Failing in school - FamilyEducation
Failing in school
09/27/2007 at 09:11 AM

I am so glad I found this website because I too have a child (7 years old) that is failing simply because he is not doing the work at school.  I know he can do the work because we do the exact same work at home.  I have started giving him assignments but timing him and leaving the room just to see if he can stay focused on the work long enough to complete it.  He always finishes before the time is up and the answers are at least 90% correct.  So I know he can do it.  My son is only failing reading.  So I have concluded that once my son leaves his reading group with his teacher, she gives them work assignments to complete on their own but my son just gets distracted and off task.  I think he needs someone that is more firmer that will stay  on to him about completing his work.  I really like the idea of sending the timer to school but I am concerned that the teacher will not strongly inforce using it.  I am so depressed right now because I do not know what to do.  So I really need help with solutions....

Hey windyh,


Welcome to the boards.  I think you need to talk to your son about staying on task and focusing.  It is hard for a teacher to stay on that many students about completing their work.  The students have to learn to finish on their own and use their time wisely.


Have you talked to the teacher about his problems with staying on task and focusing on the work at hand?  Perhaps she will have some ideas on how to get him to do this better on his own or with her help.


Keep us posted.





My son is 8 and is the same way, I meet with his teachers forthnightly and I have made a promise to him that if the reports are good then he can have a gift, also when doing his homework if he rushes it etc I ground him. Not sure how long it will work for but it might be worth a try.


I have talked with his teacher but she didn't really give me ideas I haven't already thought of myself.  I even sent the timer to school for her to place on my son's desk so that he will see the movement of the time which would possibly help keep him focused but the teacher told me she couldn't use it because it ticked and would distract the other students.  But the last four days have been good.  After all this time, the teacher finally stopped letting him go to centers until he finished his work and she says it seems to be working.  I hate my son's grade had to get to an "F" before she came up with that bright idea.  I visit the school often just to make sure he is doing his work.  So I do feel a little better now.  But he is going to have to work extra to get his grade up.  I am hanging in there, I would never give up on my child.  Thanks for your concerns..


Some other considerations that may help would be changing the seating arrangements, maybe someone in his areas is distracting him, there may be sights, sounds smells etc adding to his distraction that is different from the enviroment at home.

He may be bored with what he is reading, what about the opportunity to do something he is interested in if/when he finishes his work with a certain quality?

My son 's reading interests were beyond the grade-level approved books, so while he was reading Tolkien and Heinlien in 5th grade it wasn't on the "approved AR reading list" so he couldn't recieve a grade for it, instead he was suppose to read captain underpants books which he couldn't finish because it did not interest him.


i am a 13 year old so i dont got a child but i was failing @ that age to and my suggustion would be to go to his teacher and ask for extra credit. if she/he says no tell him he has to pay attention in class and take as many notes in class as he can. i know some teachers can tell you about your childs behavior, my teacher waited to the end of the year to call my parents and tell them well your child was failing my class but she pulled it up 


Have you thought about getting your son tested for ADHD  or ADD.  If he able to stay focused one on one and then loses focus on his own he may be suffering from this disability.  He does not have control over his ability to focus.  It is very difficult for a child like this to attend all day in school.  I have a daughter that was like this for three years in school.  I heard from her teachers that she was not trying or unmotivated.  I had a hard time believing this because she is an excellent athlete and showed no signs of distratiblity during her sports activities.  Finally we got a teacher that saw it as an attention problem, not as a motivation problem.  I took her to her primary care physician and after having the teacher fill out a couple of rating forms she was put on a medicine( I am not a big on putting kids on meds).  It has been amazing, my child now can finish her homework in 45 minutes to an hour instead of the 2-4 hours before.  She can now sit and read a chapter book with better comprehension.  I really would emphasis taking your son to his doctor and talk about this.  The other idea is to have your son tested throught the school district to see if there maybe any learning difficulty.  Hope this helps.


I feel your pain. I've got 3 boys (& a girl) and so far the 2 that are school-aged sound like yours. I do not believe in the 'labels'. I think that the teaching these days favors girls. I've tried to request teachers that are more 'old school', more strict, structured in the classroom, very routine, etc. This makes a BIG difference. As my friend said, if my kids want hugs and sweetness, they can get plenty at home. My punishing methods got old and ineffective quickly. Then I tried rewards (stickers, etc.) but that wasn't  immdiate enough to work. You've got to take it day by day. Does he like video games, tv? For each day that he has a good day (you'll have to get your teacher to work with you on this) give him 5 minutes of tv or computer time. If he gets a good report card let him pick a 'big' reward. Be involved in the school. It's sometimes hard for kids to be positive about school especially if they are not doing well. If you are there and involved he will respect it more and want more to do well. And hold on, it doesn't get much easier. I still struggle with mine. I've heard that it gets easier once they hit high school.......


