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My son is almost 13 (7th grade). This has been the first year he has had to really buckle down and put in decent effort toward his schoolwork to get good grades. He has always been an A student. Not this year, mostly A's but not all. He is the oldest, pretty self motivated to do well, very smart and above average in math. He has been getting B's and C's in a couple subjects occasionally which is not like him. I have found that he does worse when he is overscheduled with outside school activites. I have to watch that, when sports practices start, like now he is doing track. He needs about an hour a night to do homework but he needs his down time too every night or he gets overwhelmed.
Cari, I really struggle with how hard to push him since I know he is smart and capable of all A's but how much pressure is too much. He lost his father 2 years ago and I don't want him going through high school completely over stressed. He has enough with his home situation. He does not like to ask for help when he doesn't understand something (math) and refuses help from me with his homework. I find positive reinforcement when he does well is better than a lot of negative when he does not.
Wish I could offer some advice this is just a tough age!
'Tis the age, Cari. Welcome to the teen years. I have nine kids. I homeschooled the oldest 6 through high school and I ran into the same issue with the boys that were homeschooled and the teenager still at home who's been in regular school the past 4 years.
This one, I tied his xBox use to his grades. Drop below a B in anything and he loses his xBox until he brings his grades up. I get weekly progress reports which makes things easier. I know some people might think I'm being a little demanding. But, I know there's an A student in there, he just doesn't want to do his homework, he wants to stay up late (even though classes begin at 7:45 a.m.), doesn't bother to write down his assignments, leaves big projects for the last minute (and then of course can't figure out why his grade was less than stellar)...
Then I have an 11 yr old boy and an 8 yr old girl at home. They are incredible perfectionists. My daughter is motivated to get everything right because she wants perfect papers. The 11 yr old doesn't care about the perfect papers, he just can't stand the idea of a bad grade.
With the guys who were homeschooled....it was just tough. At some point, they realize that a lot of their schooling is important and they shape up and get the work done. That happens sometime in high school. My teen in school....he can't understand why I keep fussing at him. Most of his friends are failing multiple classes so what's the big deal about a C or even a D. GOOD GRIEF, CHILD! ARE YOU REALLY MINE? I don't really say that but that's what I'm thinking!
Just keep the dialog going....that grades are going to start mattering soon. College applications, scholarsips.... Start talking to him about what he'd like to do when he's an adult and how education factors in. I had one son...and a daughter, come to think of it...that felt like if they knew the material, that's what was important, they didn't have to prove it to anyone by displaying decent grades. Hard work convincing them that no one is going to take their word for it that they are capable of college level work. They'd have to back up their claim with hard evidence. Geez.
Hang in there, Cari.
Demanding? naw. If he's capable of it, you have a right to expect it!
I did not allow video games. Or tv. nice, huh? it's really paid off! Even now, as young men out on their own, my sons do not have the interest in these devices. They did grow up re-building computers out of spare parts and one is a software engineer.
The structured schedule that sports provided helped keep my boys focused. Just shows every kid is different:)
Good advice here for you, Cari. My additions would be 1) sleep is so important - even though they don't want to. I'd encourage no electronics in his room except the radio. It gives you more veto power! 2) in addition to what Jodie said...Color coding sometimes works wonders. Get paper or highlighters or an accordian folder and have a color for every separate thing. It might help him organize and stay on task.
Mine is finishing his Jr. year now. One more. St. Scholastica, St. John Bosco, pray for us!
i dread bringing this issue up.... i am a bad mom - there, i said it!
i have a 13 y/o son and he is not the best student. i have always done well in school, with very little effort. it has been a blessing and a curse. my son watched me barely study and get good grades.
sooooo, he thinks he can do the same and uses this as ammo against me. i am not a super motivated gal (unless it's a passion of mine and why isn't my son's schoolwork a passion of mine?????), so i'm having trouble staying on top of this issue. he says he has trouble concentrating in class --- i struggled with that and his father did too. i am adverse to medicating people, especially children, for behaviours. he is happy, social, laid back, goes to Mass w/me every sunday w/out any complaints, he's a good kid <--- which i think makes it harder for me to be really tough w/him, schoolwork is his only issue.
sound advice welcome, tried & true preferred.
(you don't even need to have kids, maybe you struggled yourself, just remember 13 y/o boy.)
thanks all, i appreciate the thoughts.