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Lost, Confused and in Dire Need of Your Suggestions


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I am not sure how to begin my story; it is a very long story. My daughter was attending regular school but she could not thrive academically and socially and so I started home schooling her in third grade. I am a professional teacher and I have formerly taught in high school.

 

Throughout our home schooling journey, my daughter has never shown a desire for learning although I always picked what I deemed as the best and most reputable programs and attended a very good home school coop. It has always been a struggle getting her ready for tests and she refused to do her Math practice. Instead she always reached for the solution manual. In the beginning, I tried not to hide the solution manuals because I expected her to mature and take education in her own hands. Unfortunately, even at seventh, eighth and nine grade, she always tried to cheat no matter where I had the solution manuals hidden. She always found a way. The irony is that she never struggled with a new introduced concept, especially Math. She always seemed to have excellent understanding and she seemed to do well in lesson practice.

 

Last year around March, when she was showing more defiance, carelessness and obstinacy; I decided that she should go back to school. The idea of going back to school always horrified her because I think she knew that she would not keep up and find the leniency and tolerance she found at home. The school she has been attending this year is a great school with very high standards. Upon registration, they refused to accept any of her home school credits of ninth grade and required that she takes grade nine main subjects. As a result, she is now taking classes for both grade 10 and grade 9. I was hoping that she would show a positive attitude towards her education but she became worse. She is failing both Chemistry and Algebra. She refuses to do homework and her score is almost zero. Her math level is that of a fifth grader I believe because she never wanted to do any practice throughout the years.

 

Now, I want to help her. Her counselor warned that it would not be easy for her to graduate high school with the amount of credits she has to recover (44 credits required to graduate from this particular high school) and the subjects she is deliberately failing. I do not know what to do with her. I am considering getting her into some online home school program over the summer and see how she does and decide to either keep her home or send her back to school. Knowing that sending her back to school means sending her to failure and a bleak future.

 

What should I do? What can I do for her to help her with her Math and Chemistry over the summer?

 

I apologize for the lengthy email although it actually does not reflect an iota of my pain and struggle. Thank you all. I am looking forward to learning from your insightful suggestions.

Edited by Sara bee
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I am not sure how to address the issue of her just not doing things... that's a rough one, and hopefully someone here will chime in on that. For math remediation, I would get something like Lial's Basic College Math (an older, cheaper edition would work too). It is really good for kids that age, and if she is willing to apply herself, should help her catch up.

 

Does she understand the potential consequences of failing high school? It will affect everything -- career, potential college, etc. Are there any privileges you can take away from her until she buckles down a bit?

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You're in such a difficult situation and I feel for you. 

 

Many of those behaviors would be normal for a phase or two, but in the long run, that's a lot of defiance. I have one kid who goes through phases of defiance but it's nothing compared to what you are facing.

 

I would consider first and foremost seeing a licensed psychologist trained in cognitive behavioral therapy and with a proven track record of working with teens. It sounds like your daughter has developed an aversion to school and I'm not sure what might have set her on that path but at this point it's critical to figure out how to make changes. From what you have posted it sounds like you are doing everything you can so maybe getting help will shake things up a bit.

 

A psychologist can also help her see education through another set of eyes. I'm usually the last one to recommend professional help but in this case, you have worked on it for a long time and the behaviors you're seeing are not easy to deal with.

 

:grouphug:

 

 

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I am sorry that you are going through this. Here are things that come to mind--

 

Consider taking her in for a medical evaluation. Sometimes kids have these types of issues if they are depressed, have a drug problem, or have some other kind of mental issue. It would be worth having a formal evaluation when the issues are this serious in case she has an issue that could be treated medically.

 

Have you talked about long-term goals for her life? What does she want to do when she grows up? Work at McDonald's? I doubt that. Maybe she would have some motivation if she had something to aspire to.

 

I might require her to retake the classes she failed in summer school this summer. I think homeschooling would only be giving her what she wants and rewarding her for intentional poor performance. Besides, homeschooling hasn't worked in the past and was the reason you enrolled her into a brick and miortar school.

Edited by Mrs Twain
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Has she ever been evaluated for learning disabilities. You said she had difficulty thriving in school early on. Often anger and defiance over school can stem from a LD--even in a patient, supportive atmosphere--the child knows things are harder than they *should* be.

 

Can she drop some of the classes she is taking and take another year (in other words, this is her ninth grade year)? It sounds like she'd have to repeat anyway and maybe some breathing room will help.

