difficult child's soo behind

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Jena, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. Jena

    Jena New Member


    i'm frustrated. difficult child is probably going to be held back. we have the tutors in our home yet school's only willing to give us one hour per week per subject. which is nothing with the workload that we have. kids in school do 45 min a day on each subject sometimes 2x a day.

    so we have literally piles and piles of work. this week, spring break is the one week we dont' have an influx of work from the school. it's like we sort of get caught up a bit than get hit with a ton of new work.

    so i told the tutors leave me a bunch of work, new work new topics new chapters. i said difficult child doesnt' respond well at all with me regarding schoolwork. she doesn't respond well to tutors anymore either. but i'll try my best.

    today it took 3 hours to get her to take a shower and get her in her seat at her desk lol. now she's had spanish infront of her umm 2hours screaming i dont' get it. meanwhile the answers are on the sheet to the left.

    i told her you had better wake up little girl. do the work or do the 6th grade in september. your choice.

    she's like a two year old sits there cries carries on, all just attention seeking bs. tutors did a report on her behavior during sessions, the two most challenging subject tutor wrote needs constant redirection, doesnt' take initiative, is constantly running to bathroom all bad junk.

    she's in avoidance mode therapist has taught me it's how she handles it all, she is extremely verbal doesnt internalize yet avoids life.
  2. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    Has she had a neuropsychologist exam?

    When my daughter was in school, she would act like that about math. I thought it was just behavioral but it turns out that she has some severe processing problems. Now that she is working with a tutor that understands that, she is doing much better.

    Maybe your difficult child is acting that way from frustration over not being able to do the work instead of not wanting to do the work.

    My daughter still gets anxious over the idea that she might not get to go back to the same grade. That threat might be backfiring on your difficult child, too.

    Has the school told you she would have to stay back? Our tutor told me that usually it is hard to get a student put into a different grade than their age. The schools like to have them in the "right" grade and then provide services at their level. Mine hasn't been in the public school so maybe it is different if the school decides the student didn't pass.
  3. Jena

    Jena New Member

    she has neuro pysch years ago. it's behavioral, especially here in the home. it's pure laziness, need for attention etc. it's a hard habit to break since she's played this game since umm pre k lol. she can totally do the work she just avoids which than adds to the anxiety. like a vicious cycle.

    so it took us 3 hours yet we got caught up with spanish she cried, whined yelled thru it told me i'm so mean and nasty lol. now we're working on science just gave her a break to eat lunch. had to entice her with-a nice lunch to get her to finish one sheet of work.

    for example the science and math i'm doing with-her is from january just to give you an idea how backed up we are. we dont' have enough tutor time so now it's falling on me. i used to teach yet i cant do this with my own kid she acts differently with me than a tutor. lotta fun lol. also when she was hospitalized twice she did barely no school work. both times she wasnt' even close to medically sound enough to withstand it

    told her im doing this for you so u can graduate, so help me help you!!!! :)
  4. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Is knowing the sheer amount of work that needs doing also adding to her anxiety? You look at a mountain of work, and you know if you don't get it all done by X you're going to have to do it twice, so what's the point of doing it on the first go-round if you can't get it all done anyway?
  5. Jena

    Jena New Member

    i can modify the work. i break it into chunks for her very tiny ones. yet she's a nitemare truly. i sat there for 30 min explaining something gave her different ways of looking at it, etc. ways she'dget. i give her 3 questions before she even tries she screams i don't get it. she gets it she's just lazy. i want to watch tv. i'm hungry again. i need water, i have to pee.

    i lost it screamed at her it's simple either do the work or go into 6th grade in september. it is your choice, i've had enough. i walked away nwo let's see what she does. her tutors go thru same, shes lazy, has zero interest. she's reluctant to do absolutely anything that involves effort yoga, exercise since shes' huge now, walking, horseback riding. laziest kid i've ever seen lol.
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We have a rule with difficult child 3 - "school work during school hours". No watching TV (unless it's a documentary relevant to his work). No skiving off. Even if he is sick - the only way out is to sleep, and he only sleeps if he is really ill with a fever.

