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By Rebecca Teti

Fridays: Education

(Join each day’s Coffee Talk discussion: Mon: Parenting; Tues: Open Forum; Wed: NFP; Thu: Marriage; Fri: Education; Sat/Sun: Changing Roles)

Whether your children attend school or are homeschooled, this is the spot to ask questions about curricula, religious education, parent-teacher relationships, or academic concerns of any kind.

Please join us!

Rebecca Teti


  • Looking for advice from moms who have been through middle school here. My oldest of 4 is a very good student. She works hard, and always has A grades or better. I will admit that I don't monitor her work very closely, she is very independent and does the work on her own. This quarter ends today, and I looked up her grades and discovered she will receive an 81 in Algebra. The rest of her grades are all 95+ in all subjects, and Algebra is an advanced class for her in 7th grade. Now, I don't want to be a Tiger Mom or anything, but on closer inspection, she received 95-100 on all tests and quizzes, but 60-70s on homework and notebook checks, bringing the average down. I asked her why she didn't ask for help on the homework if she needed it, and she shut down. She says we expect too much, it isn't fair to question her about an 81, the rest of her grades are great, etc. I want to tell her that we will be going over her math homework with her from now on each night, but when I mentioned it, she broke down again and told me I thought she was stupid and only focused on the bad not the good (not true, we give her a lot of praise). OK, I know 12 almost 13 year old girls are emotional, and I know an 81 isn't a bad grade, but given how she got the grade, I want to monitor homework a little more closely. What do you all think? Is this worth her feeling that we aren't proud of her and don't trust her, or should I let her work it out next quarter. I do know that she is devastated that she won't be on the Honor Roll this quarter for the first time because of this grade. Should I continue to talk about it with her, or should I reach out to the teacher for homework guidelines? I don't want this to be something that drives us apart just when I know she needs us most - teen years and all. Thanks for any advice and prayers.

    Posted on Apr 12th, 2013 at 11:39 AM by Danielle M.

  • Hello Danielle, Could you possibly just have a talk with her and tell her you are very proud that she has been tackling this very difficult class and has done really well. Let her know that 81 is not terrible, but it can be improved upon. Also, let her know that your job is to ensure that she does well and to help her out when things get a bit tough. Then tell her that you will monitor every day for 2 weeks, then once a week for 2 more weeks. If she is doing well, then she is on her own until the end of the quarter. So praise but also make her know that you are there to help get through the tough stuff. Prayers and I hope this works.

    Posted on Apr 12th, 2013 at 12:28 PM by possibility

  • possibility, thank you for the suggestion. I will try to have the conversation you suggested, it sounds like a great plan.

    Posted on Apr 12th, 2013 at 1:08 PM by Danielle M.

  • Danielle M, about how much time does your daughter spend doing homework daily? It seems to me that the majority of schools seem to be piling it on these days. My niece, for example, does 1-2 hours of homework every day in first grade, which I think is ridiculous! I'm asking because I believe that balance is important. If your daughter, who is obviously very bright, is spending most of her time making those 95-100s and spending little time relaxing/being creative/spending time with friends, I'd let the 81 slide. It's still a respectable grade, especially for a 7th grader in Algebra!

    Posted on Apr 12th, 2013 at 8:28 PM by DW

  • Danielle M- I certainly think that it is OK to push your dtr to do her best when you know she isn't right now! I think if she shuts you down during the conversation you plan to have you have some other options. You could tell her that you know she can do better and let her be the one to solve the problem - Ask her how she plans to do it. Treat her like an adult (but expect her to act like a kid). Empower her to solve this problem! It sounds like she wants to. Alternatively, you could just back off for another quarter. Just tell her quickly that you know she can do better, you are there for her always if she wants help and if she's not doing better at the end of the semester, you can try stepping in again. One slightly low grade at this stage is no big deal in the long run, but allowing her to solve the problem on her own, may make a big difference in her ability to solve future problems. Good luck!

    Posted on Apr 12th, 2013 at 8:46 PM by JM

  • Thank you for the additional comments. I guess my big problem with the grade is it came on things she has control over, rather than tests/quizzes. But DW, you are right, she spends hours on homework every night, we hardly get to see her except when she comes out to do her chores, so there is probably too much. I appreciate all the advice, we'll work on a calmer conversation in a day or so.

    Posted on Apr 13th, 2013 at 6:38 PM by Danielle M.

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