School & homework he!!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by 'Chelle, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. 'Chelle

    'Chelle Active Member

    Since the start of this semester, mid-January, difficult child has been doing poorly. Seems depressed at home, no longer wanting to go to guitar lessons which he likes, not doing school work in science and history primarily but that has started to spread to all subjects. Have not been doing to therapist/psychiatrist as for over a year he's done very well. Had a meeting at school last Thurs., he didn't go Friday due to doctor appointments. I had said I would try get him to do homework, and Monday night this ended in meltdown and I stipped his room of electronics etc. Honestly I stripped his electronics primarily because he started hitting the walls and throwing things and I was afraid he'd break something expensive. I just don't think I can do the making him do school work thing anymore, my stomach has been upset for 2 days, and I cry over things at the drop of a hat. Got a call from the school counsellor right after I sent an email to his TA, he's not having a good day and they're considering sending him home. (copies of our emails the last day following if you want to read them) Will wait and see if he improves and if not will give me a call, which she has just done so I guess I'm off to school to take him home. I am so at a loss right now. Anything I'm missing, any suggestions? Just don't know what to do with this 6'1" boy/man child of mine.

    From: 'chelle
    To: TA
    Subject: RE: difficult child
    Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2009 11:40:23 -0500

    Hi TA

    The English assignment is not done. difficult child went to bed at 5:00, got up once at 10:00 for a drink, and went back to bed.

    I've now remembered why I've let most school related things be left at school and left to natural consequences. Trying to force these things at home doesn't work, hasn't really in the past, and creates a very unpleasant atmosphere at home where both difficult child and the rest of the family should be able to relax and interact as a family. I thought I would give it a try, but I'm not really willing to turn our evenings into a war zone over homework and school again. Will continue to try talk to difficult child about this, hinging of course on when he will actually talk to me as the last 2 days have made the home situation unpleasant to say the least. Will also remind and encourage him to do homework, and offer help if he will accept it, but the ultimate responsibility to get things done will fall on him. Failing classes and repeating may end up being the natural consequences of him not doing the work, and this will be his choice, which I have pointed out to him more than once. Honestly, you may have a better chance of encouraging him to do any work, as once home I think he feels school is done and has a hard time facing any more work.

    I have checked into private psychologists, and my insurance at work will cover about 4 sessions, after which we would be unable to bear the expense, and would have to look at going through C & Y which I believe has a long wait list. Am considering it for those sessions, but have to weigh whether that would do much good as it would take 4 sessions for difficult child to be comfortable enough to even talk to them. Have gotten the re-referral to psychiatrist and just waiting to hear from her office regarding appointments, but that could be 6-8 weeks for an opening, which of course will be near school end and probably not much help at this point. Right now can only keep working on turning difficult child around and hopefully getting through all the classes for this year. Next year I believe it IS imperative that he have resource both semesters, so that most school work can be done at school, and once the school day is over he isn't faced with having to do it at home.

    I do not want to seem like I am giving up on difficult child, I do talk to him frequently about how he will be limiting his choices for the future by not getting through school etc., and prod him every night regarding homework. However I have been forcibly reminded that trying to compel difficult child to do anything is futile, and won't return to how home life was in difficult child's grade 4 & 5 years. It's a been there, done that kind of thing. I cannot force the pen into his hand and make him do homework. If you have any suggestions, I'm open to trying them.

    Please share this email with School Councelor as well.



    Subject: RE: difficult child
    Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2009 16:23:39 -0600
    To: 'chelle
    From: TA

    Hello 'chelle, today for the most part difficult child and I just co-existed in a room together, but he was not beligerant or even that defiant, other than he wanted nothing to do with working. He seemed to be very social at break and at lunch, so after lunch in History class, I mentioned to him that I noticed he was being social. We talked a bit and he slowly came around.

    In science he tried to pull the "put my head down on the desk" game, but I talked to him about Science Teacher going out of his way to accomodate him, so I felt that difficult child needed to give him the respect that he deserved, and then I just left him. He opened his binder, and placed all his notes and handouts in his binder without incident, and payed attention in class. I seen him later for Driver Ed and we talked like we did before. I hope things are better at home this evening. The science test has been moved to fill in the blank, multiple choice and definitions part on Thursday and the short answer on Monday.

