A child that is failing

hoakie2601February 4, 2008

I will give you a little insite about what is going on here! We have custody of 2 of my husbands grandchildren. They have been with us foir just over 2 months now, we where given gardianship of them. This is why I am posting in the parent forum! We are now they parents of these 2 children.

To give you a little back ground. They have been in many different places, last living with their other grandfather in another state. Which the department of children and family services removed and placed with us.

The 2 children are 10 and 11. The 11 year old is having a hard time in school. And we do not know what to do about it. I am at the end of my rope with his grades. Last report card he was not bring home his homework and telling me it was being done at school. We had a meeting with his teacher and she told him that he needed to work on class work during school hours and homework once he got home.

I have spend the last week and a half each night with him to insure that his homework is completed. Today I get his weekly progress report and he has not turned in any of his class assignments from last week, I assume all homework is being done. He had a total of 3 assigments last week and he has a 0 on each of them.

When we ask him what happened he tells us that they are turned in now and his grade will be better. But our point to him is that they are not being turned in on time, and that once he gets into middle school his teacher will not post unnamed work on the board or will not take last assigments. He will not give us a real reason as to why they where not turned in. All he will tell us is that they are turned in now.

We feel that he should get some sort of punishment for this, but we do not know what that might be. He knows that I am not happy about this, he has been going around the house today. Keeping a low key. I feel that he needs to be held accountable for his grades in some way.

This is causing alot of conflict in our house. He does not want to repeat the 5th grade because he wil be in the same grade as his little sister, if this happens. I am ready to pull him from public school and put him into a private school that will offer more. At the same time I hate to move him again so soon. He is just getting to know a few people in his class. This is a child that has been moved around alot in his short life. I believe moving him will cause more damage.

What do I do. We already go to weekly counseling to help them out, but nothing seems to be working. I am at wits end with this. I am the one that has to take care of all of this, his grandfather works evening and they are both home with me. My husband is actually only there step grandfather his last marriage that ended in the passing of his wife. So until they came to live with us, I had only met these kids 2 other times. So I am the bad person in there eyes, because I am the one that spends so much time with them and has to handle all issues with them.

Thanks for reading and helping me out here!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Gee poor kids, I would imagine it will take a while for things to settle down, and for them to feel happy and safe and secure.

First of all I would encourage him to do the work. Say to him "how can I help you". Perhaps you can find out what work he has due, and when, and keep track of it. I do this with my son and he is 15 !

I think when children are stumbling with school work, or anything else in their lives, we should lend a hand.

Punishment just makes things worse, especially for this boy, who has suffered enough.

Just my tuppence worth.

All the best.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 3:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, it is a very difficult situation from many standpoints.

And I hate to say this, but there are child experts who say that if a child is 5 or older when rescued from a bad situation, it's already too late. Sadly, I've known several families for whom that seemed to be the case. Children were put in wholesome, loving, caring, stable families (on one case at age 4 and 5, in another, the little girl was abou 7)--and it made no difference. They ended up reverting to the very unstable, immoral lifestyles that their birth parents practiced.

However, you have to do something, and you need to believe that maybe your family will be the exception to that 'rule'.

First, your grandson needs to be evaluated to see if he has any diagnosible educational problems. If, by any chance, his mother was using alcohol or drugs when she was pregnant, he almost surely has some learning disabilities. And, of course, even without those poisons, he could have some problems.

Second--you need to sit down with the teacher. See if she's willing to do this. At the end of the day, gs needs to show his teacher his assignment book, she will initial if (and only if) he's got all his assignments listed. When he comes home, you can go through the list with him, checking off each as it's done--if he's completed the work at school, he needs to bring it home with him in his homework folder, so you can see it's complete. Then, next morning, when teacher collects the homework, ask that she sign the assignment book. I'm a former teacher--it's not unusual for that kind of procedure to be implemented in the case of a student who's not turning in their homework on a consistent basis.

Tools: be sure he has the right tools. An easy to use backpack. An assignment book (not too small, they tend to get lost in the desk or bottom of the back pack). A folder for his homework--with pockets for different subjects.

Private school? I'd hold off on changing schools too quickly. This child needs stability, needs to learn that no matter where he is, he needs to fulfill his responsibilities (changing schools won't help with that). And, I don't know where you live, nor what the school situation is, but around here, public schools pay far more than private ones, and actually offer a much better education, and far far better services for the child who has learning problems. If your area of the country is like mine, public school is the best place. Now, that's not always true in every area--in some places the public schools are terrible. But if you do decide to change schools, you need to make sure the school you choose is set up to help a child who is having difficulties in class. You're going to need good professional educators and counselors, if you're to have any chance of helping here.

