Some Improvement, I Think

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Bunny, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    difficult child started middle school this year, and he is learning the hard way that middle school is a completely different animal that elementary school.

    They have to take mid-term exams in all of their core subjects and they are all next week. So, on top of any homework that difficult child had over the weekend, he was also told to study for the upcoming tests. I could not believe when he came to me on Thursday and said to me "I need to talk to you", which is usually not a good sign, coming from him. So, he sat down on the couch next to me and said that he needed help. The mid terms were next week and he was get all upset beause there was SO much for him to do and he didn't know how to do it all. Could I help him get organized and help him study for the tests?

    Of course I told him that I would help him with anything that he needed, but this is real progress for difficult child. A few weekends ago he was was having a total meltdown on a Sunday night beause he knew he had alot of homework that weekend, and while I kept telling him to start doing it, he didn't want to think about it until he realized that he had to face it and by that point he was so overwhelmed with it all that he just melted. For him to come to me and admit that he needed help? I was impressed.

  2. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Ok, how do we clone the attitude?!! That's fantastic news Pam...I love that he recognized that organization is lacking and that he came to you for help...that's amazing!

    I'll be saying extra prayers for him that Mid-terms go well...what an impact it would have on him if you help him get organized and he does well on the tests. It would be a major lesson learned!

  3. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Way To Go. I hope he does really well.
  4. ML

    ML Guest

    This is great. I hope manster comes to me with a similar realization later this year when we start MS.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Even with study, however, difficult children need to do it differently. One option to begin with, especially if he is a competent reader, is to get him to just read through his notes on his work, preferably summaries. Also a technique I use for difficult child 3 (who still isn't good with study) is to find one problem, really difficult, and work through that (with help if necessary). If he can do that, he can do the whole topic. If he can't do it, he needs to pick something a little easier. When he finds the level he can work at, he then works back the other direction towards more complex problems.

    Sounds like great progress.

  6. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    WOW! Your middle school on LI gives mid-terms? Mine doesn't and I sort of wish they did because it would give the kids a head start on long term studying, which doesn't happen here till HS.

    When my son, who's also in 6th grade, has a unit test, I sit with him and go through his textbook. I ask him all the review and HW questions and to define the highlighted words. I do this for science, history and foreign lang. It's hard for me to study math with him because I stink at it. I usually ask difficult child, who's math gifted and in 11th grade honors, to answer his questions. For English, I go over vocabulary and grammar with him; he's spelling exempt.

    I agree that it's great that he approached you for help in sufficient time to make a plan. Just remember that in most places, 6th grade doesn't count for the whole rest of their lives.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    WOW! That is an awesome step!! I am glad your son asked for help. That is HUGE and he is WAY ahead of most other kids his age!!! I hope he does well on his midterms.
  8. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm super impressed! How great that he realized he needed help, asked, and didn't melt!
  9. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    I was pretty impressed with it, myself. He keeps telling me that is really nervous about the tests and I just keep telling him that as long as he studies all he can do is his best. I'm not crazy about his study methods, but if I try to tell him that he should do it another way he starts to get crazy. He still has HUGE control issues. He wants to be the one to decide what he studies and when. So, I help him with what he wants help with and let him try to get by with the rest. We'll see how it goes. Generally, he's a really good student so I am confident that he will do well. He thinks he's going to fail miserably and that is what he can't get out of his head. Another "stuck" thought, so to speak. I reminded him last night that all along the way so far this year he has worried about all kinds of little things and that none of them was actually as bad as he thought it would be, and that the mid-terms would probably be the same. I hope so, anyway.

  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    A way to help him deal with those stuck thoughts - explore them together. "OK, you think you will fail. So if you fail, what will happen? Your teacher knows what you are capable of, so you will probably get an assessment mark. But let's say you won't get a passing assessment mark either. What would happen then? Why don't you ask your teacher if you're not sure. What is the absolute worst that can happen? The sun will still come up. You will still be alive, with a roof over your head and food in your belly. You will have results you can look at to learn from, so the next time you would do better because you would have learned where you went wrong."

    The nest thing, after he's looked failure square in the face, is to then say, "Now, that is the worst case scenario. Anything from there is a bonus. Whatever you manage to study now, will help. Any improvement in your exam technique, will help a great deal. But it will be OK to not get full marks. If you Do get full marks it means the exam was not a good test of your capability, because it did not fully explore the limits of what you can do. It's important for a test to find those limits, because it's only then that teachers can know what direction to take your learning. That is one of the main purposes of exams."

    He needs to have this understanding in his head, and to do this he needs to be able to face his fears and explore their possible consequences.

  11. Jena

    Jena New Member

    that's great!! yup huge huge difference. yay for you guys!!!
  12. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Marg, that is a really good way to look at it. Actually, I tried that a little bit. He told me that he was afraid that he would fail and I told him that if he did his dad and I would still love him the next day and that if he did fail (which I doubt he will but that's another story) we would find a way to tweak his study habits and do better the next time. But you took it farther and I think that would be good for him to look at.