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My son is essentially failing this 2nd quarter of 8th grade. He's a smart kid, though, TAG, even. They skipped him ahead a grade when he started 1st grade. But he's only 12; just turned 12, in fact. So I'm wondering whether his very late birthday and the fact that he's already younger than all his peers could be a major factor in why he's forgetting to turn in assignments, turning them in late, etc. His test scores are up and down, too: 90% one week, 45% the next. We're pulling our hair out--and pulling him from the basketball team (although these issues existed pre-hoops) in order to try and salvage his 8th grade experience. We are strongly considering re-classifying him in 8th grade again next year, if we can get him into a private school that's K-12.




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Question: Skipped in 1st Grade, Failing in 8th

My son is essentially failing this 2nd quarter of 8th grade. He's a smart kid, though, TAG, even. They skipped him ahead a grade when he started 1st grade. But he's only 12; just turned 12, in fact. So I'm wondering whether his very late birthday and the fact that he's already younger than all his peers could be a major factor in why he's forgetting to turn in assignments, turning them in late, etc. His test scores are up and down, too: 90% one week, 45% the next. We're pulling our hair out--and pulling him from the basketball team (although these issues existed pre-hoops) in order to try and salvage his 8th grade experience. We are strongly considering re-classifying him in 8th grade again next year, if we can get him into a private school that's K-12.


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Advice from School Family and Our Experts

Lisa @ School Family writes:
Having a son in the 9th grade I feel your pain. I hate to generalize but I can tell you that a lot of junior high boys seem to be inconsistent with academics! Many boys are smart enough to know that this is the last time their grades don't count/don't go on their college transcript. Not that it's any excuse mind you- just thought it might help you to know you are not alone : ) It also may interest you to know that a year has made a tremendous difference in our house, in terms of effort, attitude and grades. Have you tried sitting down with him and brainstorming ways to address his issues in school? Does he think it is too hard? Could it be that technology is getting in the way of his grades (i.e. texting & X box)? Would also recommend setting up a team meeting his his teachers as soon as possible so you can all compare notes. It could just be developmental, but by teaming up with his teachers you can get to the bottom of his inconsistent grades and help him get on track.
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Advice from School Family and Our Experts

LiviaMcCoy writes:
Your son might have some ideas for what is happening with him in school. I would definitely ask him what is going on. My suspicion is that he is disorganized. The demands of 8th grade are more than he is used to. Often in eighth grade, students are required to do more independently and keep up with more "stuff"; he may not be developmentally ready to take on that level of independence and organization. I would suggest first that you get him organized. I will post a blog very soon about an organizational system that might help him. (Many TAG children are disorganized this way.) Additionally, he may not have needed to study before. But, now in eighth grade things are harder. He might not know how to study. My post next week will offer one suggestion for studying for tests. Please try that with him. He may be able to finish this year okay if he can get back on track. Best of luck to him.
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Community Advice

sjcaban writes:
Yes, best of luck with your son! I recall MANY times in grade school when I forgot to turn in assignments, even when I was performing very well on homework and tests. Personal organization is a very distinct skill, different from pure academic performance! I would suggest a couple things: 1) Find out your child is feeling socially. Does he have friends? Is he happy? Social stress can certainly contribute to anxiety and forgetting. His inconsistent performance is an indication that something like this might be going on. And I wonder whether his younger age may be a factor in his relationships with others, particularly as his older friends begin to go through puberty at this age. 2) I wouldn't necessarily advise quitting the basketball. It's certainly a problem if kids are really overbooked, but exercise and 1 or 2 out of school commitments are good for kids, and help them learn to manage their time. I find the kids with 1 or 2 activities are often better at managing their time then kids with none at all, who may spend lots of time playing video games or watching TV, instead. Encourage him to keep doing things he enjoys, while keeping up his studies.
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