What letter grades do you punish for?

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Registered: 09-30-2011
What letter grades do you punish for?
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Wed, 03-27-2013 - 1:39pm

My oldest came home with mostly C's on his most recent report card. In the past, we've only punished for D's and F's but I'm really starting to think I shouldn't be letting him settle for C's. It's not as if he is studying for hours each night and still getting C's, the C's are mostly from him only putting the least amount of effort required for each assignment and test. He just doesn't seem to care/value school and good grades that much and I'm starting to lose hope that he'll ever care. He's in 7th grade right now and things are only going to get tougher, you know?

What report card grades do you guys punish for?

Lisa 

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Avatar for cmlisab
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Registered: 09-30-2011
Thu, 05-09-2013 - 12:13pm

<< He and his gaming buddies all play this on Friday nights (each in his own house, of course, because why socialize in the same room when you can just use technology?)>>

Hahaha! Again, this sounds JUST like my son. He and his friends chat via a skype call while they play.

Lisa 


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Registered: 05-27-1998
Thu, 05-09-2013 - 7:39am

My son loves Minecraft, but his latest obsession is League of Legends. He and his gaming buddies all play this on Friday nights (each in his own house, of course, because why socialize in the same room when you can just use technology?). They actually set up a League booth at the school's culture fair, which was supposed to be representing different ethnicities and cultural traditions. But hey, I guess "geek" is an ethnicity, right?

Avatar for cmlisab
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Registered: 09-30-2011
Mon, 04-22-2013 - 9:08am

Ashmama- your son sounds JUST like mine!!! Does he play Minecraft? That is my son's latest gaming obsession. Smile

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Registered: 05-27-1998
Sat, 04-20-2013 - 12:55pm

Lisa, I think a lot of kids, especially boys, are really sensitive to the type of teacher they have. My son is the same way. If he doesn't like the teacher (or thinks the teacher doesn't like him), he just won't try very hard in that class. DD's boyfriend is the same way. He doesn't like their English teacher (who is know to be a very caring person, but a really tough grader), so he slacks off in that class, then complains about his grades.

We don't punish for bad grades, but we do tell DS that he can't get on the computer/x-box/smartphone until his homework for the day is done and legible to disinterested parties, such as his parents. (This prevents him from just scrawling any old answer just to get us off his back.)

We don't usually take away media altogether because gaming is an area where he feels really competent, and he doesn't have too many of those! He's not an athlete and is socially awkward, so gaming is really his main outlet for stress relief.

Avatar for cmlisab
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Registered: 09-30-2011
Fri, 04-05-2013 - 5:41pm

<<Lisda, Just to let you know therare 2 of us turtles here, Turtleemom, me and Turtletime.  You lumped us into one in your responses which is not big deal, but we are two different people.>>

Ugh, SO sorry- it IS a big deal, I can't believe I did that! When I was replying, I was thinking "oh, turtleemom replied twice"...that's what I get for not looking at the screen names closely enough! EmbarassedEmbarassedEmbarassed

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Registered: 07-25-2007
Thu, 04-04-2013 - 6:30pm

Lisa, Just to let you know there are 2 of us turtles here, Turtleemom, me, and Turtletime.  You lumped us into one in your responses which is not big deal, but we are two different people.

For study skills my son (also 12, 7th grade) had to be taught how to search for important information in his readings, how to notetake and how to quiz himself.  There is an art to knowing what will be on tests and what to study and what, while interesting, is just extra info in the eyes of a teacher.  I buy the books he uses, so he highlights text and uses sticky tabs.  It works better for him than notetaking for most of his classes. For his online class, he does need to take written notes since there is no book. 

He's much better at it now than he was at the beginning of the year.  I sat with him through some of the online lectures and pointed out things that should be written down and slowly removed myself.   Same with the text.  I read the lessons too and we went over what he thought should be highlighted beforehand and helped steer him in the right direction.  He needed me involved guiding for about 2-4  weeks depending on the class, but by the end I was more looking over than actively helping.  He's not a kid to whom organization comes easily. He often gets caught up on the minute details rather than the larger picture.  Investing that time helped him develop the necessary skills to do it on his own.  

Avatar for turtletime
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Registered: 05-13-1998
Wed, 04-03-2013 - 4:11pm

In response to question on homework routine... For DD (16, junior) we never had to do anything about schooling until it all fell apart 10th grade. Her grades were always high. She did her work anytime and anywhere she felt like it. We didn't micro-manage at all. In fact, we rarely even saw her work. When the grades dropped, I started requiring she do her work directly after school in a public area until it was done. She couldn't be trusted alone in her room or around any phone or lap top and even SHE recognized this. When we switched schools and she was healthier emotionally (and tech stopped being a pull) and the grades came back up, we went back to letting her do her work sprawled out on the bedroom floor whenever she felt like doing it. 

My DS (12, 7th grade) chooses to do his work directly after school in the same chair with a lapdesk. When his grades are high and steady, I try to give him his space but I do keep an eye on the online grades (they come in my email box every Friday.) DS has some organizational struggles and while his intentions are always good, if his routine is broken by a vacation, an afterschool activity, it can take him weeks to get back on track and there will always be several missing assignments during that time. So, I'm more hands on with him though I really do try not to breath over him.

