Author Topic: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school  (Read 6722 times)

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Offline JaneF

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Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
« 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

Offline jdtm

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Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
« Reply #1 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 ....


Offline DivaGirlDIL

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Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
« Reply #2 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.

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
« Reply #3 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.
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

Offline JaneF

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Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
« Reply #4 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

Offline Pen

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Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
« Reply #5 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!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline JaneF

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Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
« Reply #6 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

Offline Pooh

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Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
« Reply #7 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.

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline JaneF

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Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
« Reply #8 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

Offline JaneF

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Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
« Reply #9 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

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2012, 11:00:00 AM »
J - Sending love...
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

Offline Pen

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Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2012, 09:53:53 PM »
Good news! Thanks for sharing, JaneF.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline JaneF

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Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
« Reply #12 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

Offline Monroe

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Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
« Reply #13 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.

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Grandaughter struggling terribly in school
« Reply #14 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.
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher