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[JAN. 31, 2007]
Q: My son has
always done fine in school. This year, in sixth grade, everything
has fallen apart. He is nearly failing in every subject. He has two
different teachers -- one for math and science, one for everything
else. He says he doesn't like either of them. I think he may fail
sixth grade. What can I do?
A: Your son needs to know
that school is his job. He may not like his teachers, but he still
has to do the work. In a workplace, many of us have to work with
people we don't like. Sometimes we have a boss we don't like. We
have to do the work anyway.
Help your son think through the situation. Encourage him to talk
with his teachers about the problems he's having. Have him:
Schedule a time
to meet to find out exactly what he needs to do before the
end of the year.
Make a list of
all the problem areas. Is he missing assignments? Has he
failed some tests?
to be taken. Can he get help after school? Can he work with
a peer tutor? Is he able to retake a test?
Discuss with your child what he and the teachers decided. If your
son and teachers can't resolve the problem, ask for a
parent-teacher-student conference. Ask questions to help clarify the
problem. Ask the teachers what you can do to support them.
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Work with your son to set up consequences. If adults don't work,
they lose their jobs. What will happen to him if he doesn't do his
work? Will he have to go to summer school? Set up a list of the
things that will happen if he doesn't do his work. Then let him make
his choice and live with the consequences.
Your son has a big responsibility. Don't make excuses for him.
Being committed to solving this problem will teach him to be a
responsible and independent problem-solver.
For more information about helping
children learn, go to
http://www.parent-institute.com. To submit your own question,
use the form at
howitworks.php. All questions will receive
a prompt answer by e-mail.
Copyright 2006, The Parent Institute
from The Parent