trouble with 5th grade...

Gwen - posted on 10/31/2008 ( 20 moms have responded )

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My 10yo DS has always had focusing issues. But now in 5th grade it's relly a problem!! We were up 2 hours past bedtime because HE heard ' do a final draft of the outline you did last night' NOT 'do a final draft o a one page report based on your outline'. One of his scout friends cleared up the 'confusion' at scouts that night, but then when we got home to do it it took forever to actuall do!!

This is a long-running problem, homework takes forever because he can only work in short bursts, he gets in trouble at school for not paying attention, he frequently forgets to write down assignments, or writes them down wrong (which was the case Wed. night- he paraphrased what the teacher wrote on the board, then came home and did what he thought he meant when he wrote in his book).

They are apparently trying to premote responsibility, so he is responsible for doing things that last year the teacher helped him with. And studiing is a problem, too- he's never HAD to study before, but this year the work is harder and he's failing tests because noone is specifically telling him to take notes in class, to bring home books to study, that the chapter is almost finished so they will have a test soon, ect. I KNOW this is stuff he needs to be able to do on his own, but he isn't.



Pleeeeeease LMK if you all have any suggestions!!

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User - posted on 10/31/2008

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I don't have any suggestions, just wanted you to know you are not alone! I too have a 5th grader with a focusing problem. As long as he can sit and do other things for a given amount of time I wouldn't worry about ADD. I know my son definintely doesn't have that. I think he is doing better in class, but he has trouble at homework time. When you were writing about the outline I could totally relate bc i have been working on a book report with him for 2 wks! I don't understand why he wouldn't just want to get it done and over with! Ugh! My son is smart, but doesn't like to work or practice at anything. All he is interested in right now is playing with his friends! I think we just need to be patient, and hopefully this is just a phase that they will get through! Let me know if you need to vent!

Patti - posted on 11/01/2008

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I don't think it is something permanent that you will have to worry about. I have a 6th grader who had the same problems with focusing in 5th grade, it is alot of times due to hormonal changes. I know we don't want to face the fact that our childrren are growing up, my mother in law had to point it out to me too. This is a sign for you to sit down with him and talk seriously about change. Boys are different than girls and it is very frusterating for them to understand why they feel the way they do. I finally sat down with my daughter and found it very helpful to understand her mood swings and her soreness of her body or why her mind was working 100 miles per hour. We have found comfort for her, she takes time outs in her room when she needs them. When her moodiness is gone and she is ready to pay attention and learn then she comes down to do her homework. I do have to make sure she comes out of her room within 30 minutes to 1 hour. or she thinks she can live in there...lol. I then make her do her homework in front of me and ask her alot of questions about her lessons she had in class today, just to make sure she was paying attention. I have found myself to be a littel more strict with school but very understanding about her feelings and it has been very effective, she is now doing better in school with paying attention and writing down her assignments. She now comes home everyday and is actually excited to tell me all the new things she has learned that day and what new interesting things they talked about.

User - posted on 06/07/2014

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I have a step son, who has struggled for a couple years. He simply doesn't want to go to school or forgets homework. I have had teacher friends say it is a red flag to get C's and D/s in elementary school When he loses his electronics, he simply says OK

Marisol - posted on 02/25/2014

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wow, it sounds like my son is in your sons class. my son too is going thru that whole making them more dependent, when I truly don't think they are ready for it, plus this common core curriculum is not making it any easier to say the least. I'm ready to put my son in a private school that doesn't deal with common core, but since he is in a 504 plan, I don't know where to begin. I'm so lost, frustrated, and scare that he will fall thru the system.

Shelly - posted on 11/03/2008

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I also have a 5th grader and having some of the same issues. My daughter has always had a problem with talking too much and not focusing/listening. Honestly, I believe that these kids are just being kids. They all develop at a different rate and have many issues in their lives that we may, or may not be aware of. I started thinking about all of the stuff my daughter has to remember. No wonder she can't keep organized!! Homework is very frustrating because of the tears, but I think kids learn from us what they can get away with and how they can manipulate situations to get what they want. I think remaining patient and keeping on task has been helping. You can't change the rules in the middle of the game, meaning it takes time to make change. I recently implemented a personal behavior chart for the teacher to sign everyday so I know what's happening daily. I am very thankful for finally getting a teacher who is willing to communicate with me and also willing to help. I also find that routine after school helps. Kids like routine and need it. this will help them accomplish tasks and gain some self-satisfaction to what they are working on.

