Repeat 8Th Grade or Summer School

Updated on May 19, 2016
F.S. asks from Adams, TN
19 answers

My daughter is very close to failing 3 subjects at the end of this school year. If she fails only two, she can take summer school ($150 per class) in order to move on to 9th grade. She has been recently diagnosed with ADHD and will have counseling and medication to help her. She does not turn in her assignments timely (if at all),is afraid to ask for help from her teachers if she doesn't understand something. I am afraid for her to move on to high school if she is not ready for such a big responsibility. Should we let her take summer school and move on or let her repeat. I am torn between her being traumatized by repeating (her brother will be in 8th grade next year also) or letting her ''squeak by" and be in the same boat in 9th grade....not to mention that I kind of feel like we are bailing her out by letting her go to summer school when she didn't do her part during the school year. What do you think?

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So What Happened?

Well,Everyone,we fought the good fight together. She had to take math in summer school. We found friends who tutored her and helped her through. She worked her tail off and made it to ninth grade.
Thanks for the advice.

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answers from Santa Fe on

I would definitely do summer school. You are not bailing her out at all...summer school is work. I think having her repeat a grade will bring up all kinds of challenges. Next year in 9th grade she will be on her ADHD medication and the counselor will be giving her good tools to keep organized and on top of things.

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answers from Jacksonville on

If she has ADHD you aren't bailing her out. She didn't CHOOSE to not do her part, she physically CAN'T. I don't know whether you should hold her back or not, but she wasn't slacking by choice.

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answers from Portland on

Wow. I'm not sure I agree with the whole idea that summer school is 'bailing her out'.
What is the other option? Failing her for the year?

If it were me, I'd have an agreement; summer school with the caveat that she has to show progress and goals every day of school. She has to be accountable to you for her homework: show you what it is, what needs to be done, that she's completed it.

Kids with ADHD diagnoses this late in the game already have a negative self-image of their role as a learner/student. I have seen this in my own family. One of my nephews is now 18 and has more school required to graduate. He was not diagnosed until the age of 15 and then, along with some medical intervention (Straterra) he still had to re-learn HOW to manage the experience of being at school.

My own son is identified at ADHD-inattentive. He is nine. We have decided to homeschool in part because the teachers didn't seem to be able to support him in his need for better organizational skills as well as his need for individual help to track his progress in assignments during school time. (I was on top of homework but regularly saw that he wasn't getting the school-time work completed.) While I am not suggesting that homeschool is your ultimate answer, what I am saying is that even at 9, he already had a negative view of himself as a learner. I can't even imagine how your daughter is feeling about this.

I also want to say, that in homeschooling, I'm seeing firsthand how hard my son struggles to stay attentive. That in itself is something to consider with grace in our hearts toward our children. It's not that they don't 'try' hard enough, it's that this isn't something one can just 'will' away just because. It takes a lot of therapies and practice to help break through the sheer challenge of learning when one has a learning challenge like this. She's probably developed bad habits of avoidance. She needs to have some help from you. A weekly time scheduled with the teacher for her to go over the assignments to make sure she knows what she's doing or can ask for clarity/ask questions. You will need to step forward and do some facilitation of this for now. She'll get better at it and feel better when she has positive experiences with asking for help. Right now, she needs your help. So again, instead of penalizing her for 'not trying' in eighth grade, go forward trying to give her tools. If you don't know *how* to support her, I suggest educating yourself. My husband and I have taken a workshop led by a good child psychologist on working/guiding kids with ADHD. It blew my mind how much of what we consider 'good' parenting flies in the face of what some kids really need.

