Three Types of Students

What Kind of Student is Your Child?

We have always stressed the importance of education and the kids know that we expect them to get A’s and B’s in most of their classes. A C would what kind of student is your tweenbe okay if they were struggling in a class but working hard. There would be consequences if they slacked off and got a C. We have always told them that getting good grades is like a key to opening doors they might want opened later in life. It’s always better to have choices of which door you want to go through so working hard now would pay off later. What is interesting to me is that I have three kids old enough where grades make a difference in their lives (Gia is 3) and I have three different students in this house.

1. The “Just Enough” student.

This would be the teenager that does the bare minimum to get good grades. He is perfectly happy to get B’s even though with some effort, which he does put forth sometimes, he could get A’s. He was the student happy to be on the honor roll in junior high but figured out he could stay out of trouble with grades by getting B’s and have a whole lot of fun at the same time. He’s also the child that has a really hard time when he comes up against something that doesn’t come easy. It’s frustrating because I want him to take on the challenge and rise to the occasion instead of complain and whine that he needs my help and then shut down. My lovely son learned a tough lesson when he took his first semester finals as a freshman. He thought the half days were license to hang out with his friends instead of study. All of his A’s went down to B’s and his B went down to a C. I have to give him credit for studying for the one class he was getting a C in, though. He ended up pulling a B in that one but was still grounded for the next quarter for slacking off during finals. It worked because second semester, he studied and maintained his grades. I was even proud that he showed a genuine desire to get straight A’s and then he became a sophomore and “just enough” seems just fine with him.

2. The “Self-Starter” student.

This would be my 11-year-old son. He does not like having homework or projects hanging over his head. He wants to get them done and not think about them again. He is a rule follower but works very quickly sometimes jumping in before he knows all the directions and then ends up a puddle of frustration having to start all over. He is my child that has his book reports done weeks in advance and then as other kids bring theirs in, he comes up to me the day before, crying that his is “crap” and needs to be done all over again. I appreciate that he does the projects by himself but I don’t appreciate ending up at Target more than once having to get new materials. I would love to believe that he gets good grades because they are important to him and I am sure that is part of it but I think a bigger part is that he is super-competitive and can’t stand to get a worse grade than the kid next to him.

3. “The Perfectionist”.

I am finding this one to be the most difficult at the moment. This is my 11-year-old daughter. The pressure that she puts on herself is unbelievable. Is it a twin thing? A girl thing? I have no idea but I have to tell her I don’t care if she gets a bad grade just to stop her from having an anxiety attack. On a side note, that tactic doesn’t work. It ends up with her shrieking, “What? So now you don’t care if I fail?” as if I am the worst mom in the world. She is so afraid to be wrong that she won’t even try to figure things out. She had a study guide for a social studies test that she had to do and then study from. Apparently, my daughter thinks I am the smartest person ever because she jumped right in with “I need help. Who was Augustus? What are the three reasons the Roman Empire fell? What happened in 476?” (Seriously? I can’t even remember what happened yesterday and I’m supposed to remember 6th grade social studies? The only Augustus I know is Augustus Gloop, the kid that fell in the chocolate river in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. She didn’t appreciate that joke.) What is even better is that I had the book so I told her that Augustus was the first Roman Emperor and she argued that he was not. I love when I try to help and then hear, “That’s not what was said in class.” She gets it in her head before she does anything that she doesn’t understand it or know it and then can’t stop crying long enough to actually study. As you can imagine, studying is not fun here and no amount of “help” or consoling eases her anxiety. Things don’t come easy to her. She has to work to get good grades so maybe that is it. I’m not sure but I’ll tell you what. I am not so much worried about her grades as much as I am worried about this anxiety. If we don’t figure something out, it’s going to be a long seven years (including this year).

Three kids and three different student-types. Weeknights are fun (can the italics be the sarcasm font?) in my house.

Even as I write that, I know that I am lucky that these are the only things I am dealing with at the moment. I worried about school with my oldest since he was in preschool and now that he is a sophomore, I realize it was a lot of needless worry. No one asks you what you got on your state project in the third grade or your landform project from fourth grade (both of which ended up with some pretty big meltdowns). The real worry came in middle school when the skills they were being taught were the foundations to what they were going to be taught later on.

I want my kids to do well in school, really I do but I think right now, with these three that I am working with, I’d be fine with a little less co-dependence, less Target runs and a lot less anxiety.

What about you? What kind of students are your kids?

