny i believe they just passed a law here on mental health being covered for all.If $ is the issue there are places that go by income on payment rates. but if there is an issue somewhere rewarding/ grounding for graxdes will make it worse. I wish you luck

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J.M.

answers from New York on

B., I was the same way at that age. It was partially the age, and partially because my parents wouldn't help me with my homework. Either they couldn't or wouldn't, and their taking things a way from me made no difference. I wasn't really able to fully grasp the idea of taking responsibility for my actions. I was not understanding the materials given to me, and no effort was being made by my parents. I understand that you thought about tutoring, if you are unable to, I think that is an excellent route to go. However she might be embarassed if someone from her own school were to to do the tutoring, or she might get picked on.. so keep that in mind. Good luck!

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J.K.

answers from New York on

is it possible that she is depressed and everytime you ground her or take away something else, she has given up caring for anything even more because it seems hopeless? are you giving her extra love and not always focusing on her school performance to balance all the pressure? Do you praise her for what she does do well? I only know because I was that way when I was young, getting a c on a report card led to marking period groundings, and I just ended up not caring about anything because it hurt too much to hope for it.

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C.C.

answers from New York on

Hi, Partnership with Children--50 Court Street (Downtown Brooklyn) Monday thru Thurs. 9:30am-7:30pm& Friday's 9:30am-5:30pm. ###-###-#### for Counseling. (FREE)

As for School, seek help within the School. Speak with the Social Worker, Teachers, Principal and School Board (to have her evaluated for Services)--NO CHARGE. You can request in Writing for that Evaluation. I KNOW THIS WILL WORK, went through it with my son...Email me, [email protected]____.com if you'd like to chat, or ask me any other questions...Best of Luck! C.

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S.C.

answers from New York on

Hi - I have a 5 year old daughter and a 5 month old daughter. We started the 5 year old in karate this year to help her adjust to the new baby. This program has helped her in so many areas - confidence, learning about respect. She is normally well behaved but the teachers think of themselves as "partners" to the parents. If she does not listen, we tell her that we will not give her a thumbs up in class. She learns that she is to respond to requests from us after only ONE time and is to move "fast as lightning".

I would max out a credit card to get your daughter into a kung fu program - it has changed my daughter's attitude about so many things even at her young age. When the teacher asks her to lead the class even for only 1 punching exercise, that stays with her for days!!!

I hope this help!
S. Cohen
[email protected]____.com

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L.Q.

answers from New York on

Hi,
I personally think from my experience ( i have a 14 year old boy who had the same problems initially) that you need to request a review for an IEP. Individual Education Plan. It isn't quite Special Ed but it enables and forces the teachers to allow her extra time and help. Sometimes her work load may be adusted.SHe may not need the amount of homework to grasp the concept of the lesson. Through this eval that the district pays for you may also find that there are other issues that you were unaware of. We did. SHe may have underlying problems that require additional help or treatment. My son,we found out,was depressed. Get this done now to help prevent more and worse issuses.also meet with his teachers or at least check with them once a week or so to help you keep on top of him. Did she recently switch to Jr.High or Middle School? if so she may be overwhelmed with the change and not know how to handle the extra work load and heavier schedule. It is a hard change to make at that age with hormones raging and trying to grow up. she isn't sure how to act-- like a kid or teen-- he isn't either one so he is also trying to figure it out. Help her now so that it doesnt get worse in the next years to come.let her know that you still love her and always will even though she is struggling. I wish you well. you can email me if you would like.
L. Q.

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B.M.

answers from New York on

Hi, I agree that she sounds like she needs counseling. Contact the local mental health clinic. Some kids hit a slump. My daughter is 12 and is just coming out of it. She went to several sessions and we found that she was concerned about several issues we thought were no big thing. I am happy to say this report card was a vast improvement. No "F"'s. I was thrilled. I certainly understand money concerns - most clinics use a sliding scale fee. Even if you can't pay the services are given at no charge. Also, most insurance companies do provide for sessions with a therapist. You don't know what is going on in school, how she is relating to others in her class, where she is emotionally. 12 is the beginning of hormone rage also and this could definately be affecting her. Her body and her emotions are freaking out to some extent and this could make her lose confidence in school.

Good Luck.

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P.F.

answers from Albany on

just some advice on the counseling bit. it might not be a bad idea. maybe there is something going on at school that she is not telling you. in any case, i am a social worker. there are agencies that will offer counseling services based upon a sliding fee scale, meaning that they base your charge on your income. also, if you have medical insurance for your child, your insurance company should cover the mental health piece also. which would then mean that you would only have to pay a co-pay, just like when you go to the doctor. lastly, your child's school should have a guidance counselor. they should be able to give your daughter some amount of counseling within her school. i hope this information is helpful.