Also, just turn the situation around. If you were in your daughter's shoes-- recently diagnosed with a learning challenge and struggling in school-- would it be better for your own self as a whole to repeat a grade and be embarrassed or have someone give you a few months and a lot of support to correct some poor grades and develop new skills? To me, this would be a no-brainer for a compassionate parent. To expect her to manage this on her own at the moment would be expecting *her* to bail YOU out of your parenting responsibilities.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

If she is struggling with attention issues, she needs your help. If she can take summer school and make up the credits this will be a chance for you to develop a family plan to support her. Create a system of checking in with her, her teachers, her assignments, hire a tutor, role play asking for help with the teachers. Ninth grade can be an opportunity for growth and as parents you can support her every step of the way before she gets behind and starts failing. Be proactive with her teachers in the fall, let them know she is newly diagnosed and working on systems to succeed. I know as a teacher, I really appreciate early parent contact so I can support my students as much as possible. Please don't fall into the trap that she is a young adult so she needs less parenting. I find that many of my students in this age group need more parenting and support than ever before. Best wishes to you in this journey.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

My daughter does not have ADHD but she has multiple medical issues, plus anxiety and depression disorders. They have been diagnosed over a period of about 10 years, starting when she was about 12.

It can be a relief to know why you feel this way, why this happens, why you struggle with this and that.

But the conversation has to be honest and phrased in a helpful way. She's not flawed, she has a diagnosed learning and processing difference. Now you can say something like "just like someone who has recently been diagnosed with diabetes needs to learn new things (new ways of eating, how to test blood sugar levels, what to do in case the numbers are very high or low, etc), you've been diagnosed with ADHD. That means that you will also have to learn new ways of dealing with school. We're going to help you get the tools you need to succeed (planners and calendars, a 504 plan, more communication with her and her teachers, learning how - through role playing - to ask for help from her teachers (it can be a written note, or an email, or requesting in person, whatever she's most comfortable with). And summer school will be the perfect time to practice these new skills."

Don't let her squeak by. Speak to her doctor and/or counselor about how to equip her with the skills she'll need. Speak to the school about a 504 plan. A 504 plan helps students who are capable of handling the regular curriculum but who need certain accommodations to succeed. These can be things like: sitting closer to the teacher when the child has a hearing impairment, having any hand-outs or written materials in large print when the child has a vision impairment, being allowed to be tardy to class if the child has a mobility issue or heart problem that requires slower movement in the hallways, being allowed to leave the classroom for snacks or drinks if the child is diabetic, being allowed to leave for the nurse's station if the child experiences panic attacks, etc. The 504 plan can include such things as developing a way for the child and teacher to communicate (through a private email or in a weekly conference), reducing the child's workload (only do half the problems, for example) or being given extended deadlines on assignments. An IEP plan is for students who cannot intellectually process the same curriculum as their peers and who need a specialized curriculum - very simple math, life skills, social skills, etc. Getting a 504 plan for your daughter might allow her to do better in all aspects of high school.

But, you also need to help her understand that ADHD isn't an excuse, or a reason to slack off. "Nope, I didn't do any of my homework. I have ADHD, remember?" That won't fly. She must be on board, and sometimes it takes a third party, a counselor, to help hold her accountable. My daughter had a 504 plan, and we, as her parents, tried to get her to follow the plan but she responded better to her counselor (both school and her private psychologist) helping her to see that she just couldn't sit back and let everybody else take action. She needed to cooperate and understand that her diagnoses explained some symptoms but they didn't excuse her from responsibilities and expectations.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I'm a junior high school counselor and I'm very familiar with this conundrum at this time of year.

We rarely, very rarely, recommend holding a student back this late in their schooling. It's just not socially or developmentally appropriate at that age. If summer school is an option, take the summer school. That's not bailing her out, that is the reality of the situation. When she gets to HS next year, the game changes. She will be earning credits per class per semester rather than passing from grade to grade each year. If she fails that many classes her freshman year, she will need to do each and every class again to get credit toward her HS diploma. Let her feel the burn now of doing classes she already took ALL over again. That will feel like real academic consequences to her. Being held back and repeating the grade (with her brother!) will just be perceived as punishment and/or a huge knock to her overall abilities.

And yes if you think her ADHD is affecting her ability to learn please contact the school psychologist and ask for an assessment. She might need to receive Special Education services to make it through the rest of the way.

