A 'D' In science...

VienneJune 20, 2002

We're looking for an appropriate consequence for the 'D' our 6th grader 'earned' in science.

It wasn't a D for poor test results or even poor homework grades, it was for missed assignments (3 labs which were to be done in class, I never saw the note home saying when makeups were so the teacher never got the note back and the labs were never made up) Basically, it was for immaturity and lack of follow through and responsibility. He'd do the work and then forget to turn it in. :O(

He's 11 and in 6th grade.

The school does not offer summer school for science. I've already checked.

Part of me feels it was a 'D' earned by him, his teacher and myself. It takes a village to fail a kid...ya know?

Part of me feels like it's all on him...ultimately it's his responsibility. I do remember what I was doing in 6th grade and I wasn't nearly as weighted down with school responsibility as he is... times sure have changed.

So any suggestions?

He's being very helpful right now. LoL

I've asked the principal and his sci teacher for advice, as well....haven't heard back yet.



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Don't be too hard on yourself. I think we expect our children to be more responsible than they are sometimes. The goal is to have them totally responsible by the time they finish high school, IMO.

My daughter just finished 6th grade & I checked with the teachers regularly to make sure she was turning in her assignments. The ones she didn't turn in were usually easy 100's!

If DD had done that, I would find out what the labs covered & have her do research (on the net, at the library) & write a paper about the topics. I'm talking a couple of pages, not an exhaustive project here.............

Until she finished, I'd restrict her from one activity she enjoys.

Just my suggestion.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2002 at 6:33PM
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that sounds good to me!
i'll keep that plan in mind.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2002 at 6:37PM
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I guess you need to decide what you want:

* to punish him?
* to make sure he learned the material the labs would have covered?
* to prevent similar problems in the future?

some conversations about the problem, what it says about him, how it happened, why you're p.o.'d, what it could mean for his future, etc., are of course in order.

He's lucky, bcs 6th grade is still early enough, but at 8th, it could start to affect things as far reaching as his college and his occupation. The dangers things like this pose in the future should certainly be covered.

Also, perhaps talk about why the note didn't get where it needed to be--was he embarrassed? afraid? disorganized? Is there something you can do to avoid this? if he's embarrassed or afraid, can you have an agreement between you that eliminates that? If he's disorganized, can you help him create routines that avoid it?

If you also feel he needs some punishment, what sorts of things does your family use? and what can give him practice in follow-through? Maybe he get added chores of all the animal care for the summer including arranging vet visits, etc. Or he has the garbage detail. I guess I'd go for added work instead of diminished privileges.

If you want to cover the science stuff, is there a tutoring arrangement you can come up with? That'd be a bit of a punishment (or at least a negative consequence) because he'd have to give up leisure time for that.

Good luck!

(I faced a similar situation; my daughter brought her workbooks home and I discovered there were many, many pages in her general practice workbook that she didn't do in class; she diddled around and ran out of time. I thought about having her do it and decided finally not to; she got MUCH better by the end of the year, so the problem is being worked on; and I know she can do the work, she was on the High Honor Roll for 4 quarters, so there didn't seem to be any point. Also, she's 2nd grade, so I think the punishment aspect would be sort of like rubbing a puppy's nose in the mess; it would just confuse her)

    Bookmark   June 20, 2002 at 6:46PM
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OMG... he is just a kid. Leave him alone!

If he thinks he should be upset then, yeah, do something to help him out. College!... sixth grade has nothing to do with college, nor does junior high, or high school. If he is Harvard material he will go to Harvard (if a Yalie disown him).

How are you doing with your science test mom? Have you had that little heart-to-heart talk about growing up and girls with him yet? Has his father?

Sounds like he hid the school notes from you. He probably didn't see any reason to worry about those assignments... not like you noticed at the time *guilt trip*. Accept that both of you messed up (not such a big deal now huh?).

Ok, I'll quit. Just wanted to take the kids side of things. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. I think you should pick a large novel like Anna Karenina and read it with him this summer. Like it or not he is a little man now and you need to get to know the person he is becoming.

