Dd,14 failed english this quarter,what can I do to help her understand how important school is? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 01-07-2013, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dd is in 9th grade,her first year of high school.Last year she made high honors,but the standards at her new school are a lot higher,so I can understand if she's having a hard time.She failed because she handed a lot of important assignments in late,never handed some in,and she never did the summer reading assignment,which counted towards this quarter's grade.Over the summer I bought her the book,made sure she had the papers she needed,and reminded her every day.She just didn't want to do it.The assignments she does do and hand in on time,she gets very good grades.

 

I'm afraid she could lose her spot at the school.It's a small charter school with an excellent reputation,serves the entire state,and it focuses on the arts.She's taking visual arts,she is very talented at drawing and wants to become an animator one day.She was very lucky to get in,admissions are done by lottery and they only had 40 spots,with over 200 applications.The great thing is it's in our city,and close to our house.She loves going to school,gets right out of bed and gets ready every morning.The last 3 years were a struggle,she hated the middle school(her brother started there this year,and he doesn't like it either).Her grades were excellent,but she said it was very boring,so I thought she would like the challenge at this school.

 

She is doing very well in all her other subjects,she's having a little trouble in math,but she's getting it.I want to help her,but I never even finished 9th grade.I have a GED,but that's it.I'm very willing to learn along with her if that's what it takes.I just don't want her to end up like me.I excelled with the school work,but had a very hard time with the social parts and changing classes in junior high,no one helped me,I was in truancy court all the time,all I got was yelled at and hit by my mom,no one even tried to understand.Thankfully things have changed a lot,my ds has a lot of accommodations,classes are closer together and they don't change 7 times a day,it's 4 now,and bullying isn't tolerated like it was back then.If I had help,I probably would've stayed in school and maybe done something with my life,but instead I still struggle with  mental health issues,I'm on disability and I don't work.I've tried to explain this to dd, how I want better for her and ds,and that I will help them in anyway I can,they can always come to me and together we will figure it out,I won't get angry like my mom did.

 

I just want her to understand that it's important to try hard,especially if she wants to be an animator and possibly go to RI School of Design like some of her favorite artists.She's an amazing kid,smart,great sense of humor,caring,she's just wonderful.We are very close,I try to spend lots of time with her,it's hard sometimes with her brother"s special needs,but I always make sure she knows I'm here for her no matter what.I don't want to see her fail when I know she can do it.

 

Thanks for reading and for any advice! :)


Student mama to one awesome,talented and unique dd,15 and one amazing, sweet and strong ds,12(born with heart defect Tetralogy of Fallot,also on the autism spectrum),9 cats,and 2 gerbils.
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#2 of 9 Old 01-07-2013, 01:28 PM
 
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I don't have a whole lot of advice to offer as my 9th grade DD is kind of a nerd and gets bummed out when she makes a B, but she does have a handful of friends who sound like your DD - they were in Gifted with her in middle school, and now they're flunking out all of a sudden. I really do think it has to do with A) being bored and not feeling like what's being taught in class is relevant or interesting, and B) they really don't, at this age, care what happens in the future to a degree - it's like tomorrow will never come to them, so do what you want today. Something about the under-developed teen brain that affects judgement, I guess. It breaks my heart to see her friends going through this, and most of them, like your DD, are great artists and only interested in art or theater. I was the same way as a teen, I guess, but watching my parents struggle throughout my childhood made me realize how important finishing high school was. I spent a lot of time doing community service, though, and I saw how terrible it really was for some people and that turned me around a little bit. Is there a soup kitchen or food bank she could help out at? It's hard to see the forest for the trees at 14, but maybe if someone who isn't her parent makes her realize what her life might be like if she doesn't stay in school crosses her path, it could turn things around for her. Is there a mentoring program in your community? She could benefit from that as well. I don't know what it is that makes teens ignore every ounce of advice their parents give, but sometimes it takes someone "on the outside" to make them get it. Good luck, I really hope she can manage to stay at that school and go to RISD someday!

(gender)queer vegetarian artist co-parenting DDs 14 & 11 with DP and TTC  little peanut #3 3rdtri.gif

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#3 of 9 Old 01-07-2013, 08:24 PM
 
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Is there a way to check and see what she has turned in and what is missing? My DD's school has a log in on the website for parents and I can see all that information at a glance.

 

As far as homework, does she have a special time and place for homework? A quiet place to work? Consequences or rewards for getting her work done?

