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Teen son failing Math/Geometry Do you CM's punish or get tutor/take things away-Your thoughts please

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Hey Cafe Mom's,

I'm trying to do this the best way I know how so my son can get his studies together for Math and start passing. He does borderline with the homework but when it comes to quizzes and tests  he fails them or gets a low grade. The teacher has already recommended tutoring and he has been going off and on and I can't seem to get them to tell me if he was really there but of course he tells me he was or tells me that there isn't tutoring certain days blah blah blah. I just checked the school's website and learned he failed his Geometry midterm and now the whole subject for the current marking period with a 61. He never fails anything and is a B & A student! 

There is regualr tutoring in the school but I think I am going to get a paid tutor as well for the weekends. He loves his xbox and facebook/instagram (ya'll know the teens!) I was wondering would it be effective if I pull that stuff away or limit his time on them and hire a tutor and give him a chance to turn this around??

Any ladies with tween/teen kids that have dealt with this before and what were things that worked for you and your child?

Many thanks!


by on Jan. 28, 2013 at 7:49 PM
Replies (21-30):
by on Jan. 30, 2013 at 1:14 AM

 depending on the reasons for failing, i would start with a tutor

if he is not trying at all, then yes take away his games till his grades are up, if its just lack of understanding, taking his game away would be mean, but limiting time on it would give him more time to study

if he is all out refusing to do anything in class/homework - everything gets locked down and taken away till he changes his attitude/grades

by on Jan. 30, 2013 at 1:22 AM
1 mom liked this

Quoting Missy5326:

My son just got a 65 on his theology and history mid term. He is supposed to visit his godmother during april vacation. Deal was your grades are on you. I pay a hell of a lot in tuition so with those grades he wont be going any where and ha has to explained to his godmother who paid for his plane ticket. He is pissed. Im not paying for you to screw around, keep it up and im pulling his butt out of that school and i will take a vacation next year with his tuition money.

It's annoying to be paying tuition for a kid who's not buckling down and studying, but putting a kid like that in public school is, IMO, a big mistake. Private school has smaller class sizes, better help, and he's surrounded by kids who are all headed for college and who's parents monitor activity and care about grades. Private tuition is cheap compared to the headaches of a kid who goes off the rails in public school, falls in with the very large crowd of not headed for college, not well monitored, new public school friends, and has much less well disciplined classes and hallways. Paying now to give your kid the best mileau to stay roughly on track and get launched off to college is worth a ton of nights at the Holiday Inn on a beach somewhere.

by on Jan. 30, 2013 at 9:06 AM


You are NOT alone! :) My 12 yo is in 7th grade and was doing the same thing - fine on everything but quizzes and tests.  It drives us nuts!  He's an A/B student and normally does great in math.  I know he's not crazy about his teacher, but she really isn't that bad.  His big thing is not taking notes in class and not fixing problems that are incorrect on his homework.  Drives me batty!!!!

I used to be a HS teacher (English), but am on disability now.  But, I remember a lot from my education college classes! (Unfortunately for him)  We've finally had him bring his homework home EVERY night whether it's done or not.  We look over it and see if he has the concepts.  Sometimes it's fine and sometimes I swear he's creating a new type of math!  We try to help him (although I think this should be the teacher's job) and sometimes it works.  Sometimes he doesn't want any help and we're teaching him that this is fine, but then he's responsible for whatever grade he gets on the quizzes and tests. He took one yesterday and I'm afraid to see what the score is! We can go online and see his scores like you can.  He woud never let us look at the tests unless we demanded it and I hate to be that way!

XBox is the ENEMY to  homework! What we've finally done is give him about 30-45 min. of "free time" (usually xbox) when he gets home.  After that, the tv goes off and homework starts.  I also check his assignment notebook b/c he wasn't writing in that either.  I really don't check other homework if his grades look decent, just math.  Tutors are ok, but you have to be careful who you pick.  It goes two ways though and if your son doesn't want to listen, it's a waste of both of their time.  There are a lot of things on the internet with practice things and creative teachers' websites.  Does his teacher offer to help him before school or anything?

If you decide to take something away, find the most valuable thing for him and take it away if things don't improve.  An Xbox is a privilege, not a right in our house.  I finally made a "no screens" rule if I take the xbox b/c there's always TV, computer, phone, etc.  If you make the "threat" you HAVE to follow through no matter what happens.  He'll be mad, but he'll get over it.  Tell him he can have it back after (a certain time, grade, etc). If you don't follow through, he won't take it seriously and keep doing what he's doing.

