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  1. #1
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    Aug. 2, 2000
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    Chesterland, OH USA
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    Unhappy Parent-Teacher Conference just made me sad

    I just got home from school conferences and I am in tears.

    I know you aren't supposed to compare your children against each other. I swear, I am not.

    My 7 year old son is struggling in second grade.

    He is not doing well.
    He hates to write - it has even brought him to tears at school.
    He struggles with some math, like making change.
    He has to be prompted a lot to do class work.
    Homework is a fight with him 75% of the time.

    My 10 year old daughter is a straight-A, self-motivated, rule follower. This means I have no idea how to parent my son. I cannot take credit for my daughter's success - she is just like this. I was just like her growing up.

    How do I help my son?
    His teacher did not offer any suggestions other than telling me to find something he wants to write about and make him do flashcards.
    I told her I don't know how to help him.
    When I asked questions, she answered with questions..."Does my son need some other kind of help?" "Do *you* think your son needs some other kind of help?"
    I don't know - I know he hates to do homework, especially writing, but I didn't know he was getting an "NI" in math (which is apparently equivalent to less than 74%), and several "3's" in writing (which is out of a 1-3 scale).



  2. #2
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    Mar. 22, 2012
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    Houston Area, TX
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    For the homework - is there a topic he's really passionate about? That can be the key. One teacher I heard of had a student who just didn't work until she realized he was obsessed with World War II. Then she put everything into World War II terms - math problems, writing assignments, everything. Presto, he learned, because she tapped his passion. If he likes reading, you could get him to read a lot and then have him try to write stories about his favorite characters (that worked for me).


    2 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
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    Jun. 14, 2006
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    VA
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    Could your son be evaluated and possible get on an IEP?

    Would he benefit from a tutor? Cute college gal who can swoon over and want to please by doing homework?
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


    5 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
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    Jun. 15, 2010
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    It's okay!! My younger brother was very much like this and struggled a lot in elementary and middle school. The key for him was finding a tutor who understood how to engage him and break down the material in a way that way less overwhelming. One of my parents also sat down and worked through his homework with him every night and created incentives for good performance and good effort.

    My brother will never be a straight A student but he is doing well in high school. His niche is in programing and he writes code at a level that blows away the professionals. At 17 he designed and manages 3+ nonprofit websites, runs a website that brings in monthly revenue, and built a computer from the ground up. He is also on his way to being an eagle scout.

    Being behind is not a sign that your son will never succeed. It is an indicator that the current methods are not working for him. Finding a good tutor or even a teacher who is willing to help him outside of class will enable you to determine where are his weakness and strengths. He needs to be encouraged about his strengths and understand that his academic weaknesses are not a reflection on his intelligence or ability to succeed in life.

    I am sure that people will have recommendations for good books and online resources that are targeted towards this because this is not an unusual occurrence. Children learn material at different rates.


    23 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
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    Jun. 14, 2006
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    VA
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    FWIW, I was like your daughter. Straight A's, advanced classes, driven, never got help from parents.

    My middle brother STRUGGLED. I mean, he couldn't read in 2nd grade. Once we found the right combo for him of teaching and such, he still had to work hard, but did better.

    By the way, he's now a Captain in the Army flying Medivac choppers. He is married, happy, and getting honours all the time. He's not a dumb kid. He just had a tough start with a couple of bad teachers.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


    5 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2006
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    3,429

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    Problems with handwriting aren't uncommon. Handwriting Without Tears was a resource we used. Perhaps this would be helpful.

    http://www.hwtears.com/hwt/parents


    2 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 17, 2010
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    Where humidity isn't just a word, it's a way of life.
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    Compare it to horse training; some take a bit more time and effort, but they still get to the same place. Some mature slower than others, and some seem to "get it" the first time you show them.

    WatchKnowLearn.org is a new website with lots of educational videos that might help. The cover the core educational bases, and are supposed to help make learning fun.

    Try to take a topic he already likes, and see if you can incorporate that into the subjects he doesn't; you could get me to learn anything if you tied it to horses (which were the main topic of all my elementary papers).

    Wish I had more suggestions for you; there are quite a few teachers on this BB, so hopefully they can chime in after school hours.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
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    Jun. 7, 2004
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    I had an IEP in school cuz my IQ is like a 60% or somthing so I would see if you can get him into an LD class or classes.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
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    Dec. 20, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by GraceLikeRain View Post
    Being behind is not a sign that your son will never succeed. It is an indicator that the current methods are not working for him.
    THIS!!

    Typical classroom learning does not work for all students unless the teacher is using all learning models which is nigh impossible. I also agree with Solara on framing the lessons on things he's particularly ravenous about in a manner that makes sense to him.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
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    Aug. 2, 2000
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    Chesterland, OH USA
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    Thank you for the suggestions and kind words.
    I will re-read them when I calm down and stop crying.