I'm not sure if this helped or not, but keep the faith.....with you son, yourself, and that things will get better with patience and love.

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User - posted on 10/11/2014

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I have this problem with my daughter. She is on the radar so she doesn't fall through the cracks. I am working on getting her a 504 plan, but I don't know where to begin. This is so frustrating, because I am trying everything and it just seems to be getting worse.

Kimberly - posted on 10/12/2012

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I also have a 10 year old son in 5th grade that is failing all his classes. It is so heartbreaking. My son does have ADHD / ADD and he has a processing disorder called Non Verbal Learning Disorder. My son has been on Focusing Medication since 1st grade and he has always done well in school. Of course I provide private tutoring for him 3 days a week, to help him. This past July my son started on Growth Hormone and he has been growing about 2 inches in 3 months. (Which I am thrilled that he has moved up from 3rd percentile for his age and height to 5th percentile......but his focussing medication dosage got all messed up.) My son is having a hard time finishing assignments that they have to do in class. Those are the only grades that count. They just get a check for homework assignments. My son has problems writing. (He has had dysgraphia for most of his life) I am so proud of how far his handwriting has come but his teacher will give him low grades because of his handwriting. I think the teachers think my son is not trying because he doesn't seem to be focusing. My son comes home crying. He is doing his best and he keeps getting low grades and having to redo assignments. He is about ready to give up. He was doing so well in 4th grade, I just don't think they prepared us for how hard 5th grade would be. I am working with the neurologist on trying to up my son's focusing medication.



I have told my son that all I ask of him is for him to do his best. I want him to be nice and respectful to his teachers and if he has questions or gets confused for him to communicate with the teachers. I told him that he needs to show his teachers what he knows. That is what they are looking for. If he gets stumped or has a mental block he needs to talk to them so that the teacher knows he isn't day dreaming.



The main reason why I have my son in public school is so he gets practice with his social skills. I can home school him or have him privately tutored but he wouldn't be getting the social interaction with other kids his age so I thought I would go this route.



Anyways thought I would share what is going on with us. Glad we are not the only ones frustrated with 5th grade.

Charlene - posted on 03/13/2012

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Wow. Just after I yelled and took all my 5th grade daughters privileges away because her progress report is a joke or far cry from her just bringing her grades up last marking period. I guess yelling and punishing her wasn't or isn't going to help. Or is it? I do find often after she sees how angry I am when I know she does her homework she usually improves in the her class work. What I am more angry about is that I have asked her teachers to let me know when and if she is falling behind or have not turned in her HW. I am not sure what else to do for her. They said she was below reading but her tutor and all the books she readings at home are above grade level. I am at a lost. I really don't want to met with her teachers because I so not think they have done anything to help. What else is there?

Michelle - posted on 01/31/2012

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I also have a son in 5th grade. He is not doing well at all. The teacher thinks he has ADD but his father and I do no think this. The homework is a joke because the teacher says she will not send it home for him to do because she wants to know what the child can do and not what the parents can do. Called school and in the process of setting up a parent teacher conferance to get things under controll. I don't see how the teacher expects things to get better if he doesn't bring homework home to get extra help.

Natilee - posted on 01/23/2009

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My son has the same problem, also in the 5th grade. One thing I did to clear up the home work issue, was to get him a note book that he must write the Home Work assignment in and his teacher has to sign it. I doubt that any teacher wouldn't sign the assignment, only takes a couple of seconds for them to do so. This has stopped a lot of hassle of us trying to figure out what the H.W. was for the night.

[deleted account]

Wow. Thanks for sharing. Its reassuring to hear others with the same issues. My son has had trouble focusing since Kindergarten. Now he's in 4th grade and for the first time he has grades below A's and B's and he doesn't seem to care. He is getting some extra tutoring at school but HATES to go. He doesn't want to do any more work than the minimum. I made an appointment for his eyes to be checked because he told me that he gets blurry all of a sudden sometimes. His teacher said that he does need many reminders to focus and makes quite a bit of trips to the bathroom. She knows he just needs a break and doesn't bother him about it. Some days are worse than others. I never even thought of hormones! That could explaing the "socializing" with girls and with boys about the girls! I was under the understanding the girls still had cooties! Yikes!

