How Have You Gotten Your Child to Improve Grades in School?

Updated on March 23, 2010
L.A. asks from Saint Charles, IL
6 answers

Hi Moms,

I am frustrated and just need some advice. My almost 12yr old daughter just seems to sruggle alot with school. She has always struggled with math in particular, so science this year has been a struggle as well.

We have had tutors in the past with not much luck, she recently had some assessments test done, and I am waiting to here back on those results. In a way, I hope they discover something so that we can help her improve.

I know that if she tried harder, and at least made a concerted effort she could improve.

Any strategies that have worked for you?

P.S. she has been wanting a cellphone which I have held out on, but not sure using incentives is the best way to go.

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So What Happened?

I just wanted to add that I am not expecting A's and B's especially in math/science as that is just not her subject. I do work with her when she needs help with math, but she can preety much handle the rest by herself. Even the subjects she is good in, her grades have fallen. She does not care, and does not like school. The original reason for getting her a phone was if I go back to work f/t, and she may have to walk home from school, or be at an activity afterschool. But she will have to show that she is putting her best effort forward in her school work, or is will just make the issue worse.

More Answers



answers from Chicago on

I just read an article that my son's OT showed me about kids sitting on exercise balls while at school and working on homework. Since they have to focus on sitting properly, it actually increases their brain functioning, and the teachers using them have seen a marked improvement.

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answers from Chicago on

Hello L., I hear you and I kinda somewhat feel your daughter as well. I have a 10 year old daughter that has been going throgh the same issues and especially with Math which is completely normal, They have my daughter doing Algebra! We did'nt do Algebra until I was in the 7th grade, now mind you the tecahers nowadays are also teaching the kid's to solve it in a much different way then what we learned...Needless to say, My daughter went through a period, from 3rd grade to 4th grade, her grades were dropping massively, and I would talk to her about it and she confided in me that she was being bullied and called "stupid" because she would always ask the teacher for help if she did'nt understand something, which I have always taught her that asking for help is ok, but that was having a major impact on her grades, I addressed it to the school board and had it resolved, But what I'm wondering with your daughter is that there maybe something or someone bothering her at school or maybe she need's help while working in the class and is probably to shy to raise her hand to ask? I no and heard of alot of kids that have gone through this and its amazing on how much it impacts the child. This year I did a Math tutor to help her, Math is always a tough subject, but she went from a C to a A-B, so it does help her alot, The tutor I have works at her school, there's still a fee of $20.00 an hour but well worth it...I also had the school test my daughter because the "school" felt she was a "slow" learner, But I no that all the testing's the do and once they figure out what the issue is then they will send that info. to every school she goes to, even College which means they may give her more time and support her in providing more help for her as well.
As for the cell phone thing, the way I look at it is if THEY can pay for it then they can get one, other then that I personally don't think a child should have or need a cell phone, In my case, my children are always with me. And if it was an after school activity there are telephone's in the school office, I went all the way up to high school without a cell phone, I just feel that our children need to be focused on education, not on talking, texting, etc. on a cell phone. My daughter had a friend over the other day and all her friend was doing was texting and yahoo chat on her cell phone, I ended up compinsating the cell phone from her and told her that when her mother comes to pick her then she can have it....I dont no if that was right of me but I dont want my daughter to think something like that is ok, and if a friend is going to come over to "play" then thats what they should be doing. I am thankful that my daughter actually does'nt want a cell phone, but thats now god know's about next year but I stand firm on the fact of not supplying a child with a cell phone.



answers from Dallas on

Katie B. nailed it! Some students aren't strong in certain subjects and will always struggle. Definitely have a place clear and open for her to do her homework, set a certain time out of the day (mine do theirs right when they get home so they have the rest of the day play) and be available whenever she needs your help. I use google a lot on subjects to help my sons, just to clarify for myself, so I can help them. If fact, I found a great tip on working on square roots and it helped my 12 year old tremendously. If she needs a phone b/c of extra curricular activities I would get it for her BUT w/ provisions. Such as, she could only have it when she is at the activity, otherwise you keep it. If she doesn't 'really' need it, then I agree with Katie B., it will only take her focus away from school work. My son struggles with spelling, he just isn't good at it no matter how much he studies. He is also not good at memorizing but he is amazing at stuff he can work through, pick apart or analyze. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Support and encourage her, that is the best strategy you can use!