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L.P.

answers from Hartford on

I had problems like that in school as well when I was a young girl...it continued through high school. I can tell you that from my own experience grounding and punishing are not going to help. Rewarding will probably help temporarily, but not in the long run. Even though there are money issues, you should really seek counseling for your child. THAT is what she really needs. She is having some tough issues right now and is not handling them well. I don't suggest shelling out money for extra curricular activities. Not because it would be rewarding her for bad behavior, but because it sounds to me like it is what you want her to do because you think it would fix her problems. Actually, placing her in extra activities would just cause more tension between you and her. (She wouldn't care about the activities any more than she cares about anything else so you would fight about it).

Get her counseling. Stop punishing and ease up on the rewards. Let her regain control of herself and figure herself out a little bit. It is not easy to be 12 going on 13.

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S.G.

answers from New York on

Hi B.,

My name is S.. Could it be that your daughter doesn't like her school? There may some stress going on. Perhaps bullies, that keep her from concentrating? Or maybe she needs glasses? Or she may have a learning disorder? There could be a number of things that could be preventing her from doing well. Have you had a one-on-one conversation with her? There may be free or low cost counseling available. Does her school offer a guidance counselor that can talk to her? Has the school given you any suggestions on low-cost/free counseling? I think there are teen lines that she could call - free like a crisis line where she can talk to someone about her problems (if she has any). These are just suggestions. I wish you luck.

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D.R.

answers from New York on

hi B., what does your daughter say about it? talking to her in an unaccusing, helpful way is your first step, though im sure you have already done that. if she tells you, or if she isnt really talking and you feel that she is really struggling academically and that the problem isnt something else (there can be soooo many issues at this age, friends, sleep, self-image, boys, etc etc)... but if you think that the problem really is academic and that you have explored and gotten all you can out of your school district (have you spoken to an administrator to see what else might be available?), i would definitely look into some tutoring, it can be a huge help, especially if she clicks with the tutor. i know one on one can be expensive, there are also many programs out there that are good too, sylvan, score, kumon, huntington.... however, if you really cant swing any of it, i would call your local college, especially one with a decent education program. lots of times there are education students who get credits for working with a student, or who need a student to work with that they will do a study on. (i did this when i was an education student, my whole class had to find kids to work with and write up a study. i worked twice a week with a little boy whos mom was a client at a clinic i was working at at the time, and it was a great deal all around, we all benefited sooo much). if that is no help, try boces, they can be a great resource too. best of luck to all of you, D.

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C.D.

answers from New York on

Does your school district offer a homework help program?

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A.D.

answers from Burlington on

I have a 17 year old step0son who was living with us. He wasn't doing very well in school for awhile. Then I deside to get involved in the things he does like to do. His father works all the time and it was only him and I and my 6 year old son.
I got acctive in t he things he was doing like wresling and his friends. I found out from talking to him that what he really wanted was for me to be more active in his life like asking questions about school and what he does during the day.
Everyday i would ask him how is school hat you do in your classes. When he would have something at school i would be there and get involved.
His grades started to go up and he was doing alot better. His father still worked alot but i was there. sHe wanted that attenchan.
Good luck
A.

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J.

answers from New York on

I am sure you are trying very hard and probably thought of this, but this is all my opiniopn based on limited information. Have you figured out why she isnt finishing? Is it too hard? Is it taking too long? Is it too easy? Does she not have all supllies or is disorganized? Once you figure that out then its easier to address. You can ask her teachers if it can be modified for a short time until she experiences some success doing it all. Also you can set timers to see how long she is working on it non-stop and give breaks every 20 minutes (or whenever her attention starts to wander) Have you asked her why or what would help motivate her to complete all of her homework everynight? You can draw up a contract for a reward (staying up later, "buying" her videos and playing time back ,"buying" computer time back ) for each minute pper day or week or each 5 minutes she gets to do something etc. What sort of reward does she want? She is also going to need to make a plan as soon as she gets home how she is going to attack the homework and an order to get it done- what comes first , next etc. There should be a time limit that if math takes too long she needs to move on to other subjects, and go back to finish with help later. Martial arts does teach discipline and i have heard it helps. A tutor also may help , but all they are going to do is sit there as she does it if you haven't identified a specific problem -you may be able to higher a high school student to tutor and save some money there. I believe in shorter rewards because going as long as a report card, she may burn out trying and needs the recognition and encouragement for keeping it up. At that time you can do something bigger, but make sure there are smaller things along the way.

