Assignments? What assignments?

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    • #53535

      Our son will be a senior in HS this year. He has failed one or more courses every semester throughout HS, mostly through not doing assignments. He cannot remember assignments, and if we get them from the teacher, he cannot remember what to do. Some interpret this as “uncooperativeness” but I see it as ADHD. He doesn’t want to do an assignment he isn’t sure really exists. He’s been diagnosed since 2nd grade, is on medications, sees a counselor, and has an IEP. As many students in his HS have IEPs, the teachers are generally not aware of our son’s status unless we point it out to them (which we do). Does anyone have ways of helping a kid who does not remember what was in class, or what assignments are given?
      (For the record, he’s not anxious about this at all).

    • #53580

      Have him record the classes. There are actually smart pens that not only record, but if you take notes on special paper (which you can print out yourself), the pen can actually cue up the recording to that point in the lecture. Even if he spends the whole time doodling, he’d capture it. He can also send it to his computer. If he has it recorded he can always listen to it to confirm the assignment. Also find out whether his teachers post assignments online. Some do.

    • #53591

      I used to fake it thru middle and High School.. what i couldnt get done in class or in the five minutes before class didnt get done. I became exceptionally good at knowing the answers to everything in Math, algebra, geometry and tryg. Physics, chemistry, history and geography. I became an expert in correcting every mistake the teachers wrote on the blackboard. Good at getting homework done in detention if and when. Not working from home is a habit i have never been able to break. Home has far to many distractions to be used for work.
      In business i instantly learned to stay until it was done. My partner in business however was always taking his briefcase home and leaving at the crack of 5. It took til midnight sometimes but reports and projects were always finished on time. Ernings as a consultant in actuarial pensions and Benefits earned a low mid six figure income.
      There were many nights, but in my mind home was not a place you worked.
      It is extremely hard to get started and to stay focused when your attention is elsewhere. I managed to complete all of grade 9 most of grade 10 and 11 but technically i am a middle school dropout who made a living in a profession that usually takes 9 or 10 years of University. All it took was a top 1% IQ and a weird sense of where work should be done and a desire to do it.
      Yes even careers have to upgrade and acquire new skills, expertise and credentials. My lunch hours were crammed with technical studies as were the after hours desk work i was doing. But it was never taken home.

      Ps On two occasions i was expelled from class for not completing assignments. The first was when the Geography teacher looked in my notebook and found nothing but two pages of doodles. I had not completed anything in 8 months. However my exam results although they only counted 80% of total were good enough for me to manage a >75% mark in class and an exemption to finals. He immediately expelled me and gave me a note to have my father meet with him. I had to completely copy a set of notes for the whole year before he would let me back in the room. I did manage to do that at home. However he never gave me my notes back. I wrote that final exam and aced it in half the minimum time i had to stay in the exam room and stared at him for the other half. He was convinced I was cheating (obviously not) and I attended a new school the following year. I dont know what he wrote to the new school but they were on me like glue. Three assignments missed and you were out of that subject and if you were out of three you were out of school. So I never made it past the legal age at which they could expel me in Grade 11 ( 16) and immediarely looked for work. I had worked all my summers from age 12 so my experience made my first two jobs. My dad only had one rule at home go to school or pay board and room. Employment was not necessary but desirable.
      Between the board and room and the new car, the following spring there was no money left and prospects of a raise were slim. That education was needed after all and the answer involved joining a program that allowed you to finish your highschool in the army and then if suitable attend University. Although stationed in Montreal and successfully completing all of their subjects they didnt teach French, and it was needed to get in to University. So after two years of trying i managed to leave the army on thursday and start work on Monday at one of the three largest insurers in the country.
      My first assignment was to balance a set of data that my predecessor had been working on for three weeks. Not knowing that and thinking it had to be completed that day, come quiting time and still at it, the boss came over and said finish it tomorrow. I did. That was the first and not the last time competing against Commerce accounting and actuarial graduates. Other than summer students, all hires of men in those days were University Graduates. I was the guinea pig, token high scool grad and my boss 5 years from retirement said he could hire HS students who would work out far better than these commerce grads.

      I could have skipped all that if I could work from home and not a day went by that i didnt rue that lack of a degree. 5 years in the airborne is a great teacher but an awful penalty to pay to get ahead in life.

