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Problem Solving => Grandchildren => Topic started by: JaneF on December 01, 2012, 03:26:59 AM

Title: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: JaneF on December 01, 2012, 03:26:59 AM
Hello you wise women.  I need advice on how to best help my 13 year old grandaughter with her schoolwork.  She has attention deficit disorder, but is a quiet, very well behaved girl. The teachers are fine, she likes them, and they have no problems with her other than she is shy.  We have been having her tutored 2 days a week in 2 different subjects, and one grade went DOWN a tiny bit!  Before that we were having her stay after school 1 hour a day 4 days a week for a help with homework period called academic lab.  No change. I have talked to her school counselor 2 times in the past week, and talked to 3 of the teachers that have her in a class she is struggling in. Monday we begin a change in plan!  Tutoring for 2 days then academic lab for 2 days (not available on Fridays). I plan to spend anywhere from 1 hour to whatever it takes every day as well to help her with homework (not DO it for her...guide her!  :D. Then we will also do extra time for study time for upcoming quiz and tests. She does NOT test well, which is where a lot of her problems start. I am trying to teach her better study skills so advice is welcome!  She sees doctor in a week to make sure ADHD meds are at needed dose...but I prefer to use least meds possible to get desired effect!  Her glasses are new, so that has been checked as well.  She sleeps well and goes to bed at 9 pm every night.  I have told her that when we are doing homework or study time...tv is OFF, no phone, no distractions!  Am I missing anything friends?  I just want her to succeed.  Please and thanks!  J
Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: jdtm on December 01, 2012, 05:39:08 AM
Maybe she has too much school work. Maybe she has too much pressure and stress.  And anxiety and/or ADHD can prevent a child from learning.  Some children require more time to "learn" - perhaps an extra year in elementary school might be beneficial. 

Our granddaughter suffers from severe anxiety.  She takes meds for her anxiety but these meds do not "cure" her anxiety; only take the "edge off" so that she is able to cope.  I wonder if your granddaughter might also suffer from being able to "learn" as easily as her peers (and keep in mind your granddaughter already has many years of poor learning so her storage of knowledge is probably low).  Our granddaughter's doctor says that "the right medication in the right dose does not change you, but corrects you".  And, as always, the lowest dose possible that produces good results is the goal.  We have learned not to fear the correct medication in the correct dose as her brain is "lacking" something.

As for tests - can your granddaughter write her tests in another room without a time limit?  Children with anxiety have what is called the "hesitation factor"; they are slower to respond and slower to complete to tasks.  Also, if the brain has to choose between cognitive issues and emotional issues, it will choose "emotional" issues every single time.  It is the way our brains work.

You are a kind grandmother who wants the best for her granddaughter but sometimes our "wants" are not her "needs".  I tried to "push" our granddaughter (after all, I am a retired teacher), but it did not work.  Too much help sometimes can be just too much.  And, even though our granddaughter is very intelligent, she is not a scholar nor does she excel at school (she is a senior in high school and will probably require an extra year to graduate).  But, we are so proud of her accomplishments and efforts.  And, they are "hers".  And she is going to do fine in life. 

Hope this helps ....

Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: DivaGirlDIL on December 01, 2012, 05:41:19 AM
Is she struggling to learn or is she struggling to pay attention?  From what I am reading it sounds like struggling to learn which to me says LD.  I say go get her tested for a learning disability.  Maybe she needs more help and sometimes Sped classes are helpful.  Hope that helps.
Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: luise.volta on December 01, 2012, 11:42:26 AM
I think the suggestions here are good ones and I don't have anything to add. I just think you are the worlds' best gramma! How different my life would have been if I'd had someone who gave a rip one way or the other when I was that age. My hat is off to you and my heart goes out to you, J.
Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: JaneF on December 02, 2012, 06:15:09 AM
Thanks for the advice ladies, and as always it was wise!  I spoke with a friend yesterday who is a teacher.  She also suggested telling the school I would like her tested for learning disability.  I agree with the statement she may have to "learn differently" if you will, or take untimed tests in another room...we will try what ever may work for her. I was very happy though after studying with her the day before her health quiz which was a bit challenging...she got a 100% on that test!  So she apparently is ABLE to learn, she just may have to do it in her own way!  What ever works for her is fine.  I also agree with the statements about the meds...thanks for those comments.  If she needs them adjusted, we will of course do that for her.  She is just shy basically, she does not seem to have any anxiety issues at this point.  Her elementary years were really ver good for her, she even got honor roll at times.  This is really the very first year she has struggled like this.  Kindergarten we did have her repeat like I said, simply because it was the best thing for her the school advised, and we agreed.  She will never be "a scholar" either, but she will be what ever she can be and we will also be proud of what she can accomplish.  She really is such a good girl.  Yesterday I had to order flowers for my Aunts funeral, tend to her meds, call the cable company, write out buills, do 4 loads of laundry, and I spent 5 hours cleaning in one of the rental properties...during this time she completed her chore list beautifully!  Without any complaint at all.  This is her normal way!  We are blessed to have her! I do give her chores, I think everyone in the home needs to work together!  Have a joyous day ladies!  J
Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: Pen on December 02, 2012, 02:56:20 PM
Testing through the school district is a good idea. They'll have resources for you and will be able to arrange the accomodations she needs.

She sounds like a super kid; the skills and attributes she already has are difficult if not impossible to teach. If she has those in place she's ahead of the game. Plus, she's got a wonderful, caring GM. Lucky girl!
Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: JaneF on December 03, 2012, 02:49:06 PM
Once again I took the wise advice offered by you fabulous ladies.  I contacted the school already, and am right now in the process of filling out paper work to get her tested for any possibility of a learning disability.  I really hope it is only an attention problem, or another med adjustment problem for her attention deficit disorder, but if it turns out to be a learning problem...we need to know that so we can then get her the best help possible.  We are covering all the bases!  She is having her after school snack right now, then we plan to start going over her social studies homework to see that she did it correctly.  We have to begin to study for a test in social studies, and the test is on Thursday...want to get several hours of study in for that!  Thank you so much for your responses once again, and Luise thank you for your very kind words.  I am simply just trying to treat others as I would expect them to treat me...such a simple concept isn't it?  My hope for the new year is that a lot more people would be nicer to each other (and I hope the great ladies here are treated better by those that do not treat them fairly).  What a much nicer world it could be.  I am getting excited about Christmas coming, and I guess it puts me in a mood to be kinder!  lol  I know...I am a dork!   Have a most joyous evening my friends.  J
Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: Pooh on December 04, 2012, 06:50:33 AM
Hey Jane!  You are such a good person and GM.  One thing I would suggest, is to look up on the internet "Learning Styles".  I teach classes (in this case to adults) many times a year, and I did a bunch of research on learning styles to help me get through to people.  Her learning style could be totally different than what they are using at school, which would also contribute to her struggling.

Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: JaneF on December 04, 2012, 07:27:25 AM
Thanks Pooh!  I totally understand the different learning skills issue...I myself have attention deficit disorder, but no behavior issues with it!  I have to learn differently than others, but I still manage to do my job as a dispatcher without difficulty!  I just have to take a step by step approach is all.  I worked hard in school, and I studied hard when I obtained my real estate license, and med tech certificate...so she CAN learn even if methods have to be changed!  THANK YOU ladies for the help...now that I took the paper work back to the school first thing this morning, we wait until we find out what tests will be given, and when and where etc.  I do not know about her being lucky...but I know my husband and I have been lucky to have her!  She is the apple of his eye, and I am quite fond of her myself!  Such a kind, gentle, nice, well behaved girl...well teenager now actually, as she is 13.  Have a fabulous day.  J
Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: JaneF on December 13, 2012, 06:59:57 AM
Good morning ladies!  Been a hectic week, but what's new right?  I am still waiting to hear a response on the asking for testing for my grandaughter.  I did send back paper work the school gave though the very day after I got it.  If they are testing her she hasn't mentioned it!  If I have heard nothing by weeks end I will call and check in with them.  The grandaughter continues two days a week in tutoring after school for 2 subjects, and they help check her daily homework too. Then the other 2 days she attends academic lab as I have said before.  She had a math test and brought it home yesterday.  She got a B-....I'LL TAKE IT!!!!!  lol  Compared to the almost failing scores she was getting, this was wonderful news!  We praised her of course, and I think a reward (Dairy Queen) is in order this weekend!  She adores the blizzards there.  She has a winter band concert Tuesday night, and we were very proud of her.  She played her little flute, and was all dressed up in her new dress and cardigan sweater, tights and dress shoes.  Can't believe she is growing up so fast.  Just wanted to report she has been working hard on improving her grades and I hope the testing will give us good answers (oh yeah almost forgot...doctor changed her dose on her attention deficit meds last Saturday, so we will see if there is a marked improvement or not.  She has had no ill effects from that thus far, yay!)  Have a joyous day ladies!  J
Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: luise.volta on December 13, 2012, 11:00:00 AM
J - Sending love...
Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: Pen on December 13, 2012, 09:53:53 PM
Good news! Thanks for sharing, JaneF.
Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: JaneF on January 05, 2013, 02:27:05 AM
Due to Christmas break, the testing for grandaughter will probably begin this coming week.  I had a meeting this week at the school with specialists and a vice principal, and a teacher.  I am pleased that the teachers all say she really IS trying, it is not being lazy on her part, nor is she just neglecting her school homework...and she is very well behaved too.  Her regular physician is also cooperating with this effort to help her!  We are all working hard to make sure she gets what ever is needed to help her with her education.  She excells at the fine arts...playing flute and keyboard, clay sculpting, charcoal sketch drawings, and computer art etc.  She struggles with comprehension we are all thinking in the core subjects mainly math, science and social studies.  The testing hopefully will give us more clues.  She still continues tutoring 2 days a week for an hour after school and 2 days a week for extra study and homework help in academic lab.  So 4 days a week of extra help...she is putting forth great effort and we are proud of this little gal.  J
Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: Monroe on January 05, 2013, 08:18:03 AM
Hey Jane!  You are such a good person and GM.  One thing I would suggest, is to look up on the internet "Learning Styles".  I teach classes (in this case to adults) many times a year, and I did a bunch of research on learning styles to help me get through to people.  Her learning style could be totally different than what they are using at school, which would also contribute to her struggling.



Jane - I just wanted to add my voice to Pooh's about Learning Styles.  People have very different learning styles.  I am very visual - not at all auditory.  If I read something, and SEE it, it imprints onto my brain and I remember it.  If somebody tells me something, it goes in one ear an out the other unless I take notes, and thus have some VISUAL record of the information.   

A friend's son was totally auditory.  He had to HEAR everything.  He also had attention deficit - and was easily distracted.  Particularly by things he saw as he was trying to listen.  The best way for him to learn was to close his eyes and listen to the teacher - so that 100% of his attention was on the auditory, which was effective for him.  Oh, the discussions that mom had to have with the teachers!  The kid would put his head on his desk, close his eyes and try to listen (this truly was his best learning style).  OF course he was always getting in trouble with the teachers for sleeping in class - but he was really just trying to shut out all the visual over-stimulation, and focus on what he was HEARING. 

Another friend's son had dyslexia - so reading was not that effective for him.  He actually needed to SAY the information himself.  Not merely listen.  He would get scolded for always raising his hand and wanting to be the one the teacher called on - he was told he needed to give the other kids a chance to participate (true - it's just that his learning style was to articulate the information himself) - anyway, he did best in very small classes where he was allowed to talk a lot without being accused of monopolizing the class. 

Some people also have a kinesthetic learning style - touching, feeling, doing.  I am somewhat this way.  If I drive somewhere myself, I learn the way.  If I am a passenger, I cannot possibly retrace my route, as it did not imprint on my brain because I was not the one DOING it. 

So - - - good luck with your grand daughter,  As Pooh suggests, look into learning styles - your grand-daughter may just need to learn in a different WAY than is currently being used. 