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  1. says

    Fantastic post with great advice. Isn’t it so interesting that if you have two kids, they have totally different learning styles and if you have three…you’ll have three different styles. When Gia is in big school, I bet your count will be four!! They keep us on their toes, don’t they?!
    What I love about this is that you are so in tune with you children. You really “get” them. They are so lucky they have you to guide and help them. :) –Lisa
    The Dose of Reality recently posted..Pinterest Nightmare #157: The TV HatMy Profile

  2. says

    It must be an 11 year old girls thing because my oldest daughter is exactly like yours. She is in a magnet school for “Academically gifted” kids this year. It is the first time she has really been challenged in school. She cam home with her first INTERIM report and had a “B” in math (a 90) and was in tears. Homework frequently leads to tears or frustration. Her biggest struggle is math, partly because she has convinced herself that she is “no good at math.” I understand because math was the hardest for me , too. Therefore, she also thinks that I know nothing about math and that I am incapable of helping her. It’s already been along 6 weeks of school and I fear the next seven may be just as long!
    Lisa @ The Golden Spoons recently posted..The Road Not Taken . . .My Profile

    • says

      Math was my biggest struggle, too. Belle came home and said that the two tests she had today were really easy. She’s all smiles as she tells me she got and A on one of them and doesn’t know about the other one but it felt like she aced it. I wanted to be happy for her but the memory of the last three nights is still pretty fresh. How do I teach her that she has it in her? At least we have each other to talk to about it, right?
      AnnMarie Gubenko recently posted..Doing School Three Different WaysMy Profile

  3. Cindy says

    Ironically, it was my youngest, my daughter who was the most concerned with her grades and did the best in school. Her brother’s did okay but school was difficult for both of them to begin with plus it was not a high priority. Thankfully, we have moved on to the more “important” things in life like marriage etc. :) Son #2 is 27, engaged and works at Cabela’s -a large hunting, fishing sports store. It was his dream job but he only makes barely above minimum wage. What he wants is an easy job and get paid big money. Not sure you can do that without an education and do it legally. Daughter has a history major, English minor, does not want to teach but still is working as a cashier as that is all she can find in our area. Her husband has a good enough job that they don’t want to relocate.

    • says

      It’s funny how stressed out I was over assignments in middle school and looking back, they didn’t really matter. That made me laugh about doing it legally! Thanks so much for coming over here and supporting me!

  4. says

    It’s too early to tell with my kids, but I was totally the “Just Enough” student for years. Then I turned into “The Perfectionist” just in enough time to get into my top choice college. Whew!
    I’m sending my kids to their father for all homework/projects. I retired from homework a long time ago.
    Tamara recently posted..Ask Away Friday.My Profile

    • says

      Oh, how I wish I could just send them to Leo but he comes up with these complicated explanations that confuse everyone. I think he does it on purpose so the kids don’t ask him again. I was a “Just enough” student so it’s hard for me to get mad at Nico. I still do but I feel guilty since he got that gene from both Leo and me. :)
      AnnMarie Gubenko recently posted..Doing School Three Different WaysMy Profile

  5. says

    I have one of each too. My oldest does what he needs to do to get by in most of his classes, which usually means a B, and in the classes that he has a genuine interest in, like math and computers, he will work harder. My middle child is ultra competitive and wants to be at the top of her classes for everything. She doesn’t stress though if there is a setback…she just focuses on making sure that she gets a good grade on the next thing. A’s are super important to her. Then my youngest who also likes to get good grades gets upset and mopey if he ever gets a bad grade on anything. We never get upset so I don’t understand the pressure he puts on himself but I guess it is an internal thing! Never ends, does it?!
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  6. says

    I felt like I was nodding and going “Yes!” Yes!” the entire way through this article. My oldest is super bright but also the “just enough” student. My son is the self starter. I never had to ask him twice to do homework…although that doesn’t mean homework time is easy! I do think it’s great you have such a good pulse on how your kids learn and work – it’s key to understanding them and relating to them not only with school but with everything.
    Ilene recently posted..Good StuffMy Profile

  7. says

    I just love this post- and the wealth of knowledge you have because of the experience you have with each child!! I get it. Mine are similar with the ebb and flow of the days and weeks. Cass likes to get things done- but falls into the “just enough” category sometimes too! Cade CONSTANTLY asks for help- and I am trying to teach him independence and trusting his knowledge, even when he thinks he doesn’t know the answer or doesn’t get it. Homework is SO hard, and I already don’t UNDERSTAND my fifth graders homework!!! What to do? 😉
    Chris Carter recently posted..The Mother Of All MeltdownsMy Profile

    • says

      Thanks so much for coming over here and commenting! Gia is the same way over here. Super out-going here but shy in school. It will be interesting to see which category she’ll fall under.


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