Gwen - posted on 11/04/2008

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I have talked the teacher into giving him some extra priveledges if he is able to focus for the duration of the class, and she IS noticing that if he gets a little break (a trip to the water fountain, running an errand to the office) he is much better about focusing when he gets back.

It definatly makes me feel better to know 5th grade-itis is common, though, lol. We've gone from A's and B's to deficiency notices!!!! i'm about pulling my hair out, but hopefully we will settle into a routine before the 1st quarter is out and get him back on track. Thanks, guys!

Julie - posted on 11/04/2008

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5th grade standards are the most intense of all elementary grades and the transition from 4th to 5th is usually difficult. Talk to the teacher about your concerns. Don't get frustrated (children will relate your frustration to homework...causing even more trouble to come). Stay positive. Does your son's teacher have a class website with the weeks assignments on it? Can she write the assignments on the board so he can "see" the instructions and copy them. Perhaps the trouble is getting the infomation translated from what he is hearing to what he writes. Maybe seeing it will help. Also, if he is spending more than the school recommends for his grade level on homework, see if the teacher will allow a modification on homework, for example, if he has math homework, perhaps doing odds or evens. Regarding note taking, he may be having trouble, just like with writing his assignments. Also, have his eyes checked...some kids have trouble keeping up from copying from the board due to a convergence deficincey. Don't automatically think ADD or ADHD!...you would have probably known way before 5th grade if this was the case! He might just learn in a way that is not condusive to how he's being taught. Think about what is different this year...Does the teacher "lecture" more? One key questions to ask the teacher. Even as an adult I get restless if someone is just standing in front of a class lecturing...I need movement. Some kids are linguistic, some mathematical. Try making games out of the studying (i.e. memory, jepordy..etc) and play it with him. Buy an excercise ball and let him sit on it while he studies..(the movement helps them be able to not feel confined...and can acutally get the brain moving). Many teachers allow students to stand up at the back of the class while listening, or even sitting on a ball like I mentioned..where they won't be a distraction to other kids. A good teacher will listen to your concerns and find a way to work with you!



Good luck. Let us know how you did!

Elizabeth - posted on 11/03/2008

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I have an 11yo daughter who is in the 5th grade. We are having the exact same problems! She is ADHD and has been on meds since 1st grade. Definately the best decision we made. We also, like the comment above, didn't lose our daughter, she is just higher functioning on the meds then when she is off. We tried a "new, better" medication for a couple weeks back in 3rd grade and realized she was doing better on the old medication. So adjustments and trial and error are sometimes necessary. Just work closely with your doctor!

She has always struggled a little in school, but not like this year! She is almost defiant in not bringing home her homework and not finishing her classwork and tests. She just sits there and waits. When I asked her what her problem was, she said she didn't understand it and didn't want to ask for help! We finally had a teacher conference meeting today! It helps a lot because we had her there with us and all 5 of her teachers so that we were all on the same page and she can't turn our words around! Also because of her ADHD the teachers are going to test her in a room by herself and in sections, 2 questions, then 2 more questions and so on! She knows that she has to be more responsible as far as writing down her assignment and bringing home her work! We don't use ADHD as a disablility, in fact my daughter really doesn't know what ADHD means, she just knows that she has to work a little harder at concentration and organization because those are things that she is not as strong at!

Homework today was much less of a struggle! She was more organized and more confident! Don't get me wrong we had some arguing and struggles, but we worked through them! It really takes patience and time. I have to sit there sometimes and talk her through her work! Encouraging her when she does right and redirecting her when she gets off task.

I am not blaming all this on her ADHD, I agree with the hormones, I agree that its a change in the level of work and responsibility, I agree that 5th grade teachers baby the students alot less, I agree that 5th grade work is harder and more intense, I agree that preteens are their own person and what us parents and teachers "tell" them to do, they are a lot less likely to respond, because they want more independence(which they are going to have to get over!) :)

As far as homework goes, give it in segments, try to spread it out, if you have to do some before dinner or after a 10 minute regroup/snack time for them to chill that helps. Also try to stay in contact with his teachers. Our teachers send home a newsletter of what they are doing that week and they also have the homework posted online, if your school doesn't offer this, ask them to sign an assignment book that you send with your son each day after he has written down the days assignment. We also got a "homework" folder that she has to put any worksheets or homework or spelling lists in from all 5 of her classes so she has it all in one spot!

I hope some of this helps! It has been really frustrating as parents for us to see our daughter struggle when we want for her to succeed, but we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!