: )



There, even a copy of it online... enjoy.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2002 at 2:39PM
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Micheal, Michael, Michael...:) Though I agree!:) In my opinion children should NOT be "punished" for a bad grade. There's way too much to consider, I doubt that he was srtiving for a "D", right? Maybe science just isn't his cup of tea, maybe he had trouble with the material in class and homework assignments. The teacher could have been a complete BORE, there's too many things to consider when children bring home low grades, the entire picture needs to be looked at. If he is punished for a getting a "D" in science, what exactaly is the message you would be trying to give him? In my opinion punishing a child for not knowing something isn't fair. NOW, if he was simply being lazy and careless there still needs to be a heart to heart conversation between parent and child, to figure out what caused the behavior. Don't punish him though...he truly won't benefit from being punished, and I agree that college is NOT an issue right now, he's 11! Just remember, pushing children to excel in school can backfire BIG TIME!!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2002 at 1:40AM
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Veinne, I agree with you there should be a consequence. A stern talking to could just send the message "if I get another D mom and dad are just gonna talk to me, no big deal." Maybe he didn't strive for a D, but he obviously didn't strive for an A or even a B either. That is the problem, IMO, not what he knows or how interesting the teacher is. He didn't do *his* best, that is clear by the way you describe not handing in assignments or transferring information to home. His responsibilities have nothing to do with anyone else. The natural consequence of not doing his best is earning the D. But I agree with you that there needs to be a clear consequence from home to send the message that D is unacceptable because the lack of effort that went into it is unacceptable. You wouldn't want to wait until it matters to college to send the right message. This may be "rehearsal" for more important grades, but the time to fix problems is now, while they are still small (and dont' cost you a semester's tuition of college).

But, then again, how was the rest of his report card and has he ever had a D before? Maybe the D was enough of a wake up call to him. How does he feel about the D, really disappointed or "whatever?" Do think the grade was enough to make him do things differently next school year?

I'll admit to getting a D once, sophomore year in high school, and I was an A student before that. I was working p/t, involved in band, and doing volunteer work. Nothing my parents could have done would have made me feel worse than I already did. I saw how much that one grade dropped my GPA, and realized on my own that the problem was that I couldnt' handle everything I wanted to do. I didn't like that particular class, especially the teacher, and just my other activities take priority. I think I didn't believe I could get a D, like I thought I was "golden" and it wouldnt' get to that point. That was a tough lesson. It was punishment in itself. So I guess my point is, if you see your son suffering on his own, disappointed in himself, maybe the talk about how to not let it happen again is enough, afterall. It all depends on his perspective of the whole thing.

I like the idea of doing a research paper for you because it makes him set a goal, make a plan, and follow through with it -which is the skill, or lack of, that helped him earn a D. Doing that successfully might boost his confidence, which will go a long way when school starts next year.

Then once the time is served, let it go. Don't harp on it. Thank him for report, or whatever you decide, and tell him what you like about his work. Next school year, remember to praise improved study skills.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2002 at 12:17PM
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I just think that by punishing children for bad grades doesn't send the proper message....especially if they are having trouble understanding the material or the assignments are unclear. I'm not saying that the "D" should be completely ignored, but I think that the reasons need to be examined before further action is taken. Punishment can do more harm than good in some situations, especially in regards to school work.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2002 at 1:06PM
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FlowerGirlDeb, I believe the reason for the D was understood by the parents. "It wasn't a D for poor test results or even poor homework grades, it was for missed assignments...Basically, it was for immaturity and lack of follow through and responsibility." That seems that it isn't trouble understanding the material or that the assignments weren't clear. I suppose there is a remote possiblity that only those three assignments were so incomprehsible that he didn't even try (the others being understandable), but that seems a bit of a stretch. It seems to me, and I think to several other posters, that a more likely explanation is that he "didn't feel like" doing them, and/or "forgot" to make up the missed work.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2002 at 2:57PM
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Why did the child hide the notes? There is much more going on here then a simple "D".

You don't have to buy into the GPA fantasy. It does not equal success in life.

: )

    Bookmark   June 23, 2002 at 11:56AM
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Rewards for future good grades in all subjects would be great. I would be thinking of things which to reward him for future achievements. It would depend on the child of what he/she enjoys.
I would be communicating to my child this before and during school. In order for him to recieve the rewards he will have to earn them by keeping his grades at or above a certain level. What ever you feel he is capable of achieving.
I would use the low grade experience as a learning situation to show the importance of maintaining good grades and how valuable they are to you. It is so important that good learning habits are establish early and built upon as we grow. We never get too old to learn. We never learn too much before we are old. It so vital important of how we use what we learn. If we don't use it we lose it. So we must press on in caring and sharing. Love to learn and learn to love.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2002 at 11:09PM
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