Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Failing Grades

Education Expert Advice from Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Q: My 11-year-old daughter is in sixth grade this year. Previously, she was an A/B student. Her grades this year have gone from bad to worse! She's recently brought home four Fs. She says she doesn't have enough time in class to finish the work. The teachers say she's not turning it in at all. I have found unfinished work a few days old in her backpack or under her bed. How do I handle this? Grounding her does no good at all. She's a very stubborn young lady with a lot of attitude to go with it!

A: There probably is a combination of things affecting your daughter at the present time. First, the transition into sixth grade can be difficult, as teachers at this level stop spoon-feeding their students. Learning is now the responsibility of the students, with far fewer reminders from their teachers.

Try to analyze the four Fs. Were they all in one subject? Did your daughter have a bad week? Did something happen at home? Has she just started having trouble at school, or has she had problems since the start of the school year?

Have you asked the teachers why they think your daughter is not completing her work in class? Do they feel that the work is too hard for her? Do they think that she is being too sociable in the classroom or not using her time appropriately? You need the teachers' input to help get your daughter back on track.

Sometimes, students at this level are overwhelmed by having so many different teachers. We like the idea of your daughter talking individually with several of her teachers to find out how she can do better in their classes. Just getting to know them better and learning that they care about her efforts should be a step in the right direction.

Second, your daughter will benefit from learning some time-management, study, and organizational skills. Ask the school counselor about classes at the school, a local college, or a learning center that might help her learn these skills.

Finally, you should try to determine why your child now has so much attitude. Is it related to new friends, her struggle at school, or the onset of puberty? Grounding will not improve her attitude; however, helping her handle school, friends, and adolescence will.

More on: Expert Advice

Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks


Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

7 Tips for Reading Aloud to Babies & Toddlers
The AAP advises reading aloud to babies and toddlers because it boosts brain power and has many other benefits. Get some tips for making the most of story time with your tot!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

How to Survive Summer Boredom
When the kids are home all day, every day, summer boredom strikes hard and fast. Learn the best summer boredom busters and tips for surviving until September.

12 Birthday Party Favors that Won't Get Thrown Away
The next time you're planning a birthday, forgo the penny candy and cheap toys. Send your guests home with one of these fun and creative party favor ideas!