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C.D.

answers from New York on

I have to agree with you. My daughter play soccer and even though she is up late doing homework and it seems very stressful with practice, games and homework. Her grades are actually better during the soccer season. It helps her let out her fustrations and she is more relaxed. How about school sports, we pay because my daughter plays on a travel team with a soccer club but it is very reasonable. good luck it is not easy.

C.
Mom to Danielle, Nicole, Amanda & Joe-Joe
http://colleend.stayinhomeandlovinit.com

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P.R.

answers from New York on

Teenage years are a tuff one. My son was one of those kids who never completed his work or did his work and never handed it in. Never really found out why. But later in years (18) he did get into serious trouble. I myself was one of those kids who never did her work and skipped school etc. My probelm was drugs. Yes at that age. My mom never gave up on me she asked for any and all sorts of advise. Isn't there some kind of agency that works on a sliding scale in your area? It sounnds like the best thing is to try and get some kind of counseloring. I wish you the best of luck and never give up.

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N.V.

answers from New York on

Hi B.,

Is there anyone at home when she gets home from school? I used to have the same problem actually when i was her age... and part of what it boiled down to was an organizational disorder and bad time management. It helped if i had a SET time and place to do my homework, and to have someone around if i needed questions answered or just to have someone else in the same house as me. It wasn't that i couldn't do the work or didn't understand it was just that i found myself distracted to easly from the task of completing my homework, or the assignment got lost, misplaced or i forgot to write them down. And no, incentives to get good grades didn't help, because no matter how much i tried i could not seem to get organized and manage my time properly. eventually i was able to learn how to do this better with lots of help from family (I would go to my grandmother's after school; have a snack, and sit down and get to the homework. Eventually I got so used to doing it right after school that i was able to be at home and get my homework completed. Also being somewhere such as the school library after school, where EVERYONE was studying and doing homework helped as well. In terms of rewards.... I would say the best reward is to let her know how proud you are that she is trying her hardest to get better grades, especially if you notice an increase in them, even if it's only slight. Talk to her and ask her when her what's her favorite subject. If she enjoys the homework of that subject.. tell her to save it untill she finishes the tougher or not so interesting stuff. that would work for me a lot of the time as well. My Ex husband had 2 kids 10 and 11... and they seemed to work best when they had THEIR OWN quiet designated space either completly away from everyone or in the family room area... My step daughter had especially got a kick out of haveing her "own" desk to work at during that time.

I hope this helps, please let me know how it goes
-N.

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M.L.

answers from New York on

Hi, My name is M....I was wondering if your daughter was having issues with our classmates and just not telling you..Did you try guidance counselor at school? You can meet with them and ask for suggestions without her knowing about it at first..They can look into it and kind of keep their eyes on her.
Also , my next question is what type of friends do she have?how are their grades in comparison to your daughters? Can she be depressed?
My daughter is 14 just started HS...But middle school was by far the most difficult transition, she started to do better the middle of 7th grade...But I was up in school and on the phone with the asst. principal all the time,,They really helped me out that by eighth grade she was doing phenomenal..All I can say is be active and aware of her friends and teachers...Speak to all her subject teachers, if you show them that you care, they will help you!
Good luck and keep me posted!
M. F

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R.A.

answers from Utica on

Go to the school counselor and work out a behavior plan with him/her. I'm a 4th grade elementary teacher in NY. Our school provides these services for free. You can also request for Academic Intervention Serices. A team of school professionals could help you brainstorm a solution.

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L.S.

answers from New York on

HI B....
MY daughter is of a similar age and alot goes on in this age for young girls.
I know my daughter started slacking this year on HW and the best thing that helped was for me to check her schools web page and check myself what each assignment was for each of her subjects and make sure its done by her showing it to me. THIS has helped tremendously. I had done what u did at first took away privledges...video games, computer and that didnt help but me checking the assignments online and her showing me
has helped!!! AND her grades went up quarter number 2!!!!
SHE also was told that if the HW matters didnt clear up she would not be trying out for cheerleading in the spring as well

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D.

answers from New York on

Since all of those other things are not options. Have you thought about sitting down every night with her and going over her homework. After dinner and before bed sit down with her and check her homework. Let her know that this is going to be happening and if she doesn't do a better job on it the first time she'll do it again.