    What I find helps, is to focus positively on the work that has been done. difficult child 3's worksheets are numbered, and it is a big thing when e get to double figures for any subject, even though it is supposed to be one sheet per subject per week.

    I also second the suggestion to get her assessed for mental processing. If she's skiving off, the tests will show it for sure. But if there are other problems, the testing could then force the school to provide better coverage with tutors.

    We've just been through this with difficult child 3 - we had no idea he had deteriorated so much in such a short time. Knowing the fine detail now, will give us some sense of direction in what to do for him. Before that - we were shooting blanks in the dark.

  7. Jena

    Jena New Member

    it's so much. after i yelled guess what she did the work. i'm telling you there's nothing stopping her but herself. we're almost done for the day. she has to work harder, longer, etc. so that we can get her into next grade. she as i said only has 1 hr a week each subject after they leave i fight with-her to do more work she just does hw.

    it is beginning to feel hopeless. i just went into math pile. math work is from november in there. a tutor can only cover so much in a hr a week. it's impossible. we got a handle on the language part and english isn't that bad off. the math and science are out of control backed up. emailing again monday for more tutor time for both subjects. i just dont think it's possible at this point to get her into 7th grade.

    their doing reviews soon in school for end of year tests and we're working on november??? i told the tutor modify it all, i'm serious. each pack has like ten pages in it. cover the main concept get she gets it move onto next packet. last week i told her and she said i can't do that she really isnt' grasping it fully. i said you aren't getting it, we have to move light speed she doesnt' have to know it like the back of her hand. gotta talk to tutor again on monday. i'm going to piece out her work and tell her what she's doing with-difficult child.

    no one's taking control of the situation. school tells me modify, tutor fights me on it, i requested more tutor time i get yea yea yea we'll get back to you. round and round we go. this would be alot for any kid yet for a difficult child well ya know............... :)
  8. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    So would it be horrible if she had to repeat sixth grade? I think based on my experience that you are setting yourself up for major heartache and failure. It is just becoming another power struggle. You are still having power struggles over even more basic things like bed time etc. I would back off substantially. You need to find a way to deal with her that doesn't engage in the power struggle. Because ultimately you will lose if she is determined enough and you set up all sorts of horrible family dynamics.

    Let the school figure out what classes she needs to be in next year. Many of us because of our kids mental health challenges have put schooling somewhat in second place.

    My son went through major school refusual for many years. We pulled our hair out and tried just about everything. Finally things deteriorated so badly that he ended up in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) where for the first time he has been engaged in the classroom for the entire year.

    I'm giving you advice which I probably shouldn't be but rather than struggling to get difficult child to do things (other than want is necessary for her health, like eat), I think you might want to focus on what you need to be doing for you and what boundaries you need to set for yourself so that you can have a life. Your whole life revolves around her.

    Having been there, believe me, I know that it feels like you need to be on top of the academic piece. But it will come if you get the mental health piece in place. Right now it is just another struggle that your difficult child is probably taking some kind of perverse pleasure in. I wouldn't let her sit around and watch tv all day long, I wouldn't bribe her to do work, but if she wants to earn some rights to things like tv or computer or whatever, she needs to complete a certain amount of work and chores (like taking a shower) each day. You don't need to nag her, just hold firm and don't argue etc. She may come around or she may not. It will give you some insight into her level of functioning.

    Right now you are locked in a battle of wills it feels like.

    I know it costs a lot of money, but it may be worth having difficult child go through neuropsychologist testing again just to see where she is at and what you are up against.

    At this point the battle over school just isn't worth it. If she is bright and doesn't have major learning challenges she will come around and learn what she needs to eventually.
  9. OK, I am newly returned to this site, so bear with me if I ask questions you have previously answered.

    I am assuming difficult child is homeschooled?

    Does she have an IEP?

    Have you had her tested for learning disabilities?

    Is the work just too hard for her, maybe she needs an educational evaluation?

    If I was trying to homeschool my difficult child (God help us all! lol) I would limit her work to her tested level (not just her age/grade level) and would majorly modify the work load. There is no sense in trying to force a child through tons of work if they are upset or in a snit, no learning will be happening anyways.

    Hugs and good luck! Vickie
  10. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I agree with what Pepperidge says.

    My daughter has been homeschooled for 4 years due to health issues. There have been lots of times that we weren't able to get much done due to her health. Sometimes we questioned if she could do more and pushed her hard, which did not go well for any of us. We had scenes like you are describing.

    Now, we have made some medication changes and she is actually asking for more work so she can get caught up.

    She wants to go back into the same grade. husband and I would prefer to see her go back a year behind so the work load is smaller and less stressful. We don't even know if she will be able to go back in the fall so we are not pushing the issue either way.

    It might not be bad for your daughter to go into 6th Grade. If nothing else, she might be starting over with a new group of kids that might not be so familiar with her illness.

    I think if you can get her other issues under control, the school part will follow.
  11. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    Your school district has only one middle school, right? If it doesn't, perhaps you can consider having her do 6th grade at another middle school where she doesn't know anybody? Maybe she could go to 7th but in a smaller, out of district environment with the goal of getting her back in district for HS?

    As for the tutoring, my school district only gives one hour per week per subject as well. I think that's standard. Maybe you can contact the HS and see if any honor students would be interested in tutoring her. Some programs do it for free for community service credits, others allow a charge but it's usually reasonable. Maybe a HS student would relate better to her and she would be more willing to work for them.
  12. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Bucking the trend a bit here but I am never in favor of holding a kid back. Every study you care to look at shows that, no matter how "good" the reasons, when you hold a child back you increase their risk of dropping out by = well you pretty much are looking at a future drop out.

    The older the child the greater the risk that they will not graduate.

    And holding them back, even if they do graduate, has not been shown to be an effective intervention.

    I realize I don't know the back story here but I found myself wondering...

    Why is she not in a stand alone ED classroom for them to deal with this and take you out of the equation?

    Why is she getting special lunches if she isn't doing her work?

    Why hasn't her IEP been modified/updated with some different strategies since the current one is clearly not successful if she still hasn't done work from November?

  13. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I 100% agree with Patricia. Retention at her age is a lose/lose scenario. She would be far better served being place in an ED/Learning Disability (LD) classroom.

    (Side note: I am in favor of retention in K and 1st because if the maturity isn't there, forcing them through doesn't help them mature, but once they are established with their peers, being held back is fatal to their self-esteem.)
  14. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    Unless the school is threatening to hold her back, which I doubt, I think as other posters have said, she will hopefully be dealt with appropriately in an ED/Learning Disability (LD) classroom. Perhaps I should have said that it isn't the end of the world if she falls a bit behind on her studies. We are getting sidetracked from the real issue. Threatening her with holding her back probably isn't motivating her. She is where she is in terms of her learning and when her mental health issues get addressed she may be able to make major learning leaps.

    The issue is whether a constant struggle on the homefront to get difficult child to do her work is helping either difficult child or Jen. Doesn't seem to be. Some battles are not worth engaging in. Frankly it seems to me for this kid to have the chance to go to school and catch up on her work her daily life needs some regulation--normal bedtime, normal time waking up. Maybe not a whole lot of school work. Does she read books? Maybe she just does reading of her choice during the day with the goal of getting her regulated to a sufficient point that she can think about going to school successfully next year.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2011
  15. Jena

    Jena New Member

    we'll c. school is threatening to hold her back right now that's why 'im pressing hard. yet today she wouldn't budge. total shutdown i'll try again tmrw. she has routine wake sleep thing in place, rest of week is routined with tutors therapy except this week due to spring break. she can do the work i've seen it. she's in avoidance.

