My 9-year-old is very behind in school: Advice?

I have a nine-year-old son who is seriously behind in school. He was retained in 1st grade because he was not ready to move up, and he already has an IEP in place at school per my request. The school has been wonderful in working with him and me. My problem is with his father. We had a very messy divorce. He tried taking him away from me even after the Judge told him that would never happen. We ended up with 50/50 custody, which is what I requested in the beginning. He was fired from the sheriff’s department in part because of the way he acted and abused his authority during our divorce. He is a true narcissist. He won’t/ doesn’t or refuses to work with him on his schoolwork and has not once signed his planner this year. He needs a lot of help in math and reading. The school sends home one sheet of homework a week on Friday to be turned in the next Friday and asks that we read with him 20 minutes as night. So I spend most of my time with him trying to complete his homework and read. I am at my wits end with this! Our son is falling further behind in school, and talking to his father is impossible. I can not afford another legal battle, and I can not find a second job that will allow me just to work when my son is with his father. (it took two years and over $10,000 the first time.) I have thought about calling Child protective services, but I am not sure if that would help or hurt the situation. Any advice on how to deal with this would be appreciated.


Talk to the school and have his work sent home when he’s with you. Or emailed to you. At same time I would be getting ahold of the friend of court or whatever your court is and talk to your worker. And don’t be afraid to turn him in where you have you. As long as you have the paperwork and documents to back yourself up your good

1 Like

I had a child that use to struggle at school too. If you can I would see if the school would have him psych assessed. If he falls within the guide he will be granted a teachers assistant. Put him in all extra learning activities at school too. I bought a program called jolly phonics and I had it hung in his room and in the toilet, along with times tables. Don’t overwhelm him with too much when he gets home. If his dad won’t listen to him read maybe you could get stories another way. If he has access to a computer I’m sure there are online books he can read that can help him. His dad is only hurting his son and he’s being a dick! I would let the school know what’s going on and they will help you I’m sure. My son is now 18 and after years and years of worry he’s turned around gained himself an apprenticeship. Things have a way of working themselves out. Remember down time and playing games is important too and sometimes teachers load the kids up with work they don’t need to do. As his mother you should know what’s best and what works for your boy. Good luck


My Mother is a Spec Ed teacher if you have a child that needs help with reading you can use a program call Star Fall .com it is a free program and will help with his reading. My middle son is Autistic and she started him off on this program when he was in first grade and now he is high school and reads beautifully.

Does his IEP need to be reassessed by chance? My son had one in place, and he was placed in a 6:1 classroom which seemed to help. We were also fortunate to have a school counselor who worked really closely with us to keep us informed and updated frequently. I would try CPS, it can’t hurt to ask them if they can do anything.

1 Like

Do what ever it takes to get him where he needs to be. It will be a lot less costly than trying to fix his life later. There may be after school programs. Or a teacher who is willing to work with him. Even if you have to pay a tutor. I know lawyers are expensive. But if that’s what it takes, you got to do what you have to do. But I don’t think I would involve CPS unless a lawyer tells you to. Every state is different. Some states are about taking kids and putting them in foster care. They count them as ‘children CPS saved’. If you say he is unfit and he says you are unfit. There is a chance, at least in some states, that CPS will say both are unfit. They have a service plan they get you to sign, that may not be in your or your sons best interest. He really needs to get caught up in school. I know kids that fell through the cracks. They would skip school because they were so far behind, they did not want the other kids to think they were stupid. They would get in trouble, sent to the office r suspended, because that was better than looking stupid.
Can you possibly get it set up so you can connect online with him , video chat or something when he is at his fathers to do his homework?


You have to do what’s best for your child. And in this case, it sounds like 50/50 isn’t working for your son.

Do right by him. Get him tutoring and into therapy.


I would see if the school could have a meeting with dad or have a meeting with the two of you on how important it is that he gets his work done.

Talk to you school director of special needs children… Let them know what is going on in his life. If no help child services.

Is there anyone at the school who would talk to him? Sounds like he will keep this up to punish you, but if he has the attention of the public, perhaps that will get him to behave, at least for a while since he will want to look like the good parent


Maybe see if there is an after school program in his school it really helps . Maybe just the days his dad has his so he does get that extra work . Or try hooked on phonics kids edition

1 Like

see if the teachers can help you, maybe just completing the work will be ok w them even if its not turned in on that friday.

my husbands ex is all about what needs to be done in school yet shes not doing anything with them its all my husband and i on the weekends… basically to punish us so she can be the “fun one” all week… too bad i have access to the school info per my husbands request and communicate w everyone on what needs to be done and what we need some time with!

What’s his diagnosis for the IEP?

YOU need to focus on your son and help him as much as you can. Next, get tutoring for your son.

My SS was reading at a 3rd grade level going into 10th grade- we sent him to Huntington Learning Center for a year. He left reading at an 11th grade level. Tutors Near Me | Locations :: Huntington Learning Center Tutoring & Test Prep

I think it’s pretty heartbreaking that he won’t even take the time out of his day to sign his sons planner. Sounds like you should talk to the judge about giving him less visitation if he can’t make sure he’s doing his part in helping his son achieve his milestones


Awe! Sending love! Just focus on what YOU can change leave the narcissist out of it. You can only do for your son what you can do! Maybe looking into reselling for extra cash while he is at his Dad’s. (Lots of YouTube videos on this subject) what is your Son’s strengths go from there. Remove any electrics till his grades come up. Wish you could come to a meeting of the minds with his father maybe try a group session with the school counselor.

Sadly this is further evidence why Shared Custody, rarely works.
Sounds like dad wants to be your sons “fun & games…” friend, instead of his Dad…

Keep your chin up mama bot sure if this will help or not but have you tried time4learning or mi academy. They are two amazing websites that may help your son learn in a different way. I wish you all the luck in the world

As a foster parent DO NOT get Dfcs involved if not necessary. I work with PEC, learning disabilities and IEP students in 6th grade. Reading needs to be the focus, if reading is weak all areas will struggle. You can only control your end. Communicate with his teacher. I personally would move Mountains to work with a parent, too often I’m not informed until it’s too late.

1 Like

Why would you call CPS? For what reason?