Dear Teacher: My son in fourth grade already hates school. So far this year, he has received all F's on his report card. He really has totally given up. He doesn't do his classwork or even take tests. He struggles for hours with his homework, and what he does do he never turns in. The teacher has no suggestions, and I can't figure out how to turn things around. What should we do? - Frustrated
Answer: Giving up on a child who is only in fourth grade is definitely not the answer. Fourth grade is different from first, second and third grades. The children have branched beyond just learning the 3 R's.
It is hard to believe that the teacher has no suggestions. Ask the teacher to have your son tested to see if he has any learning difficulties. This could be the answer. Can your son read? Is he capable of working on grade level?
Your son needs to be observed in this classroom by professionals. You need answers to these questions: What is he doing in school when he should be working? Why will he not take the tests? Consider also how he did last year in school and whether any major events have occurred in his life that could cause him to disengage himself from learning.
Because your son is struggling with homework, help him with it. And limit the time he spends - whether he is done or not - to 45 minutes. Then pack his work in his backpack and have him give it to his teacher as soon as he gets to school.
Question: I am having an issue with my 6-year-old kindergarten daughter. In after-school care, she has had one official warning about touching other kids in inappropriate places. It is not just the same kid or kids.
The school is handling her behavior by removing her from the situation and talking to her. Sometimes it happens just to get someone's attention when they are in line. I have spoken to her about not touching a child anywhere on his or her body where a bathing suit would cover. It is not helped by the fact that her 8-year-old autistic brother has similar issues, which we are trying to correct at home. How should we handle this? Is the school right to remove her? - Crisis
Answer: Your daughter is seeing your family struggle at home with her brother, but she needs to know that neither his behavior nor hers is acceptable. If the behavior is only occurring in the after-school-care program, it should be easier to handle.
Your child's behavior needs to be addressed quickly with specialists who know exactly what they are doing. She has to learn to keep her hands to herself and not touch other students.
If your daughter is in a public school, it should have behavioral specialists who can help. Talk to the teachers about your concerns. The teachers also must have concerns. What is their plan since removing her and talking to her at school has not stopped this behavior? Try to resolve this problem together with the help of a behavior specialist.
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