 

I also agree about seeing a counselor for the work refusal.

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Has she been evaluated for executive function deficits? These are present in ADHD but can also occur without necessarily adding up to such a diagnosis.

 

I am a firm believer in the idea that "kids do well if they can." A child who is failing classes has something going on inside that is preventing her from succeeding. Seeming unwillingness or inability to keep up on homework, difficulty facing challenging assignments (hence looking at the solution manual), and an appearance of intentional poor performance strike me as warning signals for an executive function deficit. Some level of anxiety or depression may also be possible (depression can manifest as irritability). I would want to get a full neuropsychological evaluation for this child first and foremost.

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I think it would be helpful for her to be evaluated to see if there are underlying learning disabilities. Over time, if things were hard and frustrating for her, she may have decided just to give up trying. ADHD and executive function issues can also derail school and be related to defiance.

 

Under federal law, the public school is required to evaluate her for learning issues if you make a written request. Just talking to the guidance counselor will not start the evaluation process. You must write out the request and submit it to the special education department of your high school. Teachers can also make the request, and if you have a teacher who agrees with you that evaluations are needed, it can be helpful.

 

There really isn't a way to accurately guess what may be going on without doing the evaluations. If the school finds issues, she may qualify for extra help and services that will enable her to find some success.

 

I'm sorry this is so hard.

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First, hugs to you. I've only had a sliver of this kind of emotional issue and even that kept me awake at night staring at the ceiling with a pit of deep regret.

 

I don't have any quick answers as it looks like this issue has been brewing for many years and is more complex than whether to home school or public school. She has not done well with either situation. I would actually think taking yourself out of the role of teacher would be helpful to the relationship since there's so much defiance. I wouldn't take that back on b/c it wasn't working before and there's nothing to think that it will *really* help now...just perhaps veil over the problem. 

 

I agree with the others who have said this is more than a school issue. Perhaps an educational counselor who can look at not only LDs but refer out for other issues would be a helpful first step. I had a family member who did that and it was very helpful. 

 

More hugs to you. Do not beat yourself up. Do not live in the I-shoulds or I-coulds but keep advocating for your child -- you know her best. I would be like the FBI trying to track down resources or a reliable counselor who could step into the situation and provide some help and guidance. 

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I think her strong aversion to school happened when she was a brand new student in a private school who just moved from another state. She was in first grade and the kids at the new school had already been paired up when she arrived. They refused to let her play with them. They abused her both physically and emotionally especially that they thought she looked different than them. It was a true nightmare and I am not going to start on it...

 

I have spoken to her school counselor multiple times about my concerns and how I would like her to be evaluated by the school psychologist but he vehemently insisted that she needs to take the initiative to see the psychologist herself; while he knows full well that she is unwilling to do so. Over the years, I tried to talk her into seeing a psychologist but she does not accept the idea because in her mind only "crazy people" are in need of such service. I have spent the whole morning exploring psychologists in my area and this is not the first time I have done so.

Edited by Sara bee
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The school psychologist is not the person who decides whether she will be evaluated. They may be saying that if she wants counseling, she needs to come herself. But counseling is not going to be sufficient to determine whether there are learning challenges.The student is not the person who requests evaluations from the school. In fact, under federal law, it is either the parents or the teachers who do the requesting. Don't confuse counseling with evaluations; they are different.

 

Is this a public school? Submit your request for evaluation to the special education department directly. I know I said this in my other post, but it's important. Don't rely on the school counselor to advise you. Start the official procedures yourself.

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Not every kid is going to like school and take responsibility for their education in spite of what homeschooling convention speakers may tell you.  I think it's terribly unrealistic to expect that to change because you sent her to a school. Why on earth would it?   I think it's even less realistic for that to happen when that kind of kid has to redo grade level work because the school is fussy about accepting homeschool work.  If I were a kid and was put in that situation repeating grade level work I'd already completed in my homeschool, I would be absolutely LIVID. What an unfair thing to do to a kid!

 

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The school psychologist is not the person who decides whether she will be evaluated. They may be saying that if she wants counseling, she needs to come herself. But counseling is not going to be sufficient to determine whether there are learning challenges.The student is not the person who requests evaluations from the school. In fact, under federal law, it is either the parents or the teachers who do the requesting. Don't confuse counseling with evaluations; they are different.

 

Is this a public school? Submit your request for evaluation to the special education department directly. I know I said this in my other post, but it's important. Don't rely on the school counselor to advise you. Start the official procedures yourself.