answers from Milwaukee on

I have struggles throughout school and so did one of my brothers. No matter how hard we tried we were just not good in certain subjects... if she is doing well in most of her other subjects that means she just is not that great in the subjects and will struggle.

With homework have a set time to do it... and when you or hubby can provide her full attention in helping her out if needed (ex; set up the kitchen or dinning room as homework central, you can clean up after supper or make a list of items are are running out of , paying bills, read a book which she does homework. You can easily stop what you are doing and help when she asks).

I was horrible in spelling, practiced every night and struggled (Mon-Thurs) then on Friday when it was spelling test time I did horrible usually got a C minus or D. The teacher said I needed to try harder, well I studied each night WITH my MOM (who is a teacher herself). So sometimes you a person is just not capable of doing better.... BUT that does not mean you stop studying or stop doing the homework, it just means you do your best get help and that is it.

During the summer get booklets/workbooks in all subjects to just keep the study/homework atmosphere up (for me I had a hard time going from free summer to schoolwork, would take me almost the whole school year to get my mind back into it SO my mom started the workbooks and that did help with being able to keep in a schoolwork mindset. We had an hour a day mon-fri where we did the workbooks).

With the phone you can simple say that until you think she is responsible enough both in school and around the house she can get a phone. This means doing the homework and studying in the subjects she struggles with EVERY night (SUN-THURS study/homework, Fri & Sat no homework/study in the evening). It is a good thing to earn the rights to something, it teaches responsibility, respect and good work ethic, but you get to set the limits, rules & goals. I did not get mine till I was in senior in highschool because my parents knew that it would take too much focus off of schoolwork, my youngest brother who always gets A-B's got one sophomore year because he did not need to work as hard to keep focused at school work.



answers from Chicago on

You're in St. Charles, so I'm going to suggest an AMAZING course on how to study and learn. There are only THREE things that keep a person from learning. Once you know what they are you can learn anything.

This course is offered in Elgin, which isn't too far away. Depending on her abilities, she could do the Basic Study Manual or Learning How to Learn. The course is the same, except Learning How To Learn is for younger kids while the Basic Study Manual is for older. I can't even begin to tell you how this has helped so many, including my daughter (which is why I'm telling you about it!)

So many kids never really learn how to study, or recognize what it is they don't understand. In fact, it helps me because now I'm homeschooling and I can recognize the problem right away and correct it. My stepdaughter went from being one grade level behind to being one grade level ahead in reading!

Message me if you want to know more. I don't get any benefit from recommending it, I'm just excited to let other people know it helps!



answers from Phoenix on

Sometimes the problem is not trying harder... sometimes the kids are TRYING so hard, that is is actually having a negative affect on the brain function. The best way you can help her is by helping her to integrate her brain and build her skills that way.
One program I would HIGHLY suggest looking into is bal-a-vis-x.
Another - that will also help her with her math skills is Brainetics. I know it is a ASOTV product, but I have seen some really great results in struggling kids with it. It teaches more than math "tricks", ite helps the brain learn how to process and organize information.
With or without Brainetics - I would most highly suggest Bal-a-vis-x. It is fun, simple, and a little addictive. But it helps in so many areas that she may not even know are a problem for her. I would strongly suggest taking a training in your area with Bill. ( as I didnt really "get" the program by reading the books, or even the video... it was kind of like.. "oh thats nice..." and it went back on the shelf. Once I took a class, soooo many things that I see kids struggling with in class, it all made sense, and I now knew how to help them, with much more than a pep talk on motivation and bribes. (Not saying that those dont sometimes have their place too :-)

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