I would try to get the child a fresh start.  Now that he is staying on task more at school, let's not punish him for past bad behavior, let's just go forward from today.  If he needs skills or facts that he missed before, just teach it as he needs it.  Kids can resent things that seem to be busy work.  And if he has an F when he's seven, well, he's got 11 years to improve that.


Teachers have to try a variety of approachies to their student's needs I know you are frustrated but, it isn't fair to say he had to fail before she came up with that bright idea.  School has to be a collabortion between home and teacher. When your child comes home with unfinished classwork and or failing grades, you should immediately contact the teacher by note, phone call, or email. Progress reports are usually on a 4 1/2 week schedule and report cards every 9 weeks. With all of our busy schedules this time can fly by so fast and  BAM you are hit with the REPORT CARD.

    It is much easier to keep one child on task in your home than it  is in a classroom enviroment. And each student has different things that motivate them. Keeping him away from centers or making them do their work during recess can motivate some students. If it helps them, then you know they have the capability to do do the work. But all motivations work for a short time and then they may have to be adjusted.

   Other suggestions are moving his desk away from the group, putting up folders  on his desk to keep him focused on their work. A timer is a wonderful tool but can be distracting. Maybe the teacher can set it on her desk and when it rings check on your child's progress with a postive statement like "that was 5 minutes how are you doing?"

If this problem persist then you may have to consider having them tested for ADD or ADHD. These are problems that your child can not solve on his own. Just like you can not tell a child to "look" harder if they  can not see. You can not tell an ADD or ADHD child to "try" harder if their brains are running to slow or too fAST.

Many students are "bored" in class because they are used to being entertained with toys, video games, TV, sports etc. but they need to know that school is "their responsibility", "their job" and they need to do their best so that they can participate in the extra activities in their lives.




You might try an hour glass rather than a ticking clock.  This works for my daughter (also 7).  Regular communication with the teacher and volunteering in the classroom help make sure the teacher knows that you are an involved, caring parent; and might motivate her to try different approaches with your son.  Is your son's teacher willing to let him complete his work at home?  Maybe he'd be more motivated to complete it at school, if he knew that otherwise it was going to eat into his free time after school.

best wishes.


As a parent, as well as a teacher, with a son who has struggled throughout his schooling I have some advice. Here are a few things to consider:  Is this a new  teacher, without a lot of experience yet?  This could be the reason she is not firm enough with the kids.  She may be having a hard time knowing how strict she should be. If so, let her know that you want her to make sure your child is working and that she can keep him in for recess, if needed, to complete his work.  Not letting him go to centers is also a good idea, but I agree that it took too long for her to institute this policy. (Which is why I think this may be a new teacher.)  If you don't get anywhere with the teacher, talk about your concerns for your child with the principal. 

 Also, is there some reason that your child can focus at home, but not a t school?  He may have a form of ADD, where he can focus for long periods of time if he has a very quiet and non-distracting place to work, but may have too much input or stimulation at school to be able to focus there.  Consider asking the teacher to move him to a spot away from bright posters or windows, and where he is with the quietest students.

It could also be that your son is very social and is enjoying his friends more than the school work.  You might discuss this with him to find out if he is just a normal little boy who is having a little too much fun in the classroom, or if there may be some other reason he is distracted.  Are the other children loud and boistrous?  Is there someone else who is keeping him off-task?

Offer to help out in the classroom, but don't let your son know that you are coming at any particular time.  Then you may be able to slip in and observe his behavior without you knowing he is there.  This could give you a great deal of insight about the interactions in the classroom.

Good luck, and God bless! lisaa


Hi all. I recently signed up for this. I have been struggling with my 7 year old daughter ever since she's started public school she's had difficulties with math and writing/reading. She's been tested for learning disabilities all of which came back 'negative.' I have done everything I could monthly meetings with her teacher, enrolled her in Sylvan Learning center after school, got her tested now she's on a trial medication for ADHD. She has difficulties paying attention as well as retaining and processing information. I wish things were different and that I will find a solution.