    you have to understand anything that's too hard or requires effort she avoids. she gave up horseback riding it required effort, thought. she refuses to exercise or do yoga again effort, schoolwork same. she'd be good eating all day watching tv and on her laptop. i told her i want to help you yet this is horrible......... i said i'll help you and i do sit there and try to help yet she refused today hands down.

    i can tell you now she will not re enter that building at all if its' back to 6th grad.e i know her well and she simply won't go. she'll go into full shutdown. so that's why i'm pushing it the way i am. you have to realize it's just this week also. tutors usually handle it yet their off this week. it's the first week we have the chance to get caught up, no work from school accruing so i thought great opportunity. yet again she's lazy. i'll read rest of responses later going Occupational Therapist (OT) take her and dogs for walk
  16. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    If she enjoys her laptop, have you looked into online schooling? She may be more motivated if she "controls" it.
  17. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    When I was trying to do the homeschooling myself, I found it worked best to give B a list and a time limit. Not a time limit for it to be done, but meaning after a certain amount of time, she could stop, even if she wasn't done.

    We still do it this way, even with the homework she has from the tutors.

    My daughter has found her motivation and her abilities improving probably due to a combination of things. I really credit her medication change the most with her improved capabilities, but our changed approach could have an impact also.

    It has definitely helped my relationship with her for me to back out of the teaching role.
  18. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    And why isn't a standalone ED/Learning Disability (LD) classroom on the table for her? Given your description, that sounds like the most appropriate placement right now. There shouldn't even be any discussion or argument about it from the school district. Clearly she is experiencing significant anxiety and school refusal.

    Frankly Jena, having homeschooled my twins for 2 years while difficult child 2 was really sick and now dealing with school refusal in difficult child 2, in my experience you cannot be "nice" about your expectations. If she's "lazy" then there must be significant consequences for that. No TV, no nice meals, no computer time for fun, no new clothes, ultimately no door to her room if that's what it takes. And it sounds like you are being too nice - if you are going to take that approach.

    I know things have been way crazy stressful there. That is why I think she needs to be at school instead of at home. You do not need the additional stress and she needs the structure and consistent expectations/instruction.

    As for the workload and being held back.

    There is no way she is going to stay on track with tutors 5 hours a week no matter how much you work with her at home unless she does another 15 + hours of homework independently of the tutors being there. 3 hours a day might be realistic if she were engaged, motivated and given consistent and adequate instruction and independent assignments. That is not happening and she is going to fall farther and farther behind.

    If she's that far behind in 6th grade and has developed this kind of resistance already - well it's not good.

    I feel bad for you but I don't think this is how you want things to be and you need to find an alternative approach now.

    Her IEP should have ESY built in for either private tutoring or paid tutoring in the community all summer if you stay on this course.

    Or she needs a non-public year round school placement. That is probably really and truly what would be best if I understand the situation.


    Last edited: Apr 20, 2011
  19. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    if she is totally resistant to schooling, then I think as Patricia suggests, you are probably looking at some form of day if not residential treatment.

    I don't believe that children are naturally lazy---I wonder if she is enjoying the power struggle, or if the work really is difficult for her--maybe her anxiety is keeping her from functioning. but if you can't get her through the school door next year then you acting as tutor is probably going to go nowhere fast.

    Struggles over school are best left to outside the family because it is so detrimental to parent child relationship.
  20. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I agree. As a former teacher (and also a student who was very interested in learning but very uninterested in school), I would say that a punitive approach is not a good method of inciting a child's motivation. You can lead the horse to water but you really cannot MAKE it drink. Effective learning is linked to confidence; students that are demoralised and lacking in confidence will not learn. Inspiration and relaxation also play an important part.
    So far so good. How you actually inspire and motivate your daughter I'm not in a position to say... Where is her life going, what is her future, what does she need to do in terms of studies? Where do her interests lie, beyond the leisure activities? Is home schooling an option?