This.

 

Once you submit a request for evaluation in writing the school is legally required to respond within a certain time frame. Do it now because things tend to grind to a halt in the summer.

Edited by maize
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I was suggesting sending your daughter to a private psychologist for evaluations and suggestions.

 

I would not rely on the school particularly if they are not being helpful.

 

I agree that she needs to take charge at some point, but she's not taking charge right now.

 

 

She needs higher than fifth-grade math for her future so you need to figure out what's going on. If you can, you should pay for her to be tested. Even if she deliberately fails those tests, the administrators should be skilled in identifying different types of learning disabilities and developmental issues that she might be facing.

 

:grouphug:

 

 

 

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This is xposted, right? because I think I read it somewhere and there were other replies...? 

Get a psycho-ed or neuropsych evaluation first. 

Then get family counselling. If she will go to see someone, great. Try hard to make it happen and tell her she doesn't say anything but try to get her to go. 

I think you should see a counsellor too - a different one than hers.  

 

It's hard to say because of course we're only seeing bits but my impression is that you've set her up to fail & she's doing what you've communicated you expect from her. 

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What does it mean to set a child up to fail?

 

Does that mean you haven't done what it takes for them to succeed? Well clearly, but OP knows that already.  And we all "set our kids up to fail" to some extent. None of us have perfect kids so we are all lacking in some way or another. I would not say we "set our kids up to fail".

 

Does it mean that you made choices deliberately in order to watch your child fail? I think very few parents do that.

 

I don't understand "set up to fail".

 

I also don't think OP sounds like she communicated in any way shape or form, "I expect you to not work and to fail classes," unless you mean that after the child was cheating, she started hiding answer manuals and that the parent is reacting to the child's pattern of behavior.

Edited by Tsuga
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I really don't agree with that statement that the OP has set up her daughter to fail!

 

OP, I think it would be be wise to try to discern whether the problem is primarily a learning disorder or else a psychiatric disorder (depression, personality disorder, etc.). The treatments for those two categories are quite different. From the little you have told, I get the impression that the issue may be more along the lines of a personality disorder. If that is the case, going through the school system for help may be futile.

 

I hope this is not the case, but an objective person hearing this story would recommend trying to discern whether any type of abuse is going on. Like I said, I hope that is not part of the issue, but it is something to consider.

 

I also wonder if you are giving your daughter too much authority at this point in her life. She has consistently disobeyed you, at least concerning her school work. If she is failing out of high school, action must be taken. She doesn't have a choice about whether or not to be evaluated. I think you as the parent have an obligation to take her in to see someone for help, even if she doesn't want to. Once she is old enough to move out and be on her own, she can make her own decisions. She is not old enough for that, though.

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It's not a deliberate thing. It's a worldview thing. And honestly, being a teacher sometimes makes this harder...

 

I don't know. Maybe I'm misunderstanding things, but I think it's this that's throwing me: 

"The idea of going back to school always horrified her because I think she knew that she would not keep up and find the leniency and tolerance she found at home. The school she has been attending this year is a great school with very high standards."

 

 This is a child who is described as not a keen, self-motivated learner; the child was struggling at home and then was put in what sounds like a very rigorous high achievement program where she has to double her course load.

 

I would not expect that to end well.  Every once in a while you hear of a story where this 'boot camp' style method works & somehow the kid finds leadership & motivation & blossoms but imo that's the exception, not the rule.  And if this child has underlying LDs, it definitely will not work. 

Also the idea that the child didn't express desire for learning even though the parent selected the best and most rigorous programs.  That's blaming the kid for the failures of the teacher. 

 

This student needs remediation & needs a method of instruction that harnesses her strengths and gives her confidence in her abilities. I don't blame her for doing zero work if she's that far behind. What would be the point? Bust your butt and get 20%? 

 

I am wondering if this is a square peg round hole situation and all that's been happening is that a bigger and bigger hammer is being thrown at the problem but that's not really solving it.... 


 

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I am grateful to all of you who have suggested the most insightful suggestions and I will evidently ignore all the negativity that emerged in this thread. For those who thought that I deliberately sent her to this "boot camp" school; this is just a public school in our neighborhood and that is the only place she could attend considering proof of residence. It is not as rigorous as some might think but it is better than others nearby. My main focus for her is not academic achievement but success in life as a whole and that is why I will seek the advice of a private psychologist and hope for the best.