    His behavior is good, especially at school.
    He does like science and social studies and is getting "P" in those subjects.
    I can make him do flashcards but I feel like I am punishing him if I make him do even more homework than his teacher has assigned.

    And if this was a horse, I would use a trainer - I know I am not a trainer!



  11. #11
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    Mar. 1, 2003
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    Happily in Canada
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuddyRoo View Post
    FWIW, I was like your daughter. Straight A's, advanced classes, driven, never got help from parents.

    My middle brother STRUGGLED. I mean, he couldn't read in 2nd grade. Once we found the right combo for him of teaching and such, he still had to work hard, but did better.
    My family was like this too. My mother encouraged my brother to read by buying him Choose Your Own Adventure books (rather than standard 1-way storyline books which he'd lose interest in). She had to come up with incentives with him.

    He was still unmotivated all the way through high school, although we did find out by accident that he took a sports leadership class and really excelled in helping peers. He has a business mind and has never had a problem getting or keeping a job. After his first university semester, he started to buckle down. He is now an accountant, and is engaged to be married to a wonderful lady.
    Blugal

    You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng



  12. #12
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    Dec. 21, 2005
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    Colorado Springs, CO
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    The absolute best thing we have ever done for my 8 year old son was hold him back.

    Last year, about a month into 2nd grade, it was obvious he was struggling. I had a meeting with his teacher and principal on a Friday and that Monday he was in his new 1st grade class.

    He's in 2nd grade this year and is thriving.
    "Is it ignorance or apathy? Hey, I don't know and I don't care." ~Jimmy Buffett


    2 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
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    May. 10, 2009
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    NC piedmont
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    He may not need an IEP, BUT, I would see about having him tested for a learning disability OR a fine motor delay. Kids with FM issues hate to write because the physical act of forming the letters is so difficult for them and/or their brain is several words or steps ahead of their ability to write the answer or complete the problem.

    I had a kid in middle school when I was teaching who was woefully behind in English/Language Arts and the parts of Social Studies that involved reading and writing. His parents had been informed of this for years but refused to have him tested, because his older sister excelled and they were in denial that he could have a learning disability. Without an IEP, we were limited in the ways in which we could help him.

    We finally convinced his parents to have the testing done when he was in seventh or eighth grade and facing high school. He did have some learning disabilities, rather severe ones, and after he was put on an IEP and given the help he needed, he did much better in school and was much happier as a result-for the first time, he knew WHY he was struggling where the other kids didn't and how to help himself to learn. It was like a weight was removed from his shoulders. He was a great kid, one of my favorite students ever...he just needed some extra tools to build with.

    Just because you have one great student doesn't mean that this younger one doesn't have a learning disability or just need differentiated methods. If you do have him tested and he doesn't have any issues, or if you choose not to, look for some supplementary materials, like workbooks, that break down the writing process into single steps. Sometimes, writing a whole paragraph is totally intimidating, and sometimes teachers assign whole paragraphs. Have him first identify the topic he's supposed to write about and put that into his on words. Then once he understands the question/topic, he can come up ith a topic sentence. Then, he can outline three or four details that support the topic. Then put those into one sentence each. Then, have him verbalize how to tie it together, and then write it, or something similar. A paragraph is intimidating, but each step, when approached as its own entity, is easier to handle for a lot of kids.

    For math, you can also gets some extra workbooks...I'd get them at a level he CAN do first, and hen he feels really strong at those problems, move on to the next more difficult, etc. For example, if he as struggling with subtracting two-digit numbers, let him practice one digit problems until he can do them confidently, and then show him how two-digit problems can be broken down into columns of one-digit numbers. Sometimes showing them a different way to vie the problem or questions can make a big difference.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
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    Oct. 14, 2010
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    When I was a first grader, I was the worst reader in the class. Hands down. And I stuttered. I wasn't much better in second grade. If were in school today, they would probably say I had some sort of problem. By 4th grade I was one of the smart kids. Some of us just take longer to get it.

    My handwriting still stinks. It was the one thing, besides gym, that would keep me off the honor roll.



  15. #15
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    Oct. 8, 2002
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    Maryland
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuddyRoo View Post
    FWIW, I was like your daughter. Straight A's, advanced classes, driven, never got help from parents.

    My middle brother STRUGGLED. I mean, he couldn't read in 2nd grade. Once we found the right combo for him of teaching and such, he still had to work hard, but did better.

    .

    Similar story here. I always did well without trying very hard and my middle brother had issues - he hated reading, had a hard time paying attention and completing assignments, and really began to dread school.

