Many Kids Don't Know How to Study

Dear Dr. Linda,

Finals are here and I’m afraid our Christopher, a ninth grader, is going to fail math and Earth science. Over the year I have met with his teachers, emailed them and texted them. They all kept telling me that he’s capable of passing, but he’s just not doing what he has to do to learn the material.

He says that it’s not that he’s not doing what he has to do; it’s that he has no idea what to do. He refuses to go in after school for help because he claims that he’s done that and it doesn’t help. To make matters worse, we are taking a family trip to Iceland in July. My sister’s telling us to leave him home and my sister-in-law says he should go with us and that it’s our fault if he fails. He’s such a good kid. We don’t want him to miss this trip, but he needs to pass those courses. What should we do?

Sign Up for E-News

Jillian and Rick

Dear Jillian and Rick,

A family trip to Iceland is pretty special. You need to do whatever you can to be sure Christopher goes on that trip with you. You also need to review what went wrong last year so you don’t find yourself in this situation next year.

Before reviewing what happened, though, I need to say that I have never met a student who intentionally fails. Everyone wants a gold star. When a child is struggling in a subject, it needs to be addressed immediately because there’s always a reason.

First, many students are not mature enough to understand the consequences of what will happen if he fails. Instead of parents yelling, lecturing, grounding and punishing, they need to sit down with their children and walk through the actual consequences in terms of what’s important to their lives now.

Secondly, many students, even high schoolers, don’t keep track of their grades. They know that they once got 100 percent on something, so they think that will cover their bases when then get 0’s for not handing homework in. Again, it’s a matter of maturity. Parents need to stay aware of grades and teach their children to average their own grades (it’s a real-life math problem). Yes, there are students who do this themselves, but a large number of children not only don’t keep track of their grades—they don’t know how to.

Thirdly, most parents ask their kids: “Did you study?” The child answers, “Yes,” and then fails. The parents’ reaction is shock, but in reality, their child thought they studied. The real issue is that most middle and high schoolers have no idea how to study. The ones who do know are getting the high grades.

Finally, parents need to contact their children’s teachers when their child is struggling in a course. You obviously did that. But, instead of focusing on how to help him understand and retain the material, you opted to zero in on why he wouldn’t stay after school for help.

Now, as far as Iceland is concerned, unless you’re going for the whole summer, you have plenty of weeks before the summer Regents to prepare. Contact Christopher’s counselor to get names of tutors or summer classes so you can organize around preparing Christopher to retake the final in August. I hope Christopher surprises everyone and passes.

Have fun in Iceland,

Dr. Linda

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Cuomo’s Frivolous Lawsuits Cost Us Money

Since Donald Trump became president, New York State has filed more than 100 lawsuits against the federal government. This includes those filed by both Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It does not include lawsuits filed by the City of New York. Most of them are political in nature, filed to please the plaintiffs’ voting base. In the real world, if we had filed ...

The State of the Democratic Party

Last week, President Trump gave his first State of the Union address. Here are a few things he pointed out:

• Since the election, 2.4 million new jobs have been created.

• Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low.

• African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded.

• Hispanic-American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in ...

Beautiful, 'Clean' Coal

After completing his first full year in office—an alarming year, at that— Donald Trump has concluded that climate change is not a significant national threat and that the sacred lands and waters of this country should be sold to the highest bidder. 

The Trump administration has withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement; deregulated national landmarks; freed public lands for ...

Multigrain, Please

I have no craving for white bread; it’s too plain, predictable and tasteless for me. I hunger for a chunk of multigrain or rye, maybe even a good-sized piece of pumpernickel raisin, with a schmear of cream cheese on the side.

I have no appetite for bland, clean-cut, middle-of-the-road, isolationist politics. And I find unsettling the cultural sameness, gross consumerism and incurious ...

A Trip to the 'Liberry'

Raise your hand if you didn’t—did not—call the library the “liberry” when you were little. I’m guessing not a lot of hands just went up.

Didn’t just about all of us say “liberry” when we were learning to read? (Well, whaddya expect when a place is named something way too easy for little kids to mispronounce?)

OK. Now, raise your hand if ...

Peekskill AIMs to Become a 'Mediapolis'

What could the city of Peekskill possibly have in common with Silicon Valley, Hollywood and New York City? Like those familiar centers of multimedia creativity and commerce, the historic river town is downright giddy with excitement about transforming itself into a mediapolis, to coin a phrase.

Thanks to local movers and shakers, led by prominent Peekskill businessman Ben Green, the ...

I'm Mrs. Heat Miser

To be perfectly honest, I did not need a large rodent with insomnia to convince me that we had six more weeks of winter. It’s been so cold outside lately that when I go out, my nostrils stick together. The dog is so hesitant to go out that he does his business right on the deck, less than five feet from the door, and then gives me a look of contemptuous indignation when he comes back in the ...

Getting Off on the Wrong Foot

“What happened to your ankle?” asked my neighbor when he saw the orthopedic boot on my right foot.

“I tripped while I was in Pamplona running with the bulls,” I told him.

He raised his eyebrows. “Really?”

“No. Not really,” I admitted. “I was actually climbing Machu Picchu and I fell over a llama.”

“Seriously?” he ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, February 21, 6:00 PM

Putnam County Department of Health, Brewster

Freedom from Smoking

Health & Wellness

Wed, February 28, 6:00 PM

Putnam County Department of Health, Brewster

Freedom from Smoking

Health & Wellness

Thu, March 1, 7:00 PM

Kennedy Catholic High School, Somers

The Kennedy Catholic High School Players ...

Arts & Entertainment Other Religions And Spirituality

Bazzo Needs to Get His Facts Straight

February 15, 2018

To the editor,

Once again Mr. Bazzo, in his Feb. 8, column cherry picks facts, ignores other facts, passes along lies and spins so fast to the right that it’s amazing he doesn’t drill himself into the earth.

Bazzo is correct—the economy is doing well, and we should give credit where credit is due. Thank you, President Obama for taking the economy from the brink of another ...