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answers from Boston on

I think you all need to learn more about ADHD, how it has affected her all along, and what needs to be done now. The whole set of expectations and techniques to motivate her have to change - everything her parents have said to her, every excuse she has used, every fear she has had of asking for help, every study technique...they all need to be looked at and reviewed for relevance and applicability.

First of all, a diagnosis this late in the game is devastating. Holding her back at punishment seems cruel and counterproductive. Taking away her peer group is bad enough, but putting her into the same class as her brother will add to the humiliation - as if she could have controlled the ADHD if only she had made an effort.

All her teachers will be informed if her issue. She won't have to go to them for help if you work with the school to develop a plan for how she needs to learn differently and whatever other accommodations she will need. Can some of these things get worked on over the summer? Probably, and they should. Maybe that's in conventional summer school, maybe it isn't. But that should be based on conversations that everyone has together - and she can be in on many of these conferences at her age. But summer school is not "bailing her out" - you still sound like you are new at talking about the ADHD because you refer to her not "doing her part" during the year when perhaps "her part" wasn't designed the right way for someone with her condition. And the $150 per course is a pretty small investment assuming that the course is well designed for someone with her deficiencies to date. If she needed $150 in medications or surgery, you'd pay it without commenting at all. The fact that her ADHD was never evaluated earlier is a problem, but it's not her fault. As another poster says, you talk about new ways of doing things in light of this news. In a way, this diagnosis is liberating but at least you and she know why the prior strategies haven't worked.

So yes, you are going to tie her privileges to her effort, but she's going to need help learning so many new strategies. ADHD is not an excuse for continuing to not perform, but it is a strong signal that performance wasn't possible before. And her rewards are going to be much more short term - no waiting until the end of the marking period to say, "Oh well, you screwed up so you are going to be allowed to ________."

This is a team approach with doctor, parents, teachers, guidance counselors, school psychologist/special needs coordinator, and teen. But it starts with everyone getting educated.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

If she has a recent diagnosis of ADHD, she is very likely going to need some help learning how to cope. It's good to know you have her in counseling. Rather than thinking of summer school as a way to "bail her out," why not think of it as an opportunity for her to learn how to study and how to organize things and to practice her new coping skills so that she is ready for 9th grade.

You could look into a study skills course for her. I would seriously consider summer school and talk to her counselor about a study skills course. I took one when I was in college, and it helped me tremendously!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

I'm afraid the impact would be pretty severe at her age (socially). I'm surprised she was able to manage this far without the meds. It's not their fault they struggle. Very important to get started on these meds now because it takes awhile to fine tune them. I would let her do summer school but she has to understand that without steady improvement and effort, it would be too difficult for her to go to 9th grade. High school expectations really ramp up and she'd need to keep up. This is extra tough on someone this age, so be sure to encourage and reward her more than usual. Now that she has an official diagnosis, be sure to have a 504 in place for this fall!!!!

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answers from Rochester on

Move on. At a staff development training we just saw research that the older kids are when they are retained, the more detrimental it is. If she is newly diagnosed she may qualify for an IEP or a 504 Plan. Talk with her school counselor at both the middle and high school about setting up a 504 Plan that includes someone checking in with her on a daily basis.

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answers from San Antonio on

If she has recently been diagnosed with ADHD, she DID do her part last year in 8th grade to the best of her ability with the way her mind functions. To penalize her and look at it as "bailing her out" when she was doing her best with a brain that was not performing to its full potential makes me wonder if you have done your research on what being ADHD really means.

I know this now had having a child just diagnosed with Inattentive ADD. He is in 5th grade and I have spent 6 years trying to get him to write his name on his papers, turn in his completed homework, bring home important papers from school, and not rush though assignments making silly mistakes because of his rushing. He is really smart and has survived on that alone for six years....making all As and Bs (mostly Bs) rarely a C...and his sister gets most of the papers home so I know what is going on at school.