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A.C.

answers from Rochester on

I'm a mom on a tight budget too So I understand money issues. There are therapist who go on what you can afford to pay and work out a budget with you. My niece when she was your daughters age was diagnosed with depression. My brother didn't understand it how could she be depressed? Turns out that she was having problems socially and acting out by not doing her work. She didn't care about losing stuff because she felt dumb and that she deserved it.
I'm not saying this is your daughter I'm just telling you tomaybe help you get insight on how she might be feeling. Hope I helped.
Allie

C.S.

answers from New York on

I dont think grounding her until next report cards is a good idea. For a tween that might as well be forever. What is the point in improving if in her mind she be still be grounded forever? I dont think teens can grasp the concept of doing good now, so they can be ungrounded later.
I would put her back to zero, so she isnt grounded. And enroll her in karate and explain to her you are doing it as an act of good faith. As soon as she is home from school, she must complete her homework and a parent needs to check it. Not for correctness, thats the teacher's job. (if the teacher doesnt know where she is struggling, she wont be able to help) Just make sure its completed.
If you talk to her teacher maybe she can give you a copy weekly/monthly of assignments. After your daughters homework is completed she can go on the computer, use the phone, go out with friends, go to karate whatever.
This way she does something good, and you reward her. If she doesnt do her homework, then for the rest of the night, she doesnt get any privileges. No TV, Phone, Computer whatever.
Work out a system so when she has tests/quizzes the next day she has to study for a set amount of time before her privileges kick-in. And then maybe 45 minutes before bed, she can study a bit more.
My kids arent old enough for this stuff yet. But I struggled in school. Especially my freshman year. I'm telling you what would have helped me. Be patient and be involved. Good Luck!

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J.L.

answers from New York on

I have to respond to you. Girls manifest ADD differently than boys. My daughter hass ADD and what you are talking about are part of her symptoms. Do not let the school bully you into thinking you are not doing enough. She might need accomidations for her work. Maybe when they give her 20 questions it is overwhelming, they should then give her 10 questions that cover all of the important things covered in class. There are some simple tests that you can look up to see if it is possible that your daughter is ADD. Then you can discuss the diagnosis with the pediatricion. Also a diagnosis does not mean she has to take any medications. My daughter takes no medications the accomidations were enough to help her.
J.

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E.S.

answers from New York on

I have a son who is 13 and I went through this with him 2 years ago. He has always done well in school and enjoys going but his grades started to fall especially if anything had a lot of reading or writing invovled. Have you had your daughter evaluated for any type of learning disabilites. I know in my school district they pay for the testing and then also help the children that need it with different teaching changes. I only say this because i would never have known that was the reason and he doesnt have a major disability but one that makes it difficult to put what he thinks into written word - my son never told us he had trouble cromprehending what he was reading and instead of doing something wrong he just wouldnt do it. He still has troubles finishing homework at times, but it is so much better not having to deal with the bad grades and the punishments.

I know that its very hard for teenagers to tell parents what is wrong, and maybe if the school stepped in and helped it might be better. I know in my school district the middle schools have great counselors that the children can go and talk to about anything from school problems to family and teenage issues. I would look into your district to see if your school is the same way. That would help with the money issues because i understand that part of it too. It may be she is just having a hard time adjusting to puberty. I feel for you i know this has to be a stessfull and hard time - i hope it gets better.

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D.S.

answers from New York on

Hi there... Have you tried talking to your daughter?? Asking her what the problem is, maybe she has trouble comprehending whatever is being taught, maybe she needs to be evaluated for a learning disability. I am going through the same thing with my son who is 13 1/2. He was evaluated inthe 2nd grade becasue he was a unfocused, however not given any diagnosis.. I thought he might needt o be re-evaluated, however the teachers feel he can do the work, but chooses not to.

His problem is that he just does not like English and Social Studies... and like you, he is punished until the next marking period (lost computer time, psp, cell phone too!)

Normally, I would ask him how school was each day and ask how certain things went in school... since the failure, I am basically giving him the cold shoulder, not asking and acting as if I don't care. He does not like this as he is now coming to me and telling me what he did in school each day. I no longer yell or hit as it gets us parents no where, but in trouble. I feel that sitting with him and looking over some of the work he is doing has helped... talk to her while looking at her work even if it is stuff you don't understand (I sure don't get half the stuff my son brings home and I have a masters degree). Ask her how do to some math examples... or ask her to explain something she did in science or what they are reading in english...