    We got him through high school with my mom fighting the school every step - she tried to get him held back early and in help programs, but he was always doing just a titch too well for them to do it and got passed on. It wasn't until high school we found a solution for him - an alternative school schedule with a whole different setup. He worked during the day and had shorter but more concentrated school hours, small classes, and a very independent/self-led setup, with teachers he got along with who related to him very well. He went from struggling for Cs to getting As.

    So the one thing I will say is if you think he needs help, find out any and all resources available from the school and push them, hard, if you need to. I think my brother would have had a much better time if they had been more flexible early on.
    "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

    My CANTER blog.



  16. #16
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    Dec. 18, 2006
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    NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuddyRoo View Post
    Could your son be evaluated and possible get on an IEP?

    Would he benefit from a tutor? Cute college gal who can swoon over and want to please by doing homework?
    Argh! He is 7!!

    Why is it that if a child isn't doing well in school that people think he needs a special education plan?

    For one thing, the difference between kids in any grade can be more than a year of actual age - if some kids were started late (which is common) and one is young for his/her age. At 7, that's like a 15% difference - and that assumes the kids are equally good at all subjects. The reality is that there are a lot of very young kids who are ahead or behind their peers, but that they are all "normal". It's just hard for a teacher to teach this way.

    For handwriting, I'd just play games with him - drawing is as good as writing for fine motor skills. Draw tiny pictures and have him copy. Add in some numbers and letters, just make it fun. Fine motor skills are hard - my younger dd is like this and left-handed....her handwriting has always been bad and she hates to write because it is harder for her. So anything that can work those fine motor skills is great.

    For math I would play games with dice instead of flash cards - roll two dice and add the numbers together. They are visual as well, because he can count the dots. You can also get various kinds of dice that have numbers on them, instead of just dots, and can make up different games. Flash cards are ok, but there are also different math games with cards like "addition and subtraction war" etc. Some are better than others.

    It is annoying that the teacher did not offer anything else. I don't get that. Especially since they see him in class all day - does he understand but not work? Is he just not paying attention, or does he actually not understand? I would hope the teacher could shed a little light on what is going on when you're not there.

    Good luck!


    6 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
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    Oct. 12, 2005
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    Va
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    Just went through this with my granddaughter. Extremely intelligent. FLUNKING math!

    Make it a game. We made up our own flashcards. She'd flunked her 4's and 5's multiplication test. Was going to be tested on 6's to keep up with class. We had her for the weekend. My daughter (high school math teacher) started with her and it's see/hear/speak. You look at the flash card, say it outloud, turn it over and see answer. Went through the whole thing over and over, giggling and increasing speed. When she had that downpat, then they were mixed up instead of being in order. Did that a couple times a day for about 15 minutes each time. daughter had her laughing and a good time and success was rewarded with high 5's, hugs and cookies and milk.

    Don't cry. Try not to fight about doing the work, but rather some way to make it fun like a game instead of a chore that he has to struggle through. Anything you can do to help him feel successful will be a confidence builder.

    Chin up and good luck!


    2 members found this post helpful.

  18. #18
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    Sep. 7, 2009
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    I think I would have him evaluated for a learning disability. If he does have a minor learning disability or fine motor problem it's better to know now so you can find solutions.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant


    1 members found this post helpful.

  19. #19
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    Oct. 1, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by GraceLikeRain View Post
    Being behind is not a sign that your son will never succeed. It is an indicator that the current methods are not working for him.
    This x10,000!!! Teachers often don't have the resources or authority to tailor their methods to meet different learning styles. But clearly, something isn't working for him. Do you know what type of curriculum they're using to teach reading? It may be a tutor taking a different approach could be the key.

    Also (random)... Has he had his eyes checked? That was one thing that surprised DH and I about my stepson. He shadowed another kid for half a day when we changed schools, and that was the first thing the new school threw at us. They called, noted he was wiggly and inattentive, and informed us that with other students they'd found that to be a vision problem rather than behavioral problem. Holy smokes, they were right! He now wears reading glasses. I'm just tossing this out there on the off chance that your son may resist doing his work and perform poorly due to eye strain.
    Jer 29: 11-13


    3 members found this post helpful.

  20. #20
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    Dec. 12, 2001
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    A lot of great advice here.

    I just wanted to emphasize though, that your son is lucky in at least one respect. He has you for a parent. Don't worry about being unsure of how to help him -- try a variety of things listed here and really understand that your desire to help him is one of the most helpful things of all.

    As a tutor of 2nd graders, I've found that boys especially benefit from simple, physical exercise. Sometimes, a half-hour of all-out rough-housing playtime (not video games!) helps them to focus.


    4 members found this post helpful.

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