 

Rather than focusing on the big picture (education is important) I'd work on baby steps. Making sure there is time with TV and computers off and really not much to do besides homework. I'd help her make a plan for staying on track. I'd also request a conference with the teacher so the 3 of you can sit down and talk and pinpoint the issues better.

 

One semester is just semester -- lots of kids screw up one class. It's a new semester and a fresh start. Provide her with the scaffolding to be successful.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#4 of 9 Old 01-08-2013, 08:25 AM
 
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Does she know how to study and prioritize her time effectively?  Can she pace out long term assignments so she doesn't scramble to get them done at the last minute?  Does she have a sense of time?  My 3rd dd didn't know how to any of that when she was in 9th grade.  It took failing and repeating the grade and another year to mature to get it.  She was 14 the first time around (birthday was 3 weeks after school started) and 15 the second time in 9th grade.  My son is just now learning how to do these things and he is in 9th grade (14.5 when school started; he will be 15 next month).  Not only does he not have a sense of time, he never learned to study as elementary school was very easy for him and he didn't have to study.  Also learning to do assignments that he has no interest in a subject that holds little to no interest to him is a challenge for my son that he is slowly learning how to overcome.
 


Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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#5 of 9 Old 01-10-2013, 12:20 PM
 
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I highly recommend a book called 'Bright Minds, Poor Grades'.  It made a big difference for our family.  It helps you to help your child take ownership of the problem. 

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#6 of 9 Old 01-10-2013, 01:49 PM
 
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If this is the first time, I'd see if this is lesson enough. It's not unusual for 9th graders to lose it a bit... which is why many colleges don't count 9th grade on transcripts. If she's been used to putting in little effort for "A's" in middle school, she may have just needed the lesson of an "F" this first quarter. If it becomes a pattern, then you might consider looking into different schooling situations.

 

Not all challenges are created equal. Many high schools with "excellent reputations" pile on ridiculous amounts of unnecessary busy work. Bright and high achieving students can burn-out and rebel against work that is simply not necessary. This happened to my DD 15 in 9th and 10th grade. She was in an arts school.... really lovely social environment, best she'd ever had and for awhile, that was enough. However, it was the worst academic fit imaginable. Long story short, DD's grades started dropping due to missing assignments (A's on tests and the work turned in but enough "0's" to pull her totals down.) I could hardly blame her. The work was either below her level or so much repetition than I wanted to scream myself (and these were AP/honors classes.) We transferred her last fall into a program that allows her to take her classes at the community college for duel credit and she's back to straight "A's" in much more challenging courses (which assign no busy work at all! Just work that actually benefits her.) Major turn around.

 

So, my advice... give her some room to turn it around herself. If it doesn't happen and you do all the regular things without success, maybe start looking at other schooling options. 


Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#7 of 9 Old 01-10-2013, 08:50 PM
 
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Sometimes they need that lesson. My daughter failed a class in her second semester of 9th grade (block scheduling). It really shook her, and helped her apply herself from that point onwards.
 

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#8 of 9 Old 01-20-2013, 10:36 AM
 
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I have not posted for years.   My mothering is over, though I will always be a mother.  This thread has drawn me and I expect my response will not be popular, but it comes from experience with very 'different' children - one diligent and one distracted.  The latter went on to graduate as a designer (which you say is your child's current thought for the future), and she graduated college with honors.  It has been my observation that children, at 14 years old, can't fathom the long term consequences of getting poor grades.  As a parent, I saw it as my job to protect the future until the child was mature enough to start planning for their own in a meaningful way.  So, here's my advice - keep on top of your child, check that assignments are getting done on time.  Offer rewards (which they easily understand) for effort and offer rewards for results, and do it understanding that is how the adult world will treat your child when she's older.   My distracted child was the stepdaughter I raised.  Until the age of 11, she was raised by a mother who was very willing to let her child fall on her face, repeatedly, and her self-confidence was in the toilet as a result.  When I met her, this sweet girl thought little of her potential (while she had once, I understood, said she wanted to be a veterinarian, by the time I met her, the aspiration was to work at a vet's office, as the receptionist).  She had no understanding on how to get the things she said she wanted and hadn't been encouraged to explore 'what else'.  I worked very hard with her to open possibilities, to let her explore interests and develop talents - let her find who she was, what she was good at, and what she wanted.  But, along the way, there was no tolerance for less than excellent efforts at school.  I drew a hard line there.  I was dogged that she was not cut out of possibilities as she approached adulthood, that she was not shut-out of a dream because her child/adolescent/teen mind shut doors without appreciation for the consequences of poor performance at school.  Now, understand, when I refer to excellent efforts at school, I am not implying that every child's best efforts will result in stellar grades.  Best is best, as they say.  As it turned out, in the case of my stepdaughter, teaching her to focus and providing incentives markedly improved her grades.  But, she struggled in school.  And, I struggled with her.  She had attention problems and a learning disability that had been allowed to dominate her academic performance and degrade her social interactions (her ADHD had social consequences too).  Over time, she learned to compensate for, and surmount, what worked against her.   It was not easy, for either of us.   I was hard work to turn things around.  Thankfully, it sounds like your daughter's current problem is not long lived, that it's not a young life allowed to flounder, just a step off the path.  Your work should be easier.  My best suggestion is to keep her life full of challenge and successes - not just in school - and, be tough about the academics until she starts working at it for herself and her own satisfaction.  At some point, it will 'click'.  My dear girl, at the age of 15, voiced that she might like to experience drawing and design.  (We encouraged her explorations and trying things out.)  So, we found a great design college that had a program for high school students and signed her up.  The program was very inexpensive and we didn't hesitate.  She 'found' herself there.  That is when it clicked for her.  She knew what it would take to get admitted for college.  Fast forward - she's now a successful designer and a happy young woman.  She's fearless.  It's hard, now, to think of how lacking confidence she was when I first met her.  I hope this helps.  If you want to ask specific questions, you are welcome to send me a personal message.  I'm revising this post because I just did a quick search to see if RISD had a similar program for high school students and it appears they do.  Take a look:  http://www.risd.com/cfm/kids_teens.cfm.  Good luck. 

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#9 of 9 Old 01-20-2013, 10:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Naturalyst View Post

I have not posted for years.   My mothering is over, though I will always be a mother.  This thread has drawn me and I expect my response will not be popular, but it comes from experience with very 'different' children - one diligent and one distracted.  The latter went on to graduate as a designer (which you say is your child's current thought for the future) from college with honors.  Children, at 14 years old, can't fathom the long term consequences of getting poor grades.  As a parent, I saw it as my job to protect the future until the child was mature enough to start planning for their own in a meaningful way.  So, here's my advice - keep on top of your child, check that assignments are getting done on time.  Offer rewards (which they easily understand) for effort and offer rewards for results and do it understanding that is how the adult world will treat your child when she's older.   My distracted child was the stepdaughter I raised.  Until the age of 11, she was raised by a mother who was very willing to let her child fall on her face, repeatedly.  When I met her, she thought little of her potential and had no understanding on how to get the things she wanted.  I worked very hard with her to open possibilities, to let her explore interests and develop talents - let her find who she was, what she was good at, and what she wanted.  But, along the way, there was no tolerance for less than excellent efforts at school.  My goal was to ensure that she had choices as she approached adulthood, that she was not shut-out of a dream because her child/adolescent/teen mind was allowed to shut doors along the way for reason of poor performance at school.  Now, understand, when I refer to excellent efforts at school, I am not implying that every child's best efforts will result in stellar grades.  Best is best, as they say.  As it turned out, in the case of my stepdaughter, teaching her to focus and providing incentives markedly improved her grades.  But, she struggled in school, as she was dealing with ADHD and a learning disability.  Over time, she learned to compensate.  And, along the way, I worked very hard with her.  It was not easy, for either of us.  Her teen life was full of successes and she took satisfaction from those successes. and not all of them involved school.  As I said, I provided opportunities to explore and she had fun in doing so.  By the age of 15, we found a great design college that had a program for high school students.  Design was one of those things (after dancing and photography and other things) that she said she wanted to try.  So, we signed her up.  The program was very inexpensive and we didn't hesitate.  My darling 'found' herself there, and then.  She's now a successful designer and a happy young woman.  She's fearless.  It's hard, now, to think of how lacking confidence she was when I first met her.  I hope this helps.  If you want to ask specific questions, you are welcome to send me a personal message.


I agree. It's your job to make sure she does the assignments. Put up a calendar where both of you can see it, is my suggestion. Put her assignment due dates there, and everyday write what was done to reach them on time. In time, she will be able to do this for herself. Good luck.
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