Getting the school/homework situation sorted out is imperative. However, a few suggestions. You may need to step out of the box here. Different children learn differently--some learn best when they 'listen' to material, some need to read it for it to sink in, some learn the most when they rewrite the info--and there are dozens of other helps that work for some children. You need to start working with him to find out which kind of learner he is. Beyond that, you need to get this child EXCITED about learning. Investigate what he's being taught at school, and find ways to make the subjects more interesting. Just a few of the things we did when dd was young: We'd play games in the car, and when standing in line--things like 20 questions or 'who am I', or math games. We always gave dd her own maps when we were travelling--that she could mark out our route on. We visited places--both local and on vacation--that added to the subjects she was learning in school. Historicial, natural, scientific places of interest were both fun and education for us all. I'd further suggest that you help this child find his passion in life. Once you know what subject he LOVES, you can use it to teach him about other subjects by tying them in.

One excellant teaching tool is cooking. Most kids love it, and you can use it to teach/reinforce--math, science, social studies, writing skills, art. Cooking reinforces following instructions in order to achieve a desired result. It teaches sharing and responsibility and creativity. You can subtly tie almost all subjects into cooking--but if you're smart, the kids won't even realize they're learning. It will 'feel' like just a fun activity they're sharing with Grandma. You could even dangle a carrot in front of them, by encouraging them to enter the county fair or other recipe contests (there are some for kids that offer savings bonds for their college expenses, or sometimes, free tuition at a good culinary school)

Most importantly, you need to keep focused, stay calm, and hang in there. A few months really isn't enough for this child to turn around. For one thing, he's still thinking that you're going to abandon him as everyone else has. He's afraid to let you too close. Part of why he's being irresponsible in school may be that he's testing you--he's giving you an excuse to ditch him, and himself an easy excuse if you do. Keep telling him how much you love him, no matter what. It will take time, but eventually, he'll learn that he doesn't have to try to push you away.

But always keep in mind that children have a very hard time letting go of their early experiences. The 4 year old I mentioned above is now 18. She's lived with people who meet her needs, and many of her wants, for the past 14+ years, and she's STILL a hoarder. When she was little, she overate and hoarded food in her room--fearing it might not be there when she needed it. Now, she tends to hoard stuff--she tries to get her hands on all kinds of things, even if she has no use for them. It's just something that she can't get past, because when she was little, she was homeless, and eating garbage.

You're going to need to practice all the patience and understanding you can dredge up. Best of luck to you all. The kids are very lucky to have finally found someone who cares enough to go the extra yard for them.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 10:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Azzalea was pretty thorough, so I don't want to add much. Just to say that if this is not new behavior for him, he has to learn from scratch what is expected of school performance. If no one cared before, this whole concept of someone caring if his work is done is new to him and will take time to sink in. Some of the work might be hard if he is behind. Plus, with all his home life changes, school is probably not the biggest thing on his mind right now. That will take time, too.

My 5th grader uses an agenda like Azzalea is describing, but it is school-wide. The teacher initials it and the parent initials it daily. It works so well for the kids that when DS moved on to high school he bought his own agenda from the school store to continue using it (only now I don't have to sign it anymore LOL). All my kids' teachers use webpages now which describes the week's lessons. Also, our school district uses an internet based system that allows parents to check a student's grades at anytime. All grades are posted as soon as the teacher enters them, classwork, homework and tests. I am actually sent an email alert if a failing grade is entered (or no grade b/c an assignment is not turned it). I can keep daily tabs on their grades. I can access the entire list of graded work for each subject and know if something is missing and how he did on yesterday's test. I love it. Unfortunately, I think many parents in our district just do not use it. All I had to do was register on-line. It will send alerts to multiple emails, so DH gets the alerts at work, too. Ask if your school has a parent information system like that. It has come in handy so many times. Instead of finding out at report card time that a couple assignments were not turned it, I know they day they were supposed to be turned in and can ask DS about it immediately. My own DS had a problem with doing assignments, but stuffing them in desk, folder, backpack, Who knows? And not turning them in!

I wish it would send an alert when an A is entered, it would remind us to praise good work. That should always be remembered.

I think you also need a contract with this child. It can specify grade expectations, time to do homework, whatever conditions need to be met. He should plan with you what he needs to do and what reward/consequence will be if he meets/doesn't meet his end of the deal. The middle school here writes a contract with students when behavior or academics become a problem, the contract is initialed every day by all teachers, parent and student. It really seems to work, maybe b/c it reminds students more concretely what their expectations are.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 11:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Our school has those webpages too, and I think they're wonderful. I can check on progress anytime, and they have special logins for the students to check their own progress as well.