Avatar for mahopac
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Registered: 07-24-1997
Wed, 04-03-2013 - 3:42pm

I guess he just thinks that college acceptance is a "long ways off" so he doesn't need to care about it yet. I just worry that he'll never start caring.

We had a conference with DS's teachers last week.  His math teacher was particularly concerned that he won't be able to take 9th-grade algebra next year (he's in an accelerated math program now that does 7th & 8th grade math in one year).  His science teacher was particularly concerned about him feeling left out by not being selected for advanced science class next year.  I told them I care about NOW, not then.  We need to find a way to get him to do better because he CAN, not because he might fall off the fast track - he's so far off the rails right now, who cares about the fast track when he's not even on the slow one?!  They all understood that the goal is to salvage this year, not worry about future events.

As a mom of a college junior and a HS senior, I can tell you that thinking about college in any tangible sense is usually a looooong way off in middle school.  20yo DS was counting the days to graduation starting around 4th grade, but that didn't translate into any concrete action - he was still failing to turn in homework assignments in 10th grade.  18yo DD was considerably better but she too lost focus in 10th grade, which is quite a dangerous year IMO - 9th grade is exciting because you're in a new school, but by 10th grade the novelty has worn yet college still seems far away.  She still got all As, but we could see that she was unfocused, and she was at the time pooh-poohing the idea of pursuing music (which she didn't get really seriously competitive about until 11th grade - she was coasting along on talent before that). 

Since you have such a long way to go to college, I'd suggest you focus now on helping your son see that teachers work hard to teach him, and it's his job to learn.  This isn't always something that parents can convey - in our case, a well-timed remark from DS's psychologist gave him a big ol' kick in the pants - but if you can't do it, find someone else - a counselor, guidance counselor, tutor, or some authority figure - who can.  Grades aren't nearly as important as effort.  If a C was the best DS could do, I'd be happy with it.  Since I know he's capable of A work, and his recent testing proved that he's got high school & college level math & reading skills, he's got no more excuses.  He needs to put in effort because LIFE involves effort.  No one is exempt.  A good work ethic will take you much further than talent.

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Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 04-03-2013 - 2:45pm

My kids never really got bad grades but I'm thinking that you might be thinking the same thing but I would not "punish" someone for a bad grade--I think it's too late waiting for a report card.  If you know your son is unmotivatead and lazy then you really have to keep on him every night until he gets in the habit of being responsible for doing homework.  First I'd make sure that his bad grades are really from laziness.  I'd think that if he was getting D's & F's (not sure if you were referring to him or other kids) before 7th grade, I would really wonder if he had a learning disability.  I'd say for most kids, grades up through 6th grade shouldn't be so hard that they are failing--are you sure there's not an underlying problem there?  Do you ask him questions to make sure that he understands the concepts and can explain them to you?  Is he having a problem only in one subject or many?  Have you talked to the teacher & counselor?  If it is in fact just not doing the work, then I would just make consistent rules--limit TV & computer time, make sure he is doing all his HW and you are checking it, keep in contact w/ the teacher, etc.

Avatar for cmlisab
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Registered: 09-30-2011
Wed, 04-03-2013 - 2:26pm

Wow, you guys hit the nail on the head in so many ways that I'm not even sure where to start with my replies! Here goes:

Arryl-  I have definitely noticed that the particular teacher seems to affect how he does in a given subject. Last year, he did really well in Math and Science because he LOVED the teacher and only did so-so in English because he didn't like his English teacher as much as the Math/Science one. This year, he's doing really well in English because he LOVES the teacher but is struggling in Math because he doesn't like the teacher. It's been eye-opening to see how much a teacher and their particular style of teaching can influence how a student does, depending on how well each of them "click" with the teacher. Hmm...maybe I'll start a whole new discussion about that!

Lam42- punishing for an overall average instead of specific grades is a good idea! I admit that I probably nag too much :(

Turtleemom- Yep, the school has a way for us to check grades online. Both DH and I are slowly getting better about this instead of going the easy route of denial (not checking often enough). What kind of homework/studying routine do your kids have? I also REALLY liked what you said about remembering that a "C" is average. He somehow managed to pull off getting mostly C's (plus one A and one B) on this report card but I think that's mostly due to kind teachers letting him turn in missed assignments late. 

Mahopac- We also have issues with DS lying about what he really has for homework. I try to check the teacher's webpage to verify the assignments but they are not always in sync. We also hear a lot of "I finished that in class" excuse, ugh. I am struggling with how to get him  self-motivated since it doesn't seem like he cares that much about school. What he DOES care about is playing on the computer with his friends so that's the first thing that gets taken away when his schoolwork/homework starts going downhill. I guess he just thinks that college acceptance is a "long ways off" so he doesn't need to care about it yet. I just worry that he'll never start caring.

Melissamc- Yep, totally agree that it depends on whether they are putting forth an effort or not. I *almost* wish that my son's grades were due to him struggling- at least I'd know he was still putting in an effort. Undecided

Lisa 

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