Hi. I'm not sure where else to post this. My 17 year old son typically fails 2 out of 3 classes per quarter. He has never done well in school so this is nothing new. When he was younger I tried everything to get him to study, do homework, etc., but nothing seemed to work.
He was diagnosed ADHD when he was in grade school and we had him on different medications, but nothing worked and in fact seemed to make things worse (he was so tired most of the time he could barely stay awake). I haven't had him on anything for about 4 years.
I'm just at my wits end as to what to do. He is of normal intelligence and has no learning disabilities that we're aware of. In every other way he's a normal teenager, has friends and a girlfriend, doesn't really cause me any trouble other than this one thing.
Where do I start? Should he see a counselor? A tutor? Family doctor?
He's failing because he either has no interest or because he's being an idiot.
If it's that first one, I'm guessing he's artistic and finds no interest in many of the subjects. Look, you get four classes a semester, eight classes a year. Grade nine through ten gives you three to four electives (depending on the type of high school). Not much to work with, and most kids don't know what they want to do until their seniors. In other words, the classes you have to take suck and nobody likes it. Science, math, French -- blah, icky for most kids.
Once you become a senior most of your classes are electives. He'll do better as a senior if this is the case.
If he's being an idiot he's purposely failing classes. Maybe he thinks it makes him look cool -- trust me, there's nothing cool about 18 year olds taking grade 9 classes. I honestly don't know why they do this. Maybe they fear what's next after school.
If you go to class and do the work, every kid should be able to easily score an 80% in a class. And that's really not saying much. Anyone can get that without applying themselves. But it's hard when you have to take **** classes (the first two junior years, in other words).
Is your son doing any better since you posted this?
I know this was posted some months ago, but I thought I'd contribute anyway. Hope you don't mind.
I don't know if this is what's going on with your son or not, but I was like that in high school too. I never actually failed, but I almost always just barely passed. Honestly, I think the reason I passed was because the teachers thought there was something wrong with me and didn't want to hold me back. My problem was entirely lack of motivation and/or lack of interest. I didn't see the stuff I was learning as important and I didn't see school as important. I got into a college that didn't have very high requirements, and I currently have a 3.5 average and plan to graduate in December. The difference is simply that I see college as being important.
Also, some kids fail because they're afraid not to. What I mean is, they're afraid of how they will feel if they get their hopes up and try to pass, and then fail, so they just let themselves fail to avoid this. I might be wrong, but I think this happens more with kids whose problems with failing started when they were younger.
I don't know your son, and I'm not a doctor, but if you still want advice it makes sense to me to have him see a counselor in case he has motivation or confidence issues. Also, if he does have a learning disability, a counselor may be able to help get to the bottom of it.
I am sorry to hear that your son does not seem to be doing well in school right now. I also wanted to offer an apology for the 1st person that replied to you, calling your son an idiot was extremely harsh, inappropriate, and should not have been said.
Does your son's school have a school psychologist? You state that he is of normal intelligence, has he been tested to determine that? Also, if he has and seems to just lack motivation or there is an underlying factor that has yet to be determined, the school psychologist should be trying different ways to get your son interested in his classes or offering additional help to him to encourage and/or help him with his school work.
I am currently obtaining my masters in school psychology and the field is moving toward RTI (response to intervention) and away from the whole ability vs. achievement testing. The idea now is to help children before they are failing instead of waiting for them to fail. Your case I know is a bit different, because your son is failing; however, they should still be offering him additional help in some form in order to help him achieve passing grades.
I hope everything works out for you and your son! Good luck and I am sure he is a good kid, maybe like the last person posted, he just lacks motivation and needs help to get him motivated.