    In english, it would be good if difficult child could do his myth, even if it involves you doing it and asking him to come up with certain ideas or aspects which ppeal to him.

    I hope this help, and hope you have a great evening.



    From: 'chelle
    Sent: Tue 10/03/2009 8:57 AM
    To: TA
    Subject: difficult child

    Hi TA:

    I guess I got a little too optimistic yesterday afternoon. Last night difficult child refused to do any homework, started a little meltdown, I stripped his room of electronics etc. to which he said "what's the point of that, it's not going to make a difference." I don't know how much he slept last night, I know I slept less than 4 hours. husband just told me difficult child's slamming doors etc. at home, which means he's very late, and if/when husband gets him there I have no clue how he'll be. I would expect he'll be refusing to do anything. Will be calling School Counsellor to let her know this as well.

    Sorry about that. I'm at a loss at his point as to what to do.
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Does he take anything for depression? I think I'd be getting him in to see the psychiatrist AND the therapist to decide if he needs medications adjusted/added and/or therapy to help him deal with anything external that might be contributing to this.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    In my son's IEP, he does all his homework in school. All of it. He doesn't come home until it's finished. It's worked out well. I'm not a very good teacher and he comes home fresh and ready to relax. He's also on the autism spectrum and I think that he needs more "down" time than other kids. This way he gets it. I refuse to sit and fight homework wars. I don't feel they are good for the kid's mental health or for the peace of the family unit.
  4. robinm1922

    robinm1922 One day at a time

    Hi Chelle,
    I am at the same point with my difficult child, she is failing school this year. She was diagnosis with depression anxiety and some Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) tendencies. I just had her tested by a neuropsychologist doctor and he told me she has some more issues going on. I go back the end of the month for a full report.

    I made the decision to let her punish herself with school. She is the one that will fail, her friends will leave her behind and she will have to take all the same classes again next year. I can't do her work for her, I can't go to school with her and I won't be going to her work with her when she grows up. At some point (now is better than later) she is going to have to figure out how to push through life and self motivate. I talk to her all the time about pushing herself to get through class, to do the homework, to do class work. I think she has given up this school year, until I know exactly what we are dealing with I am keeping my feelings close to my chest.
    I would have him checked again, my difficult child had a bad "relapse" with her depression in October and was sleeping all the time. We haven't found the right medication yet because she is still sleeping a lot. She does that when she is in a depressed state.
    I hope all works out for you and your difficult child.
  5. Janna

    Janna New Member

    Yeah, I used to be a huge advocate of homework, but lately - screw it.

    I don't have any advice, Chelle - just a been there done that and I'm sorry. I hope you get some type of solution to the problem (doing it in school like MWM said is an awesome idea).
  6. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    I have been keeping out of the homework wars for a couple of years now and it works much better. With my difficult child 2/easy child it came down to her needing to feel she is in control. My reminders and nagging, etc. only helped to make her more oppositional. Not to say that it doesn't make me nervous though--she is slipping in her grades right now and I want to say, "you only have 3 more months to get through and you will be done (she is a senior in high school), just do it." But I say not a word.

    Good luck,
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am sorry this is such a battle. It certainly sounds like something is going on, seems like depression but you should have it evaluated by a psychiatrist.

    Do I understand correctly that for the English assignment about myths the TA thought that YOU should do it and just ask him for aspects and parts that appeal to him?

    I find that to be a VERY unprofessional request. Asking you to do your child's homework is just NOT ok. I could see typing it for him, even as he dictates it, or helping him with prompts or organizational help, but DOING it for him with just input from him on things he is interested in is TERRIBLE. This should certainly be addressed because you need to be sure the TA isn't doing his assignments for him.

    Maybe I read it wrong, hopefully I did. If so, I apologize for my statements. But just in case you should ask the TA about this.

    sorry it is such a battle. natural consequences such as summer school (which he should pay for at least part of the fees) or repeating a grade may be your only recourse.

  8. 'Chelle

    'Chelle Active Member

    Thanks all.