Sorry so long, but I had to share our novel! :)

Laure - posted on 11/03/2008

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I am so happy to have found this site! My son is also in the fifth grade and has many problems remembering to bring his homework home. He started a new school this year so I was thinking maybe its the transition but he says he likes the school and he doesn't know why but that he just "forgets"! It's making me crazy. I am trying to figure out how to make him understand he needs to be more responsible, but he doesn't seem to think its that big of a deal. He is more interested in playing on the computer and talking to his friends. He has always had straight A's and didn't have to work very hard. Had 1st parent teacher conference today and he has A's and B's, but teacher said he never seems to be in to what they are learning. I'm glad other people are having this problem so that I know it's not just him! Thanks for letting me vent!

Sandra - posted on 11/03/2008

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Let me be the first to say....my daughter is in 5th grade....from K-k thru 4th...a straight "A" student. I recently attended my first ever parent-teacher conference to see if it was just me, or if my daughter wasn't focusing as much. the teachers and I (and my husband) added it all together and it equals out to a lot of things....age. At 10, they are beginning to see things differently. Why? I dunno. ALso, there is a LOT more and harder work in 5th grade. And in her school, they allow the 5th graders to take more responsibility for themselves and their work. Meaning, leave the class for the day and leave a paper on the floor under your desk cause you didn't put it up properly, it gets thrown away. Should've been organized and responsibile and put it up. We are struggling with that. She's beginning to understand now that her old habits won't fly. :) ALso, she's never had to be told to do her homework, study, etc. NOW...I have to ask constantly, due to her missing assignments, forgetting to write them down, etc. It was unreal...and something I never had to deal with before. All I can say is, suport him, love him, and be patient. :) Good luck!!

Jamie - posted on 11/02/2008

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You need to check out all the criteria for ADD/ADHD. If you look it up you will find it easily. If you think it is possible, then look into all the methods that you fell comfortable with. I have a son with ADHD and he is been on meds since 2nd grade. I felt really stongly about not using meds, but I am glad we did. He has done so much better and I did not lose my kid. He is still the same sweet kid that I always had, just a higher functioning and more attentive kid. If you can help him with his attention issues you should consider looking into something wheather it be behavioral theraphy or medication. Don't let him fall behind if you can help him. We love our kids and want the best for them. Don't wait to long. Jr. High is going to be even tougher on him and we want to see them succeed not fail. Good luck and I hope you find the answers you need.

Gwen - posted on 11/01/2008

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thanks for all the suggestions (and the empathy, it's nice to know it isn't just my kid!). He's been tested for ADD, (short story, the teach and I were almost word for word, dad's questionaire was totally opposite ours, he tested out at being 'slightly in the diagnosable area). I am considering getting him retested, just leaving dad out of it. But I have a teacher conference in a few weeks, so I am thinking I'll wait until then??? I just had one with her 2 weeks ago...



I already took him out of the public school because he was always in trouble, just bored to death. But his parochial school seems like they want him to do things that a LOT of the boys in his class are struggling with.



thanks for the comisteration!

[deleted account]

Everyone is a different type of learner. And not everyone matures in the same areas at the same rate. I have a 12 year old boy who had similar issues at a younger age. I began home schooling him and working with him on responsibility as he was able to handle it. He can now focus on his work much better because it is more matched to his learning style. He is more responsible because he was allowed to grow into it, rather than having it foisted upon him at a given age. I don't recommend home schooling to everyone. Some people cannot afford it, cannot handle it, etc. It takes a lot of organization, determination, motivation and work on the part of the mom/teacher. But there might be other schooling options available to you. Unfortunately, public school in America is aimed (for the most part) at one type of learner. The rest are expected to capitulate and adjust. There are many options available. They just don't all work with every family. Another thing to think about is teaching the child the importance of education. Whenever possible, take him to places where he can see people doing different types of jobs that he might find interesting. Then explain to him (repeatedly) that his education now determines his success in that future. Eventually, the motivation of his future will take root in his mind and begin to grow into his own determination to get everything he can out of his education. Good luck!

[deleted account]

You may want to have him checked for ADD or ADHD. It's not uncommon for children with ADD/ADHD to fall behind in school because it's just too hard for them to focus. If he turns out to have ADD/ADHD please weigh your meds carefully. Some will completely alter the child's personality and you only want to help him, not change him. Good luck and I hope it gets better.

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