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What to do about slipping grade?

My son, a freshman in HS is in all honors courses. He also plays baseball and is in jazz band and band (is a class, not extra curricular, except for performances). All of his grades are A's except English which is slipping slowly and is now an 81. I emailed the teacher who said one issue is that he seems to leave class without making sure he is exactly clear on what they discussed in class about the book the are reading at the time, and then gets a lousy quiz grade. English is probably his least favorite subject, but I think he is putting this class last on his list...not sure he cares as much about it as the other classes. I know he can do better, but wonder... if I take his phone away if the grade goes below an 80, perhaps that would help him "focus" and "find more time" to give this class more attention. What do you think? Some days I come home and he's playing a video game and texting his girlfriend, or watching tv and snacking...this is fine with me, but not if I know he's got work to do.

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Asked by Anonymous at 6:14 AM on Oct. 15, 2012 in Teens (13-17)

Answers (7)
  • Personally, knowing he could do better i would have taken the phone away for going below a 90. Once they hit highschool, their grades start factoring in to the gpa they will send to colleges and a C (80) can really pull that down, even if it is weighted. I want my kids to know how important grades are. My 7th grader got an 88 on an English paper a few weeks ago. I told him he was capable of better (he knows it) and told him if I saw another one there would be no video games after school.

    Answer by missanc at 6:29 AM on Oct. 15, 2012

  • Let him know that video games and or/phone are gone until the grade comes up.

    Answer by tessiedawg at 6:50 AM on Oct. 15, 2012

  • I don't take things away unless it's directly related to the subject. It's pointless. It's time to have a talk. Not a yell at, but a talk. Associated punishment and loss with education is not good. Tell him that everything he does from here on out will affect his future, his college choices, his funding for school.
    Phones should not be anywhere near a kid doing homework. Maybe you can take the phone when he's home and expected to do school work. Taking his mode of communication away is unrelated and unproductive.

    Answer by adnilm at 8:07 AM on Oct. 15, 2012

  • Adnilm I generally agree with you, however, sometimes you need to get a child's attention. Limiting access to something they value, that also may be a distraction is hardly pointless.

    Answer by tessiedawg at 9:16 AM on Oct. 15, 2012

  • I would tell him he either gets his grades up or he is out of Baseball. The time he is playing baseball can be used to work on English.


    Answer by QuinnMae at 10:19 AM on Oct. 15, 2012

  • Have you tried helping his study? I help my daughter make note cards - quiz her. Make sure she is eating healthy and getting enough sleep. I would discuss with him what is going on. What it is going to take to get his grades back up and if he seems to just be goofing off take away baseball and phone.

    Answer by booklover545 at 2:28 PM on Oct. 15, 2012

  • I had a talk with him when I got home today. His thoughts are that he is just not very good at finding the "deeper meaning" in the books they are reading, and the quotes he thinks are important (when asked to find them) aren't the ones the teacher thinks are important. He is very good at interpreting many things...charts, graphs, scientific and historical explanations and articles....but not fiction. I asked him to bring the work home so I can see what he's talking about. Maybe next year he will do CP English instead...although then he will be with a different mix of students.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 5:27 PM on Oct. 15, 2012

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