Another thing our school district does is have something called student-led conferences. It's like a parent-teacher conference, but the student goes in with you and shows their work and discusses what they feel their strengths and weaknesses are. It takes the mystery for the child out of what the parent and teacher are talking about in there and helps give the student a sense of responsibility for their own education.

Even if your school district doesn't have conferences like that, perhaps you could request one of the teacher. Maybe it would help your grandson feel like he had some control over the situation and that his opinions are valued and that he truly is cared about, as opposed to being shuffled around and having no control over or say in his life at all.

I don't really have much experience with situations like this, but I'm sure you're open to any suggestions at this point, and I hope things look up for you all.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 12:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My DD is in 2nd grade and all the students have a planner provided by the school. Throughout the day, they record what they did in each subject (math, SS, English, etc...) and use a highlighter on an item if it is homework.

Not knowing what assignments he has is really very easy to solve. Tell his teacher he needs some kind of planner so that you are aware EVERY NIGHT what needs to be done.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 11:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

He has a planner. All that get written in it is his homework. I talked to his theropist and he said that I needed to talk to the teacher, before we do anything else. I get a note back from the teacher telling me that she will be grading papers this week and his new progress report will reflect the recently graded papers.

Prior to class work not getting done we had a problem with homework. That seems to be getting better now. Everything was going good with homework and last night he forgot a book he needed to complete his homeowrk. This was our problem before. He left the books he needed at school 2 or 3 days in a row. So he grounded him for the evening. No TV, video games or playing football. This seemed to help, he did not like that at all. He told me that he would rather I spanked him and got it over with rather than nor being able to do anything at all.

We have many good ands but about as many bad ones! I left my job to care for them. To make sure I could ge tthem to all appointments that they needed. We have behavorial case manager and home case managers here all the time. As well as they attend counseling weekly as well as have mentors to help them out. We have a full load!

I talked to him last night about school work and the imporance of it. I told him that with the grades he has now, he will not be able to play football. Which is something that he wants to do very badly. So maybe I got through to him! We will see come Friday! Thank goodness his teacher does weekly progress reports so I can keep up with his work and grades. I dont have to kind out 1/2 way through the grading period and than try to help him make it up!

Thanks for listening!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 10:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am a teacher and work with kids in that age group. I have worked with kids who were in similar situations as your grandson. A few things that have worked with kids like him are:

1. family has come in and I have given them an extra set of textbooks to keep at home, just in case student "forgets" their copy at school

2. I initial assignments written down in assignment book daily...if the student did not write something down I remind them to do so before I sign it....then the family initials it each night after the assignments are completed

3. I have set up rewards at school for turning in homework on time, things like being the teacher helper for the day (passes out papers, writes on the board, etc.), earning computer time (15 minutes at the end of the day to play games on classroom computer), 15 minutes with a friend to play one of our classroom games, and things like that

4. Families have also set up rewards at home for completing homework

The biggest suggestion I have is reinforce the positive behaviors instead of punishing the negative. I have seen much better results for reinforcing positive!

Some things I do at home with my own kids as rewards are:

-they get to chose a game that I play with just them
-they get to pick dinner one night
-they get to help cook dinner
-they get to pick a treat we can bake together
-extra video game playing time
-we watch a movie they like together (on cable or a dvd we have)
And good luck!!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 11:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Make sure he knows that your home is the last stop and that he will be living there until he becomes a man or goes off to college. If he feels that your home is just a short stop in his struggling life he may wonder what is the use if he is going to move some where else in a year or two. Once he is secure and his mind is settled in the fact that this is where he will be for a very very long time. He will probably do better. Keep the lines of communication open, ask him why he doesnt like homework etc. Dwell on the positives not the negatives, if he forgets a book so what praise him for what he did remember to bring home. He can catch up with his homework over the weekend. Build up his self esteem all that you can and make sure that he knows how much you love him. Give him lots of hugs he probably needs them

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 8:02PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Those Annoying Chistmas Brag Letters!!! ugh..
Does anybody get those annoying Christmas letters EVERY...
My 21 year old daughter
My daughter has her first boyfriend at 21. Now she...
Normal Behaviour?
I'll keep this short... is it normal that 10 year olds...
Need iOS app for my kids.
I bought an iPad for my kids. Please guys suggest me...
My Fledgling
Hello everyone. I've never posted in this section before,...
Joseph Corlett, LLC
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™