Do I need to just back off?

<p>Here’s my dilemma. My S is a very bright kid who has qualified as a NMSF (PSAT 221, SAT 2130, ACT 35). As a senior he’s taking difficult AP’s (Physics C and Calc BC), he’s on the comprehensive math team and is in the marching band. He’s doing well in his classes, high B’s & A’s. </p>

<p>My problem is this…I have to badger him to do his homework. When his progress report came out a few weeks ago, I was able to see the details behind his grades. He has zeros or very low marks on multiple homework assignments (in both the Physics and Calc btw) and poor marks on the ones that he did turn in to the teachers. His test scores were in the high 90’s which made up for his poor daily grades.</p>

<p>When I called him on it he said that he had forgotten the work was due or he left it at home. Now my S is a bit of the absent minded professor type, so I thought I would help out by following up with him each day to see if he knew what his assignments were. So far he seems to be doing better with me bugging him about his homework all the time. But now I’m concerned that I’m setting up a pattern where when he goes off to college next year he will really get behind by ignoring his assignments (and I won’t be there to remind him).</p>

<p>Should I just leave it alone and let the chips fall where they may, or do I work on trying to get him more organized (I’ve tried this in the past with no luck)?</p>

<p>Just make sure he knows that colleges can and will rescind his acceptance with D's or F's.</p>

<p>Otherwise leave him alone. Part of college is to prioritize and he seems to have done that well. </p>

<p>You say multiple missed homework....something more here than forgetting. Sounds like its just not important to him.</p>

<p>Does your school or nearby learning center offer a class on organizational skills? They will probably repeat everything you have suggested, but "parent-deafness" may keep him from profiting from your wisdom. </p>

<p>Or you could back off completely and let him learn from his own mistakes. Chances are, though, that won't happen until his first semester of college, where the stakes are a bit higher. He wouldn't be, however, the first freshman to learn the hard way. If he's smart and learns from experience, he will likely end up fine.</p>

<p>He is 17. Leave him alone and let him deal with the consequenses.</p>

<p>We asked our son if he was satisfied with his performance. If yes, we said no more. If not, what did he want to change. We asked him if he would like help from us, and if so, how.
This approach worked SO much better.</p>

<p>When it comes to college, there isn't the steady stream of daily homework like there is in high school. Hard to believe that he'll ignore his math or physics problem sets in college...</p>

<p>I'd work on trying to get him to figure out a system of remembering assignments that works for him. Right now, it's important that he gets the best grades that he can for college application purposes and if that means nagging, well, it's all in the life of a mother. This is no time to let chips fall willy-nilly.</p>

<p>Have you asked him what he wants? Does he appreciate the reminders, or is he annoyed by them? Could you work together to come up with a way he can keep up on his assignments without you bugging him? Perhaps a calendar where he writes them down or some other way to remember?</p>

<p>His senior year my younger son told me he didn't want me to remind him of his assignments. He felt he was capable of doing things himself. He said that as long as his grades remained high, I could not bug him. If his grades fell, then I would have his permission to start nagging. :) It took me awhile to learn, but I backed off and he did fine. He did get one B that he might not have received had I bugged him, but it was in a very difficult class, and he was willing to accept that.</p>

<p>Maybe you and your son could come up with a similar deal, or whatever is to his liking. I think it IS time to let him take more responsibility, but perhaps he is not quite ready for it. Talk to him and see how he feels. Perhaps you can come up with a plan that will satisfy both of you.</p>

<p>I would suggest you continue working on the organizational skills - before he leaves for college since these are not skills he will learn very well on his own even if he realizes their importance. It's an important life skill that will benefit him after college. Perhaps its time to call in the assistance of someone from his school to help with this or give you ideas on what to try? Does he use a daily planner or calendar to write down assignments and deadlines? Also, with his personality and work style, you may want to be very careful in selecting a college. Even though he may get in to a super-competitive top school, it may not be best fit. On a positive note, he appears to be a good test-taker and often college courses rely more on tests than daily homework.</p>

Now my S is a bit of the absent minded professor type,


Of course. I've heard a lot of parents say this about their sons. Girls are usually just called flakes.</p>

<p>As for worrying about setting a pattern... yes, that is something to worry about. Homework in college sometimes counts for quite a bit; even if it doesn't, few students can excel without doing it. Deadlines are varied; homework problems are on handouts; it's a lot less organized than in high school.</p>

<p>It could not hurt to talk to him (outside of a nagging war) to discuss this issue with him. Let him take the initiative to get himself more organized. College, you should let him know, is not a right but a privilege and tuition is a gift. Let him know that adequate preparation for college is the price of this privilege, and, to you, that means demonstrating that he can organize his own life. Be there to help him do whatever he proposes (buy planners, folders, etc), but tell him that part of his job as a student is to organize himself. </p>

<p>It took me a while, but, in college, I developed the Aries whiteboard/bulletin board system. This is NOT the whiteboard for the student's door. Above your desk, hang a whiteboard with a bulletin board attached. Write your classes on one side, with a space in between them. On the other side, have a to-do list. Important stuff goes on the bulletin board (parking tickets, bills, paperwork to be filled out). Assignments go under each class and get erased as they are done. Ditto with the "to-dos." Obviously, though, the student has to be minimally organized to use it.</p>