    Well, I went and took him home. He hasn't eaten much in a couple days either, just says he's not hungry, which to me is another red flag for probably depression. At first today he was refusing to eat again as he said he wasn't hungry. We had a bit of a talk at lunch time, well I talked he said a lot of I don't know, maybe, I guess. After which he said "will you order me a pizza, I'll pay for it." I went and got him pizza and when I got back he was sitting with his school binder open, looked like he was studying for the science test tomorrow. I don't know, I guess for today crisis is in abeyance, we'll see what tomorrow brings.

    gcv - he used to take Zoloft, hasn't for a couple years. Have got him an appointment for psychiatrist, for May 5, and on her cancellation list. Child/adolescent psychiatrists are in short supply and she's overbooked as is, so cancellation is a long shot. Meantime I've got him an appointment for Tuesday with regular doctor, to ask to start him back on the Zoloft. I asked difficult child if he'd be willing to go back on it, and he said I don't know, maybe. I just think waiting another 8 weeks for psychiatrist is too long, and want to start him right away. I see lots of signs of depression in him right now.

    MWM - yeah I think part of his success in first semester was his last class was resource room, where you can get extra help with problems. He used this class to primarily do homework. Then we had nothing to do at home to worry about. He has only one class he could drop to have resource this semester, which he said he doesn't want to drop (Applied Arts or sewing/cooking class, he loves cooking part) Next year there aren't a lot of electives he wants to take, so having resource both semesters will be good. Now just to get him through this semester and passed into next year. :anxious:

    robin - I see the depression in my difficult child at the moment too. I really think adding to this by pushing homework will just make it worse. Hopefully the doctor will go ahead with the zoloft right away, he did mention it last Friday when we were there and I should have asked for it then. It seemed to help difficult child when he took it before.

    Janna - yep, screw it is how I feel right now. I told difficult child he's now at an age where there's getting to be less I can do TO help him, he's got to want to get through it himself. A calm home life is more important to me right now, I think it will be more beneficial for us all.

    susie - read how she wrote it does seem her advise, and yes would concern me if I hadn't already talked to the teachers, vice-principal, counsellor, TA etc LOL. But that's not exactly it. difficult children biggest struggle is with abstract / imaginative assignments, hence usually his problems have come from english. Many assignments like this they sit down together and she questions him on the assignment, and writes what he says down, trying to do it in a manner that it comes out of his mouth in correct format for a written assignment. Then she hands him what's written down for him to go over, and he changes things that he thinks he could have said better. Other times, she just helps him go through the assignment so that difficult child understands what it's about, and he writes it out without other prompting. She showed me the "organizational chart" type thing they do together so he understands where he supposed to go with an assignment. This is done at the back of the class, with input from the teacher, so it's all good.
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    With the way you explained it, the help on the assignment seems exactly what many of our kids need. He is lucky to have a teacher willing to do this.

    I used to do similar things for Wiz. I would type what he said and ask questions about what he meant to say vs what he DID say, questions to get more detail, etc...

    I am glad that she didn't want you to just DO the assignment for him. We had several teachers who pressured parents and tutors to do this for kids, esp the ones on the school sports teams. It made me sick (I was one of the tutors).

    Anyway, I hope you can get into the psychiatrist sooner, or maybe have the pediatrician/family practice doctor start him on something until you can get in to see hte psychiatrist? It might work, esp it the doctor can call the psychiatrist about it. Then you would have 8 weeks to get the medication into his system and the psychiatrist could evaluate how he is when the medication is working well.

    Just a thought (hopefully a helpful one)

    This must be so hard for difficult child. Being depressed stinks.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    With Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), it's important for the work set, to be modified so it DOESN'T require them to do something they're not capable of doing. having to choose form a range of topics can be a problem; having to analyse a text with abstract concepts ("what do you think that character felt when the incident happened?") is just too challenging and frankly, will the child ever need it?

    Something to consider also - is it maybe time to pull the rug on school and work on an alternative career path? This has recently been suggested to us, we're going to set up a meeting with our adult education colleges here. A person can "go back to school" at one of these places and the support is much better than school. There can be apprenticeships also, plus other directions a person can take.

    There are always choices. And I do find the TA's response interesting - you write, "I can't do this at home, I'm opting out of homework battles at home," and the TA responds with, "just do it, and get him to help." What part of "this isn't working" did she not understand?