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Now, I want to help her. Her counselor warned that it would not be easy for her to graduate high school with the amount of credits she has to recover (44 credits required to graduate from this particular high school) and the subjects she is deliberately failing. I do not know what to do with her. I am considering getting her into some online home school program over the summer and see how she does and decide to either keep her home or send her back to school. Knowing that sending her back to school means sending her to failure and a bleak future.
 
 

 

I don't understand this statement.  Did the counselor mean that it would not be easy for her to graduate on time?  Is this why she was given 9th and 10th grade work to do at the same time?

 

IMO, if the school did not accept the credits, then she should have been enrolled as a ninth grader and she would graduate a year "late".

 

Also, it seems like the school's 44 credits gives one credit per semester -- so really what most high schools would count as 22 credits. I'm not sure if this is why her classes were scheduled the way they were.  Also, IMO, a student who had not passed algebra should not have been placed in chemistry.  Who made her class schedule?

 

I don't know anything about counseling, learning disabilities, executive function, etc., but it seems like the classes she was enrolled in were not chosen appropriately.  If you do enroll her in the school next year, I would try to be involved in choosing the classes.

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It's not a deliberate thing. It's a worldview thing. And honestly, being a teacher sometimes makes this harder...

 

I don't know. Maybe I'm misunderstanding things, but I think it's this that's throwing me: 

 

"The idea of going back to school always horrified her because I think she knew that she would not keep up and find the leniency and tolerance she found at home. The school she has been attending this year is a great school with very high standards."

 

 This is a child who is described as not a keen, self-motivated learner; the child was struggling at home and then was put in what sounds like a very rigorous high achievement program where she has to double her course load.

 

I would not expect that to end well.  Every once in a while you hear of a story where this 'boot camp' style method works & somehow the kid finds leadership & motivation & blossoms but imo that's the exception, not the rule.  And if this child has underlying LDs, it definitely will not work. 

 

Also the idea that the child didn't express desire for learning even though the parent selected the best and most rigorous programs.  That's blaming the kid for the failures of the teacher. 

 

What might seem obvious to you is not obvious to others, particularly with respect to how some kids take academics.

 

Lots of kids don't express a desire for learning. Many of them slog through obediently and then are grateful they were asked to challenge themselves. I'm sure that OP was thinking that even if her daughter wasn't one of the academically oriented ones, something like that could happen.

 

Also OP does not know whether her daughter has LDs, but what she has seen is that her daughter can do practice problems at home well. So to her, she's thinking--this kid appears to have potential but increasingly her behavior issues seem to get in the way. Maybe if I make it clear that I won't tolerate behavior issues, she will step up. Maybe reducing leniency will make her realize this is serious.

 

Now, two grades at one time is a lot and I do agree that that is not going to sit well with the child, but at the time, there were several less than optimal choices OP was looking at.

 

"Set up to fail" implies intent and fault where I think there has been struggle and lack of support and lack of information.

 

Rather than give information on how to solve the problem, it places blame. What can you do with that statement?

 

That is not a rhetorical question. What does a parent do when someone says, "Well I could have seen it coming from a mile away. You caused this." How does anyone turn that into actionable advice or in any way use it to improve their lives?

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She is not taking all of ninth and tenth grade subjects at once. Her schedule was made by her counselor who tried to fit a few of each in her schedule. She is taking the same number of subjects as others. Even then, I thought that would be very discouraging for her because she thinks of herself as a sophomore while in the school system she is considered a freshman.

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I am grateful to all of you who have suggested the most insightful suggestions and I will evidently ignore all the negativity that emerged in this thread. For those who thought that I deliberately sent her to this "boot camp" school; this is just a public school in our neighborhood and that is the only place she could attend considering proof of residence. It is not as rigorous as some might think but it is better than others nearby. My main focus for her is not academic achievement but success in life as a whole and that is why I will seek the advice of a private psychologist and hope for the best.

:grouphug:

 

I wanted to clarify something mentioned up thread to make sure you understand what some of us are referring to with regard to evaluations.

 

1.  An evaluation to determine if there are underlying learning challenges is not the same thing as seeing a school counselor.  Counseling and evaluations are not the same thing.  Also, the student cannot initiate that type of evaluation.  The parent would need to do it in writing.  However, at this point I do not think a school evaluation will be detailed enough or come from the best perspective to help your child.  I think you very much need an evaluation through a private neuropsychologist.  This would NOT be for determining if your child is suffering from depression or anxiety.  It would be to determine if there are things like Executive Function issues, stealth dyslexia, ADD, etc.  It would also determine her underlying strengths, many of which may not be recognized because of potential underlying weaknesses.  Neuropsychologists are not psychologists.  