<p>Do NOT excuse his behaviour as being an "absent-minded professor" type... the fact that he's smart doesn't make it okay to be an organizational disaster. :)</p>

<p>It could be that 'senioritis' has set in and he's just tired of the daily HS grind. I don't believe in just letting the chips fall where they may at this point because you and your S have too much invested to let it go down the drain. He's also at an age where, although he can be brilliant, he may not think through the consequences of all of his actions (or lack thereof). There are studies backing this up. </p>

<p>If it is senioritis, it'll likely be gone the day HS ends and he'll have a completely different outlook in college. The challenge is making sure he doesn't shoot himself in the foot between now and then. Make sure you take the time to explain the consequences of hime not putting in the effort that he was before. It can affect the colleges he'll be admitted to as well as merit scholarships he might qualify for. His slacking can hit him (or you) right in the pocketbook.</p>

<p>Girls are usually just called flakes.</p>

<p>Funny, ariesathena.</p>

<p>Aries, I think it's cute that the first bulletin board item you mentioned is parking tickets! It brings back those old college memories for me. :(</p>

<p>"He’s doing well in his classes, high B’s & A’s"</p>

<p>Since you are satisfied with his grades, I'd leave it to him to handle the homework. He apparently doesn't need it to learn the material and it is not a significant part of the grade.</p>

<p>Well, those usually need to be paid promptly. Where I went to school, it was legal for the city to put up to three parking tickets on your windshield every day. Trust me, if you left your car for a day, there would be at least two on there. :) I once got a ticket for parking my car, with my hazards on, outside of my house and hanging 1 foot into a driveway because, well, the city has quotas.</p>

<p>My S's apparent disorganization and failure at times to turn things in while in HS was my greatest concern when he went off to college. There was seemingly nothing we could do to improve the situation, so we lived with it. Somehow all that disappeared. He is the most organized person I now know, amazing what a demanding college academic environment can do.</p>

<p>Flippant disorganized girls aren't called flakes. They are called Trouble and they are sent to detention, lower level classes and endless pep talks regarding potential and the failure to live up to it. I know. I was Trouble up until the end of my second year at university. </p>

<p>Now, after twenty years of running my own business while raising two boys, I am one of the most organized people you will ever meet. Organized and bloody efficient, I'm not one to belabour tasks.</p>

<p>It's a learned skill. If they need it, they will learn it.</p>

<p>My second son does no homework for most of the school year. He gets it done in class. He crams for exams at the end of the year and comes up with good and sometimes fantastic marks. He's been accused of learning advanced Biology by osmosis; ie he makes no apparent effort to learn the subject but has the ability to answer any question and discuss at length nonetheless. </p>

<p>Ask the teachers to flag you if they think he is in danger of dropping to a C or D level performance. Otherwise, let him sort himself. He's a very bright boy.</p>

<p>IMHO senior year is just too late to start badgering about homework, tempting though it may be. Voice your concern (once), make sure he understands the implications for college, make sure he has a structured environement that "allows" him to get his work done (i.e. running around with friends under control) and sit back.</p>



<p>The question I would ask is what are his goals? He's got some good stats - does he aspire to get into some high-end colleges? If not, then letting the chips fall where they may will probably work out just fine in some form or another. </p>

<p>But if he is aiming high for college he may need a little more support to keep him on track to achieve his goals. Now "support" is a positive-sounding term for what could also be called nagging, badgering, or simpling taking him in hand and making sure the work gets done.</p>

<p>I don't know the kid, nor am I close enough to the situation to make a guess as to what is the right approach. But if his goals are high ones, letting him drift in the wind on his own will very likely lower his chances of success.</p>

<p>I agree with Cheers it is a matter of skills.</p>

<p>Does he have the skills and choose not to use them?
Does he not have the skills yet, but can learn them on his own when he needs to?
Does he not have the skills yet, and possibly can not learn them without explicit guidance?</p>

<p>In addition to understanding what his short term goals are, as Coureur says, the other thing that needs to be understood is why he is not doing it. Hence, the questions above.</p>

<p>Hobbess- deja vu! You just described my son last year, including the absent minded professor bit. It is not a lack of organization, more being bored, senioritis. Nagging, etc will not help. He does need to realize that this semester's grades will determine acceptances- I think our son may have not wanted the super-elite schools based on his grades, attitude towards essays (never wanted any input) and application timing. If your son is serious about the elite colleges make sure he realizes this, otherwise let him learn from these mistakes (we emphasized doing the work, not just acing the tests- in most of his senior classes homework counted in the grade, impossible to get an A without doing and handing in asssignments- it didn't make any difference. Second semester was his worst- he had 5 excellent AP test scores but his worst GPA ever). </p>

<p>Giving him control over his life will make your life much easier, and he will appreciate it. We're still waiting to see how son does in college- he'll probably do well because he's where he wants to be, taking the classes he chose and away from parental interference. Letting go is hard, but necessary.</p>