Best wishes.
Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: luise.volta on January 05, 2013, 11:44:38 AM
J - She is so lucky to have you! I had a serious learning disability that went undiagnosed and all that was done was to shame me. Shame on my teachers…and my parents, both teachers. When I entered college I was reading on a 4th grade level and I was second in my class at graduation. The "cure" by my being removed from a toxic environment.
Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: JaneF on January 05, 2013, 12:17:06 PM
Luise I know exactly what you mean about being shamed!  My husband went through the exact same thing in school as a child.  But he is one of the most capable men I have ever known!  He was one that aparently could have benefited by different learning techniques.  However, he managed to overcome all of that and has been successful in his adult life.  Thank you all for the responses and advice!  We will gladly use the information you provided.  My husband and I will scratch and claw to ensure this child gets what ever she needs to get a good education.  Our goal is to make sure she can be a self sufficient, responsible, productive adult...and a happy one too!  I'm sure she will accomplish those goals.  We are sitting here together today watching old VCR tapes of when she was an infant, and toddler...oh my gosh how we have enjoyed having her!  I hate to see her grow up so quickly.  It is funny watching the videos of her falling asleep on her sit and spin lol.  Have a most joyous day ladies!  I know I am.  J
Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: Faith on January 09, 2013, 10:37:25 PM
Hi Jane,
So often people who are not academic are brilliant at practical things. I don't know how things are done in the USA. In England the Education Authorities will provide what they call a statement, setting out what help a child needs. My GD had some problems and they got her a helper to sit in class with her. Much depends on the help a child needs. My GGD is very bright about 3 years ahead but has trouble fitting in. She has a mentor who visits her and she gets extra tuition. Thanks to my DD I can't see her at the moment, so I don't know what is happening this term.
I suspect it won't be long before she asks to come and see me.
I do hope you get something sorted for your dear GD. With your support and willingness to help, I am sure you will do.
(((HUUGS))) Faith
Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: JaneF on January 13, 2013, 07:41:42 AM
Testing has begun!  However, second quarter grade card showed improvement on grades due to tutoring and extra study after school!  Yay!  Her band teacher had asked some of the 7th grade students about a competition usually for high school grades only...and she said she would like to participate!  Awesome!  He chose a music piece especially for her to begin working on...I am very proud of her!  I look forward to hear her practice the song and accomplish the goal of learning it, as I know she will.  SHE just taught ME how to post photos and e-mail them and put them in my photos files on computer etc...lol.  She takes lots of pictures and makes videos with the camera/video recorder we got her from Christmas.  I posted a photo of our adopted dogs on a different post, but am going to put it on this one as well.  Luise, the black girl dog is part Corgi and part black lab (27 pounds), the blond girl dog is mostly Chihuahua, but mixed with a bit of rat terrier we were told (13 pounds I think).  They are a great addition to our family.  Blessings to all  J.
Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: luise.volta on January 13, 2013, 08:50:07 AM
Oh, they are darling! Thanks1 :D :D :D My Corgi mix is 19 pounds and my pure Chihuahua was 4! Both rescue. :-)
Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: Pooh on January 14, 2013, 07:52:37 AM
So sweet and that's great news!
Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: Kate on March 11, 2013, 04:42:34 PM
Hi Jane, any results so far?

Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: JaneF on March 11, 2013, 05:11:28 PM
UPDATE!  The school called me this past Friday concerning the testing results for my grandaughter.  I have a meeting with them to discuss the issues found on Wednesday morning.  And although I will not know exactly what they found until then, I was told there ARE problems. :-[  She will have an I.E.P. from what I gather.  She is still going to tutoring 2 days a week, then academic lab another 2 days a week, so there has been every effort made to help her improve, however she is still struggling some.  We will listen to what the findings are, then see what rcommendations there are...then go from there.  I will want to check out all possible avenues of course.  We have not told her anything yet of course...simply because we do not have all the answers to questions she may have.  We may ask for help in explaining some of the iussues, after all the professionals might have a better way to explain things.  I just want to make sure we keep a positive attitude for her sake, and let her know we will do all we can to help her.  Her regular physician that does her ADD meds said recently that even if she has an I.E.P. it may benefit her as far as college goes since there will be financial help for her education.  The adjustments in her meds helped a small amount, but did not "fix" her struggles.  Now we know there are other factors involved, but I am glad now that I requested the testing.  On a lighter note, we are excited because she is getting ready for her braces to be put on!  She has been looking forward to that!  We had her teeth cleaned last week to prepare, and she had no cavities at all, and no other problems with gums etc...YAY!  She is learning to play the piano (keyboard) and is using a computer program to do it all on her own...she is doing great!  She plans to play it in the talent show soon.  She will be playing the music to a song by Taylor Swift and the Civil Wars called "Safe and Sound"...lovely tune.  She is in her room practicing some songs to try out for Choir this month...hope she makes it of course.  There are soooo many kids though that try out, so we'll see what happens.  I am so looking forward to the spring season to arrive.  I'm needing the sunshine and warmth!  Hope you are doing well.  Luise I do hope this especially for you.  Blessings to you all.  J
Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: luise.volta on March 11, 2013, 07:14:02 PM
All of that sounds so encouraging. Please keep us posted on further developments, Jane. We are walking this walk with you. Also, thank you for your good wishes. Sending love...
Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: fangle on March 16, 2013, 07:30:34 PM
Hello,  Your DGD is so lucky to have such LOVE from you in her life.  With such dedication I am sure that there is nothing that she cannot achieve.  It is wonderful that you are helping her to pursue her interests in taking photos, using the camcorder, and music.  She sounds very artistic and creative.  Stay positive, you will get the answers you need and can move on from there.  Your dedication and love is nothing short of inspirational.  I wish that every parent and grandparent in the world had your gusto!  All the best and Good Luck! xo
Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: JaneF on March 16, 2013, 11:24:53 PM
What kind things to say!  Like I have said many times over the years though WE are the ones blessed to have HER.  lol  She has been a joy to raise thus far.  I do not know if I have told everyone yet about her testing results from the school...NO there is not a learning disability, but she has issues in step by step processes in some math, a bit of help is needed in organizational skills, and she does have the ability to do the work but she needs a bit more time to complete some tasks.  She was given an I.E.P., and they put down other health issues as the reason (premature birth, attention deficit disorder etc).  This is excellent news.  The only change for her as far as school (beginning in the fall so as not to disrupt her this late in the year) will be a study hall daily like she has now, but it will be a much smaller class so she can get more individual help and tutoring on homework etc.  In our meeting there were teachers and assistant principal, and they praised her a great deal and said she will be an employers dream because she works so very hard and never goofs off, she has a great work ethic and is very well behaved!  We are proud as can be of her, and he third quarter grades did raise up some, but staying after school for tutoring and academic lab 4 days a week for most of the school year has been a lot of work on her, but never a single complaint have we heard.  She is still practicing the piano and I cannot wait for the day of the talent show to hear her play (the school isn't aware she has taught herself!!), and a girlfriend who is in choir will sing the song while she plays!  She is trying out for choir, and one never knows of course if you will make it.  I hope she does though as she has picked a song from a favorite artist of hers and is practicing that too...she sings it very well.  We are sure struggling with the fact that she will be 14 in the summer, because the time has gone too quickly.  I wish we could turn back the clock and do all the fun things again!  She could do the hula hoop very well by age two, and it was so funny to see that toddler do that!  All the camping trips and gymnastics and tap and ballet were fun too.  I'd like to clone her!  Thanks again for the sweet words.  I need to try to get back on here and post and reply more...things have been a bit hectic though!  lol  Blessings to you all.  Luise I hope you are hanging in there, I think about you often.  J
Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: luise.volta on March 17, 2013, 06:47:53 AM
J - How wonderful that you see it as a blessing and privilege to be raising your GD. How many of us here would be experiencing very different lives now if we had had such caring concern when we were growing up. I hope she makes it to choir. The first time most of us get to be part of something greater…is usually very important in our development. When I was young…(back just before the War of 1812)…everyone in high school who wanted to got to take music and be in a singing group of some kind. There was the choir, mostly seniors, that got to travel and perform representing our school, and there were various glee clubs, too, for most freshmen and for those who had more enthusiasm than talent. Great plan! You have been gifted, from my point of view, with deep compassion and selflessness. Sending love...
Title: Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
Post by: fangle on March 17, 2013, 07:10:24 AM
I have my fingers and toes crossed for her choir auditions and hope she breaks a leg with the piano performance with her friend singing with her! xo