Now only 6 weeks medicated he has no grade lower than a 97, you can read his handwriting, he does his homework every night AND gets it turned in 90% of the time (up from about 50% of the time). He took his state exams and got advanced placement for the first time when we have known he could score that high for years just assumed he was a poor test taker. What we always thought of as "laziness" and "disobedience" is gone...and he sees the difference as well. He can hear me when I am speaking to him and follow through, same with his teacher at school.

I say send her to summer school with medication and the organizational help of her therapist. See if it doesn't make a huge difference. You will know right away if the failing was due to lack of understanding the material or due to her brain not functioning in a way that allowed her to show her knowledge. I have a feeling that if her medication is correct and the therapist a good one...she will ROCK summer school out of the water.

PLUS it will give you a perfect environment to make sure her meds are working and tweak the dosage or type of medication in a school environment. That is hard to do over the summer.

Please give her the chance to show you what being "typical" in her thought process can do for her learning and ability to be organized. Allow her to start to flourish is school in summer school and build her confidence in herself as a fully functional learner for the first time in her 12/13 year old life.

If she bombs summer school you can always hold her back. But I bet if you have a good set of doctors and she is properly diagnosed you will not believe the difference in her performance. With my son it was like an "on" switch was flipped. She if she hasn't been finally had her brain turned on as well...

Big hugs to you and her!!

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answers from Los Angeles on

If it was me, I'd put her in summer school and give her the chance to earn her way into 9th grade. Holding her back will be hard enough socially, but having her brother come into the same grade will make it so much worse.

Use the summer as a chance to develop new tools and routines so she can be better prepared for 9th grade. Work with counselors to develop the strategies she needs to be successful. Instead of thinking of it as bailing her out, think of it as an opportunity to build new skills while she is under less pressure than in a typical school year.

Now that you have a diagnosis for her, find ways that you can be more helpful to her as well. I know at this age we expect our kids to be independent and complete their work on their own, but now that you know her challenges, maybe you can come up with a system to make sure she's staying on task and completing her assignments on time. If she doesn't have a homework planner, get her one and start using it over the summer. At the beginning of the school year, work with her teachers to make sure they help her write down her assignments correctly, as well as what books/materials she needs to take home to complete them. Then, go over them with her at home and send her off to do them, checking in when she's done to see if everything is finished.

I would not recommend holding her back at this time. You have new tools at your disposal now and can work with her and her teachers to have a successful summer and start ot the new school year.

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answers from Philadelphia on

This is hard to answer without knowing your daughter. What does she say about her grades? Is she upset because she is failing or just upset that she may have to repeat 8th grade. Is she failing directly as a result of her ADHD diagnosis or is she failing because she cares more about her social life than school? Do you think this experience taught her a lesson and she will apply herself in the future or is she unable to apply herself. Does she see herself going to college someday? If college is not in her future, then I might be inclined just to get her through school and do summer school so she at least has a high school diploma. I really would not want to see her drop out at 17 yo. I am thinking she must be fairly functional if she has only gotten a diagnosis this year but my assumption could be incorrect.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I so feel for you. My kids have these exact challenges with school. What does your daughter want to do? Honestly, I would let her decide based on her options at the end of the school year. I don't look at summer school as bailing her out. Just make sure your daughter knows the facts right now. Have a heart-to-heart with her. Better yet, get together a meeting with your daughter and the school guidance counselor. Sometimes kids just think parents are full of idle threats, so a school representative giving her the information will make it more real of her. Schedule a meeting even if your daughter already knows the scoop. She could be in denial and just trying not to think about it. She needs to think about it now. IF she wants to move on to 9th grade with her peers, she needs to make sure she doesn't fail more than 2 classes, AND she will also then go to summer school if she fails 1 or 2. IF she wants to repeat 8th grade, I would let her, and not show her there is anything wrong with that or she will pick up on your anxiety. If she fails more than 2 classes, and that is the school system requirement that she repeat, she will have to repeat.

If she doesn't have a support person at school for help staying organized and on-task, and accountable, ask for one now.

