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My 6th grader is not doing well in school!

My 6th grade boy is doing badly in school. Well in English. He has a 61 in Reading and 69 in Language. He doesn't like his teacher (not an excuse) and says she doesn't like him. If she doesn't like him it's probably because he's not completing his homework assignments. He has two B's and an A in his other classes. He's a very good kid but doesn't get really excited about things so when I attempt to punish him by taking things away or not letting him leave the house he really doesn't get too upset. Does anyone have any ideas for me? I would appreciate anything at this point. He has longer hair and LOVES it. I've thought of cutting it as punishment but I'm not sure if I should. Help!

 
newjerzymom

Asked by newjerzymom at 4:36 PM on Oct. 13, 2009 in Tweens (9-12)

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Answers (8)
  • Don't panic, sometimes a student and a teacher won't click and there is a personality conflict. It does happen, teachers do not always like all of their students either. If he's doing fine in all of his other classes and his grades in the same subject were fine last year, I would just teach him to endure the situation. No, he probably isn't going to go that "extra" mile for someone he doesn't care for and I wouldn't fight it. If it were my child, as long as it was a passing grade even if it was a D, I wouldn't worry about it. Honestly the last school district we were in the school sent out advisories if the child was getting a "D". Well their percentage for a "D" and what I considered a "D" were two different things. A 70% was a D. To me, that was just fine. That meant that my son understood 70% if the material. Your son may only be showing 69% but may know 90%. Evaluate what he knows, not what the "mark" is. (Cont.)
    Lesli

    Answer by Lesli at 6:58 PM on Oct. 14, 2009

  • Do NOT cut his hair! That is so shaming and scaring! If he has a baldness gene and loses it later in life he will hate you for cutting his hair. My SO still to this day tells people about when his father cut his hair to punish him. It's a horror story the way he tells it. DO NOT cut his hair.

    Punishment does NOT make kids good in school. Reward however works some. He needs to understand why it benefits him to get better. When I start a new term, I give all of my students a sheet to fill out. Why are you in my class? What are you best at in English class? What do you want to improve this term? if you learn this course material, how will it impact your life? If you fail this course, how will it impact your life?

    Then when the students start slacking, I pull out the "contract" sheets and ask them to explain why they aren't with the program.
    ecodani

    Answer by ecodani at 4:44 PM on Oct. 13, 2009

  • I have no advice except to say I wouldn't touch his hair. He will end up hating you. My son also struggled in school. Good luck!!
    mompam

    Answer by mompam at 4:45 PM on Oct. 13, 2009

  • Punishing kids never teaches good behavior. Punishing does not work. Let me repeat, punishing does not work.

    Punishing may stop bad behavior but it's usually not very good at that. What ends up happening is the child doesn't care or the child resents you. When you use punishment you are using athoritarian parenting style, not a desirable parenting style.

    Authoritative parenting style is known to be the most effective form of parenting. Google it and read more about it.

    The book How to Talk So Kids Will Listen may be of help. Some public libraries have the How to Talk So Kids Will Listen tape workshop series you can checkout.

    He is doing good in his other classes and is a good kid. Let him own his 'own' English class problems. Let him deal with the homework and the teacher. See what happens.
    Gailll

    Answer by Gailll at 4:46 PM on Oct. 13, 2009

  • If he's doing poorly in English, he needs to be reading. Find some books on his level. He needs to read books that he can understand and enjoy the story. The school should be able to help you find level appropriate materials. Also, visit the library.

    He needs structured study time. Set aside a time for him to get his work done in a place where he won't be disturbed by phones, TV, radio, etc. Maybe the public library. He can use a study desk there. First has to do his homework, then he has to do the reading supplement. No negotiation.

    After completing a week of the set study schedule, do something nice for him. Let him know it's for showing commitment to improving.
    ecodani

    Answer by ecodani at 4:49 PM on Oct. 13, 2009

  • The thing that I have found to help all my children was giving them a goal to reach. Something they really want. We have small goals and big ones. Also I went on the internet and found Love and Logic and it has really helped us. God help you and your family.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:25 PM on Oct. 14, 2009

  • Can he stay after school and get tutored by his teachers .once or twice a week. For the two classes that he's not doing good in. or hire a tutor for him at home. But it will cost money. or even you and your husband both can try helping him out. gl
    incarnita

    Answer by incarnita at 5:21 PM on Oct. 14, 2009

  • I almost failed Ohio Studies in 7th grade because I hated the state of Ohio. (We had just moved here from Pennsylvania). So, my resentment came out as passive resistance to the class. I wasn't involved and didn't care. It didn't keep me out of college. My history grades were A's.

    Same thing with 8th grade reading. Loved the teacher, and I am a voracious reader, but for everything we read we had to keep a journal. I hate journaling. So I didn't do mine. My teacher knew I was reading and knew how I felt about it and just dealt with it. He told my parents that if I would do my journals my grades would be higher, but he knew I was reading and he knew I loved it. So he did take that into account.

    Bottom line is: It is more important to have a happy well adjusted child that is a productive citizen of society than have straight A's and be a sociopath.
    Lesli

    Answer by Lesli at 7:04 PM on Oct. 14, 2009

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