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by donsense.
    • #53592

      This was written because those are the same answers i gave to my parents

      I hope you are successful.

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by donsense.
      • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by donsense.
    • #53971

      Taking online classes helped me figure out how to manage my time better to get assignments done. Since with online classes, I didn’t have a teacher to keep on me or even physically talk to, I had to learn how to both teach myself the material, and manage my time to get stuff done. I will always remember my first year of Latin, which was my first online class. I’d log in every day, I’d check to see what the teacher wanted us to do, take the notes, and then I prioritized the assignments, from what I wanted to do most to what I wanted to do least. The assignments I was excited about, I got done in no time. At some point though, about half way through the year, something happened. In my prioritizing, I ended up skipping around, which led to me being simultaneously ahead and behind in Latin. I jumped right on the stuff I wanted to do. The stuff I didn’t, I put off and put off, until it was either last minute and rushed to be finished or completely forgotten and I got a zero. I had the same issue my second year of Latin, which was my senior year of HS. So, when I started college, because of work status and transportation, I took an online class. It clicked. I figured out how to do things in order(ish) and get it done. What I found helpful was teachers posting announcement as to what the homework, a syllabus that outlined the homework for the entire semester, and the teacher posting the week’s lessons in the unit folder that it goes in, one week at a time. I didn’t really get these options when I was in HS, I feel like HS teachers don’t get the same freedoms that college teachers get when it comes to setting up their classes, but it really did help me figure out how to keep up with and get my work done. Still not necessarily in order, but it does get done. The fact that he sounds like he doesn’t care is a little harder to work with. It may take him just getting out into the work force and seeing what jobs he can get, and the horrible pay and issues that are dealt with, for him to realize school is important. That turned into a motivator for me as well.

    • #53976

      The key is for him to write down the assignment while still in the class. One thing he could try a tracking sheet, separated by class period, with a space for him to jot down the assignment and also a prompt to turn things in. (I have a created a free one on my site)

      The biggest thing is he can’t rely on memory to remember at the end of the day what was discussed 6 hours before. A tracking sheet will work if he gets in the habit of filling it out each period–before the next one starts.

      You could even add to his IEP that the teacher checks his planner at the end of class to make sure he knows what the assignment is and how to do it.

      The bottom line though is that this is his deal. You can “lead him to water”, i.e. Offer some suggestions, but you can’t make him help himself. The motivation to change or try new things only comes when the pain of staying the same is too great. Until he sees that his actions are not getting him the results he wants, he will have no incentive to try new things. It’s hard, but it’s important that after you offer suggestions, you back off and let him take over (or not; his choice). Remember that him feeling the sting of the consequences of failing and “forgetting” is a good thing for his growth.

      Joyce Mabe
      Parenting Coach, school counselor, author, mom of adult son with ADHD

    • #53983
      Penny Williams

      Ideally, the assignments and instructions would be emailed to him by teachers or posted online. My son just finished 8th grade and has had the same issues. He requires very detailed instructions with clear expectations. For example, when the math teacher says, “Show your work,” my son thinks that only means the work he had to do on paper, not the work he does in his head. So, the instruction for him needs to be something like, “Write down every step you do in your head and the steps you do on paper to show how you got from the problem given to the final answer.”

      He was doing so many assignments 2 and 3 times because they were getting lost or forgotten, not to mention lots of makeup work. It was ruining all his time outside of school, as well as our family relationships. All because teachers wouldn’t check his agenda and review assignments with him at the end of each class (despite being in his IEP). I finally put my foot down and demanded that he be allowed to bring an iPad for school and use it to go almost entirely paperless (I had been asking nicely for several years). They agreed and it has helped a great deal. It’s still a struggle, because the ipad has to be used and used well, but it’s a lot better.

      Here’s more on high school success for ADHD:

      Hormones, High School, and ADHD: A Parent’s Guide

      Free Webinar Replay: Practical Organization and Time Management Strategies for Middle and High Schoolers with ADHD

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #54048

      My daughter will also be a senior in HS. We found last year that getting her a planner and writing down every assignment helped her keep track of what she needed to do. Otherwise, she would forget and there was a mad rush to get things done and she would get overwhelmed.

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