I hope this is of soem help... Good luck if you have any question... you can email me at [email protected]____.com

D.

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N.J.

answers from New York on

Hi B.,

I can definitely relate to ur concern with ur daughter. I have a 151/2 yr old and we've been having this problem since 7th grade. We've talked to her, we've promised money,clothes,whatever we could possibly think of that would give her an incentive. Unfortunately nothing worked. What I'm now doing is sending her to Sylvan learning center. so far there seems to be a difference (although shes not happy because less time for friends)Or maybe extra tutoring classes in her school. good luck!

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D.S.

answers from Albany on

Do we know for sure that she is capable of doing the work or does she need some help? Perhaps school could suggest (or you know of) a classmate or older student who wouldn't mind helping her out if you and dad don't have time. (As mine got older I literally COULDN'T remember all the fancy math!) I do believe most schools try their best to help but teachers are so overworked anymore....

I tend to see the $$ and dinner out as more of a treat than the martial arts but I do see your husband's point, too. The $$ would be AFTER the grades came and the M.A. would be before. The martial arts were probably suggested as a way to work out any stresses, extra energy or frustrations plus the discipline training all to help her be more able to sit down to her work. Does she have any physical outlet?

I always liked $$ for grades but my mom would reward the good and I owed her $$ back for the lower grades. For example, if an A got me $1, B = $.75, C = nothing (just passed, big deal), for D's and F's I would have subtracted out $.75 and $1 respectively. (1973 price rates, lol!) I think I usually netted $4-5. I like that the emphasis was then on actually improving a grade in a particular class in time for the next report. As I got older, this was no longer necessary as I was a "grade snob" and the high marks were reward enough for me.

Other than trying to get to the root of why she's having problems I have no idea. I do know that when someone doesn't COMPLETE work that they KNOW how to do, it very well could mean she's bored with it and is not being challenged enough. You'd be surprised how many high school dropouts just felt it was a waste of time due to this very fact. Keep us updated!

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C.R.

answers from New York on

If the school is suggesting a counselor, then they have to provide one, free of cost. If there isn't one at the school, they have to find a local one and they have to pay for it. Make sure you get it in writing that they are suggesting this. As far as he lack of concern...you are doing all of the right things. IS there anything that she really likes? Have you spoken to her teacher to see how she acts in school ( depressed, disconnected, disrespectful?). Maybe something is going on in school that is making her feel as if she is unable to do the work, thereby contributing to her lack of effort or concern. A counselor is definatly someone that she should talk to because it seems as if her issues go way beyond the homework. I know as a parent it must be hard watching your child go through this...just remember she is entering the dreadful teenage years and many kids change during this time...she'll get better.

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S.B.

answers from Hartford on

First off, have they tested her for dyslexia? Second is she depressed? Third does she have trouble making friends? I was #2+3 in school. For me, it was hard to sit there in my own skin. The classes I had friends in, I did ok. Classes like gym and others I had no friends in - I got F's. This made me depressed. I was in junior high school in the early 80's - so I think I might have had A.D.D. but still. Also at 12 she might be in 6th grade - that was tough too.... alot of the girls wore make-up and had boyfriends and I did not. Maybe instead of talking about her grades you should try to befriend her and talk about her "life" in school?. I don't know I could be totally wrong - just some thoughts..... also you should make her sit in the kitchen and do her homework. Check it over. Be interested in it.....

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S.K.

answers from New York on

Being a special education teacher, I would say is this the normal for your daughter or is the struggling just as of late. If this has been an on going problem, I might contact your CST at your school. Definitely talk to her guidance counselor, and maybe see about a peer that is doing well that she can buddy up with. Keep up with the motivational charts, but if she honestly can't do the work then it might be time to see about classifying her.

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M.A.

answers from New York on

I greatly suggest counseling, there could be a deeper problem that you and your husband can not see. Many times when children start dropping their grades is usually a deeper problem, and usually children will not let their parents know. You need to find a person in which your child will open up and talk about what's bothering them. Hope this was of some help.

M. A.

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C.S.

answers from Rochester on

Hey B.,

It sounds like to me that your daughter might have ADD/ADHD and has a hard time staying focused on her homework assiments. I would talk to your daughter's doctor and see what he or she thinks because ADD/ADHD can go undiagnosed and your daughter will continue to do poorly with her homework. I have ADD/ADHD and it was difficult for me to stay on task with homework. But talk to your daughter's doctor and see if you could have her tested for ADD/ADHD. I hope that my advice helps.

Sincerely,
C. S

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