I wish you a lot of luck with this.  It's not easy being a mom to a teen boy, is it?  I'm hoping what we're doing with my son now will carry over to HS when he gets there.  Fingers Crossed!!!

Take care,

Viki butterfly

by Bronze Member on Jan. 30, 2013 at 9:12 AM

Don't ground until you get a tutor and see if his grades improve.  We got a tutor for my daughter in Algebra for last year and for geometry this year.  My daughter loves her tutor.  She says the tutor is a better teacher than her teachers.  

by on Jan. 30, 2013 at 9:26 AM

From what I remember Geometry was a different from all other forms of math.  It involves logic and deductive reasoning for part of it.  I knew many people who did very well in all other forms of math that struggled with Geometry.  I would say get him a tutor and have him go to the school tutoring.  If he is truely trying and not getting it I don't see how grounding him will make him understand it any better.  Now if it's he isn't doing the work then grounding him is good.

by on Jan. 31, 2013 at 2:48 AM
I made a deal with my daughter(she is13 and in 7th grade her weakness is also math) she loves cupcakes so I promised her a dozen mini cupcakes if she made a 75 or above. She will get a dozen again when she makes an 85 or above.. She currently has a 77
What is son crazy about? Make him a deal. Also get in contact with his teacher and ask for her email and keep in contact with her that way. Tell her he will be in tutoring on whatever day and if he's not there ask her to email you...does the school have morning and after school tutoring...if so ask him does he want morning or afternoon tutoring.. Then email the teacher _____ will be at tutoring in am or pm. Please email and let me know if he shows and if he isn't paying attention or if he's doing his work. That way it isn't a she said he said match have the proof and he will eventually learn that you and the teacher have his best interest at heart.
If he chooses not to go to either have the tutor come during the weekend and tutor him.
He shouldn't be allowed to text or contact his friends on that day till he participates actively with the tutor. And if he doesn't go to school tutoring no x box that evening ( with my daughter it was her personal iPad....she didn't go to am or pm tutoring she lost her iPad for the night ...)
I wish you and your son the best of luck
Btw it wasn't my daughter goofing off she really didn't understand the way the math was taught.
by on Jan. 31, 2013 at 2:54 AM
Ok I don't have teens but have you asked him why he is failing? Once I got into algebra 1 I was failing because I wouldn't show my work, then I started showing my work and it wasn't how they wanted it done. I would write it out the teacher would make me verbally explain it to her I got the correct numbers all the way through the equations but I didn't do it the way they taught it. This lasted all the way through every math class after that in high school. I was lucky to get a c in math.
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by on Jan. 31, 2013 at 10:27 AM

 If he is an A or B student what is the problem he doesn't have to be an A student in everything.

by Susie on Jan. 31, 2013 at 10:37 AM

IF he is not trying, yep, I ground him.  Is he not trying or not doing work?  IF he is having issues I would get a tutor.  Find out which one it is. 

by on Jan. 31, 2013 at 10:53 AM
1 mom liked this

Putting in my 2 cents, for what it's worth:
It's a combination of both-it's all about what works for each kid too.
We have consequences for failing out of sheer laziness: Not turning in homework, not doing the class work, not participating. We have one child who did this CONSTANTLY. The minute varsity sports would end and he didn't have to meet the school's eligibility requirements he'd go from honor roll to failing in about a week.
We have help for someone who is failing by struggling, but doing the work and studying. There are also rewards for acheiving goals for that child. This is our daughter who has some learning disabilities. The help is almost secondary to the reward program. She sets goals and then utilizes the tutorinig and extra help to get to them for whatever the reward may be. We've been taught with her that it's more about teaching her to use the tools available to her in order to get things done.

Then we have the third which is a combination of both. He's the one that I am not entirely sure what to do with most days. He's TICKED OFF at us right now because he's not using the tutoring provided by the school to improve anything. He is weak in math, but CAN do it if he has some extra help-and he uses it. So, he's got it all going on. Rewards for improvement, consequences for inactivity on his part and tutoring. So far this semester he's mad because he isn't getting rewarded, but hasn't done anything about it. He goes to tutoring and does nothing to improve the grade or meet the goals and it's showing. This week will be his frist actual consequence as well as no rewards for the inactivity this semester and he is LIVID with us. Maybe next week will be a little different. We just keep repeating that he is the one who has all of the power here. He  doesn't have to be perfect, but just show effort to get there.
Not sure it's sinking in yet, but we'll see when he doesn't get to go to the tournament, or his friend's house or to skating how he feels about tutoring next week!
If that doesn't work we will have to think hard about something different that may work for him.

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