I'm not sure the original poster is still reading here, but I wanted to respond. Your description of your son sounds exactly like my daughter. I've spent thousands on tutors and meds., nothing was working. She was failing so badly, the school district decided to put her in an alternative school last December. I was upset about this because the school seemed like it was where the trouble kids and pregnant teens go. She is a completely different student now. The class sizes are much smaller, she is more one on one with the teachers. Her school doesn't grade, they just focus on getting the required credits to graduate. She is excelling leap and bounds, and is on the school honor-roll now. I think the large classes were distracting to her (ADHD), and she felt embarrassed to ask the teacher questions in front of everybody. The school has a very cut and dried organized system, the kids get a packet of required work on Monday, and everything is due on Friday. This is so much easier for her to understand, she used to have such a hard time with organizing all her projects in different classes with different due dates. She has stopped feeling like she's not smart. She now for the first time thinks that college may be an option for her. I recommend this type of school for any child with ADHD.
hello! i failed alot at school. nothing seemed to bother me.. i would daydream in class... not sit down and do my homework..my teachers thought i was lazy. i really wanted to work hard but just couldnt and i was failing miserably.. i managed to scrape average grades.. tried college for a year, didnt work for me I did try so hard to concentrate but couldnt most of the time.. everything was always handed in late because i generally forgot. i have always been an artistic person and very musical (a good violinist) when someone gave me something practical and fun to do i would usually put my heart and soul into it i would sit there and get so involved in it.
now i am in a job I LOVE.. i realised that i learn differently to other people.. sitting there and listeng to people in lessons sent me to daydream, i had to be engaged and be DOING things making things and seeing things. My job is wonderful, everyday i have new challenges and i make displays and merchandise things in a shop.. i am told i have wonderful communication skills and i learn things every day and FAST!
i suppose i just wanted to say we all learn in different ways and i think that teaching these days needs to change. Maybe your son will get a lovely job in the future and engage and learn from that.
i do hope you work things out let us know how you are doing..
I teach high school students , AND I have a younger brother who is my polar opposite (never did homework, undermotivated, didn't think school was worth it, and dropped out at 17).
So, I've seen it all on a daily basis. I think the most frustrating are the very capable students who are given many opportunities and assistance, but screw themselves over. There are the kind who do the bare minimum to pass (with D's). IMO, it might also depend on what the socioeconomic status of your area/school is....ARE most of the kids college-bound? The school I teach at, less than 50% are college-bound. They simply don't think their grades now will impact them later in life.
It really IS a huge struggle, and unfortunately there may be no concrete answers/solutions. My guess is either he doesn't care (sees no worth in it/doesn't like the teacher/doesn't like the work or class)...there is an underlying problem and some of the work is too difficult, or unclear....it could be so simple as an organizational problem, or not remembering what he has to do or how to do it...or perhaps he really can't concentrate? Maybe a low dose of medication might be worth another try?
I do agree with Lizzy...and I know I said it to someone else in another thread...that if there is a concern, you should contact your son's school counselor, who will likely refer them to the school psychologist for testing.
Even if everything ends up being A-OK, that doesn't mean that he shouldn't take advantage of after-school homework groups, or meet with his teachers before/after/during school to see what he can do to improve his grades. And, as a teacher, I think PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT is SO IMPORTANT! Although, that doesn't mean that you take the responsibility off of him! Give his teachers a call, tell them your concerns, and ask them what they have observed, etc. Is he involved in extracurriculars? Usually coaches have academic contracts with students.
Hopefully some of that can be of some use! Let us know how he ended the semester!
Have you ever thought about homeschooling? I feel the kids' pain. My sons are taking some ridiculous class that isn't worth anything, because there was nothing else. They'd rather take home ec than FACTS class, but the school won't let them.
I feel your frustration. I have begged our school system for help since our son was in third grade. We live in a great school district where most parents are college grads including my husband and I. Our other 3 kids are very good students. Our son is now failing the ninth grade. He has been on medication for ADD but now refuses to take it. He is a great kid other than not doing his homework. In junior high he had a homework room he could go to after school and that was helpful. Now that he is in high school that is no longer available. We have met with the counselor and principal and each of his teachers and the only action is to have him attend Saturday detention/school. I am at a loss.