scbrandal asks:

How can I get my 2nd grade son to do better in school?

My son is in 2nd grade and he isnt doing very well.  I have him doing tons of "practice" books, like reading comprehension and math etc.  He knows how to do the work but always rushes to get done so he can play.  Ive taken tv, toys, wii and games away on school nights but he still isnt paying enough attention.  He whines that he doesnt understand the directions.  I dont know what to do.  Im afraid he is going to fail.  I am trying to help him every way I can possibly think of but nothing is working to get his grades up.  Please help me!
In Topics: Motivation and achievement at school
> 60 days ago



Mar 15, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

I hear your frustration and I applaud you for stepping in to help your son.  He is lucky to have you.

First of all your son sounds like many other normal second grader boys.  They would rather be playing then completing a worksheet.  Also, if you are concerned that he might fail, schedule an appointment for a parent teacher conference right way.  Yu need to understand what the teacher is seeing or not seeing.  Ask for specific weakness and strenghts.  Also, you need to find out what the teacher or school is doing to help your son.  The more you know the better you can support your son as well as re enforce what the teacher is doing.

Here are some things you might want to give a try.  Please know that some of them might sound a little out of the box, but try ti keep an open mind.

You said that your son says he has trouble with understanding directions.  

Let him practice following directions in a creative way.  Go to the public library and check out some how to orcraftbooks that he finds interesting.  For example, a book on origami could be fun.  Get lots of paper and have him a read the direction, following the pictures to make the different shapes.  Or if he is interested in knots, you can find a book that has all different types of knots set by step that he can read and tie on his own.  Yu can do the first one or two with him, then give him the challenge to figure out someonhis

Magic tricks are always fun for kids.  Find another book that explains simple tricks for beginners.  Ask your son to read the direction .  Then after practicing it, he can performing it for the family.

If he likes to cook, let him help you make some meals.  Let him pick put the recipes, gather or shop for the ingrediaence and then you can help him putt all

Telling jokes is another way that is fun for him to follow steps.  A joke is only funny when it is told in order like directions.  Find a kid appropriate joke book or online website.  Have him read the jokes.  Tell him he needs to tell at least one joke each night at dinner.

Hopefully, one of these ideas will work or spark a new idea that better suits your son.

Also, I encourage you to read to your son daily.  He isn't too old and won't be until he is 21 and out of the house.  He him books he finds interesting which maybe nonfiction like trucks or fishing.  Not only are you modeling what good readers do and good reading habits, you are building upon your relationship.  Everything you read allows you to have many conversations comparing text, connecting it to the real world, or just having fun.

Good luck and remember your son is luck to have you there to help him.

Barb K

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Additional Answers (1)

pigtoria writes:
Hi Scbrandal...

I also have a second grader son so I know how challenging it can be to get boys to do their homework.  

When you said that your son "isn't doing very well" - do you think it's due to a lack of focus/attention or academic skills and knowledge.  What I've found in helping my son with his homework is that when he doesn't understanding something, I need to go back to the very basic and explain it to him.  Children cannot advance if they do not have a basic foundation.  I'll share an example.  When teaching children multiplication, you cannot have them memorize the times table and know that 3 x 3  = 9.  They need to understand that "3 x 3" is REALLY "3 + 3 + 3".  If the basic skills or foundation is not grounded, doing more practice books will not teach the children the skills they need.

On the other hand, if your son's problem is with focus, I suggest doing some physical activity - run around the block or spending an hour at the playground - before going home and do the homework.  My professor once said "if you want children to sit down, you must let them run around first".

Find out what your son's problem is and then help him accordingly.  Below I've included a link to our worksheets for second grader to help your son if needed.  Good luck!

Hope this helps!


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