Honestly, the classes are going to be even more demanding in high school. Consider that she could really benefit from an extra year of middle school. Perhaps she can transfer to another school in your district to repeat 8th grade, or enroll in 8th grade next year at a charter school. If social stigma or losing her peer group is so troublesome to her, it will be the biggest natural motivator for her to pass those classes. If she still can't pass, she honestly wouldn't be ready for starting on a traditional high school path next year.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I think that she is at that age where holding her back will have detrimental effects that you may not be able to conceive. She will become an outcast by her friends when she is finally with them again, she will be cut off from everything.

At this age she will be harmed more by holding her back.

If she truly has real issues that are a direct result of the diagnosis then you need to get her on a 504 plan or an IEP. They are responsible for providing assistance for her, to make sure she has a successful educational experience.

This is what I would do, and yes, I am in the process of doing this myself for our grandchild.

The school day is from Xam to Xpm. They have a certain number of classes they must enroll in. Such as math, science of some sort, english/language arts, etc...

I am asking the school to put my grandchild in study hall at least one hour of the day where she will be forced to do her work while in the school building and teachers are available to help. This will force her to ask for help and to work on her assignments.

She isn't lazy but when she doesn't quite get something or she isn't able to figure it out instantly she stops doing it and just sits.

If she's in a study hall situation where she is to be working on a specific class assignment then that teacher who is overseeing it will know exactly what to do.

I don't know if that's feasible or not but with a diagnosis and a plan in place that says she needs time at school to work on assignments I think they would have to do this.

My hope, serious real hope, is that she will go to this hour of the day with a physical list of assignments she needs to do that day. Including pages to read, links to any online materials that she can access, and a basic outline of how to do the work.

Yes, it's like working with a little kid but with her mental health issues right now I think we have to be on board with this. She flat out won't do any school work at home. I can ground her, take away electronics, take away activities, parties, events, friends visits, everything...and she just doesn't care. She will not do any work at home. She hasn't had any teachers until this year that want things done at home. Not any homework.

Nearly every teacher she's had, below middle school, have absolutely not wanted the kids to do work at home. Parents often screw up how the teacher wants things taught or they don't have the ability to do that level of work. I mean really, how may of us can do math the way they want anymore? I know math teachers that get their books and stuff at the beginning of the school year and they go through them and can't figure out how the authors got from A to B in the problems.

So we're battling with similar issues.

There is no way in heck I'd let the school retain a child this old. It will be extremely detrimental to her emotionally and socially. The Department of Education states that nearly 40% of retained kids do NOT finish high school. Seriously? That many kids that were held back just dropped out at some point> when they turned 18? or just whenever they felt like it? No way I'm taking a chance.

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answers from Chicago on

If it's cause she isn't grasping the concepts then hold her back, if it's cause of poor work ethic then do summer school.


answers from Boston on

Move on. Having the label will allow for special classes.
If she were in grade 6, I would be okay with repeating. Otherwise, it is too socially embarrassing for her to be left behind AND with younger brother, too---unless she is okay with repeating then yes, move her on.


answers from Houston on

I won't comment on your decision to hold her back or not. However, I have taken both high school and college summer courses. The classes barely scratch the surface of the subject matter. There is simply less time to cover what is typically covered in several months. To put it mildly these courses gloss over what really needs to be taught and learned. Be prepared for her to behind in these subjects and supplement with tutoring and ongoing subject support as needed. The courses I took which were building blocks to other classes were particularly painful as my subject short comings quickly became apparent in the next level course. It can feel like you are learning both the old and the new material at once. Good luck.


answers from Washington DC on

My brother had ADHD and he didn't ever try to not do his part, he wasn't able to do his part because of the imbalance of chemicals. My mom fought like crazy for him to have the accommodations he needed in school to be successful...and my parents both stayed on top of him to make sure he did what he needed to do.

8th grade seems really late to get a diagnosis like this. Has she been struggling for years and you all just didn't get her evaluated?

You need to get her on an IEP and let her move to the 9th grade. Get her a tutor for the summer who can help with her summer classes.

You aren't failing her by letting her do the summer classes and move on to 9th grade. You will fail her if you don't advocate for her and get her an IEP going forward.

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