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How can I get my 6th grader more motivated to do well in school?

My 12 year old daughter has always been an A-B student and behaves very well in school. However, this year is her 1st year in middle school and she is doing TERRIBLE! Her grades have gone downhill. She does not act depressed, just wants to "get by" in school I guess. She is very forgetful. She forgets to turn in assignments, forgets to bring her band instrument home, won't meet her AR reading goal, and so on. I have tried punishing her, talking with teachers, alone and with her present. She does better for a while, but pretty soon I have a teacher calling me about something! There are no behavior issues at school-they tell me she is perfectly behaved, never disruptive, I guess just careless and forgetful?? Any advice?

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Asked by hw1977 at 2:55 PM on Jan. 6, 2009 in Tweens (9-12)

Level 6 (141 Credits)
Answers (4)
  • All 4 of my older ones did the same thing, they did it entering junior high and high school, everytime I was told that this is pretty normal and seen quite a bit, that kids are trying to find where they fit in in a new enviroment. Having heard that and learned that it is pretty tru I did take some measure to help them out and to let them know that I "meant" buisness. I helped organize them, out here we have A days and B days four classes, 2 hours long each. We had A day folders and B day folders ( can be done with a more traditional school also). One big notebook and then smaller books (spiral) with pockets, and just like in elem we had a keep side and a hand in side.
    Also our schools give out agendas were they must put what need to be done for that day and when, these are great at keeping parents informed. Conti...


    Answer by luckysevenwow at 4:09 PM on Jan. 6, 2009

  • Last but not least was removing privilages, I explained to them that school is thier job and if they don't do thier job right, they can't afford to have/keep the extras, no different then if thier dad quit going to work, if that happened where would the money come from, so they were to consider thier grades like they were paydays, and if they did thier job right they would be rewarded well and get to keep thier stuff. That made a good impact, and really helped them to relate it to real life.
    Good luck....

    Answer by luckysevenwow at 4:12 PM on Jan. 6, 2009

  • The first thing I'd do is take her to her pediatrician for a checkup to make sure there are no underlying health issues such as a hormone imbalance, diabetes, etc.  Help her organize her school stuff.  Organizing is the 1st step to completing homework, studying for a test, remembering what to bring from school to home and from home to school.  Help her keep her backpack, binder, and other schoolwork neat and organized.  Then, do your homework.  Check on her homework, help when you can, and communicate to her that homework is her most important activity after school.  I can't say enough about organization.  This same syndrome can hit at high school and college, too.  There are many good books on the market that cover this.  I'd suggest reading any of Tom Zirpoli's stuff, but one that's pretty cheap is "Cures for Parental Wimp Syndrome."  He has practical advice that covers this.


    Answer by cylicious at 11:02 AM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • Money. Money motivates kids. It's true. tell her grades are worth dollars, you'll see her work harder. Tell her every paper brought home with an A is worth whatever you deem fit, and make report cards payoff big for great grades.

    If not money, maybe a special outing doing something she enjoys. And remember, it's hard being a twelve year old girl. Her body is going through physical and mental changes, her school scene is different, her social skills are changing as well as her society, and she's probably a bit overwhelmed and lost. This is enough to cause anyone to become forgetful and sedintary.
    She needs to breathe and she may be feeling abit suffocated and overwhelmed by it all.

    Answer by kimitzoe at 4:36 PM on Jan. 7, 2009

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