 

FWIW, many schools do not recognize that the struggles of the student may have started very early on with some sort of undiagnosed underlying learning challenge.  The issues are solely attributed to attitude and those issues are never directly addressed.  When you add in that a student has been homeschooled, many public school systems will assume the issue is also poor instruction at home.  You are going to need to be her advocate and either write up an official request for an educational evaluation through the school to determine possible underlying learning challenges or go outside the school if you can and seek those evals through a private neuropsychologist. 

 

2.  I do also think that you and your child need counseling.  I would not go through the school for this if you can avoid it.  Even if your child is not wanting to go, see if you can make the initial appointment for her with a psychologist who specializes in teenagers, preferably with someone who is homeschool friendly (otherwise they may write off the issues as coming from homeschooling), and then do what you can to try and get her to go.  She needs support in this.  Telling her she has to take the initial step was actually a poor option for her, IMHO, and I am disappointed in the school taking that attitude for a new student that was told she had to double up classes and her homeschooled course work would not be accepted.  I'm sure she feels like the school is not her friend and this whole situation is a losing proposition.  

 

I truly wish you both the best and hope with all my heart that you can help her find a happier, more productive path.   :grouphug:

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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I think getting help from a private psychologist who can do educational testing as well as counseling is a great idea. Check with your insurance; it may be covered.

 

However, you will only get help from the school with her issues if you ask the school to evaluate her. So I would recommend doing that as well. If they find underlying issues, she may qualify for a 504 or IEP, which gives her legal protections and services. That way teachers are given a plan that they must follow in order to help her. Without the legal protections, she will be at the mercy of each teacher's ideas about her, right or wrong.

 

If you get a diagnosis from a private provider and take it to the school to show them the kind of help that she needs, they will still want to do their own evaluations and will not just accept the outside diagnosis, so you may as well ask the school to get started on the process, which can take up to 120 days.

 

I realize you are in a hard place, with your daughter noncompliant and the school so far unable or unwilling to help. If you follow the guidelines under the IDEA law for getting help for a struggling student, it might help.

 

I wish you the best in figuring this out.

Edited by Storygirl
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I agree with the others that I'd look for underlying LDs and other issues, ASAP.

 

I just wanted to agree with the PPs who mentioned that the schedule of courses sounds inappropriate.  If she wasn't prepared to take algebra, she should have been in a remedial class.  Also, most chemistry courses have algebra as a prerequisite. So, the failure in those two courses is unsurprising.

 

I would probably plan on repeating 9th grade.  Once evals yield more information, the big picture, and where to go from here, will become much clearer.   :grouphug:

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I think getting help from a private psychologist who can do educational testing as well as counseling is a great idea. Check with your insurance; it may be covered.

 

However, you will only get help from the school with her issues if you ask the school to evaluate her. So I would recommend doing that as well. If they find underlying issues, she may qualify for a 504 or IEP, which gives her legal protections and services. That way teachers are given a plan that they must follow in order to help her. Without the legal protections, she will be at the mercy of each teacher's ideas about her, right or wrong.

 

If you get a diagnosis from a private provider and take it to the school to show them the kind of help that she needs, they will still want to do their own evaluations and will not just accept the outside diagnosis, so you may as well ask the school to get started on the process, which can take up to 120 days.

 

I realize you are in a hard place, with your daughter noncompliant and the school so far unable or unwilling to help. If you follow the guidelines under the IDEA law for getting help for a struggling student, it might help.

 

I wish you the best in figuring this out.

Great points here. :)

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You should be able to find the name of the special education department head on your school's website. You can call and ask them where to send your request. It's usually recommended to hand deliver it so that you know it has been received. You can ask for directions to their office at the school building.

 

Sometimes the people you talk to on the phone are very nice and helpful and interested in helping you through the process. Sometimes they are not. Don't let it discourage you from sending the letter if you happen to talk to someone who tells you that it is the teacher's job to submit requests (as one example of a discouraging comment they might say.) Under federal law, parents have the right to submit the request.

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The high school I went to didn't allow students to take Algebra and Chemistry at the same time. No exceptions. Completing algebra was a prerequisite to taking chemistry for obvious reasons. Some kids wanted to take required classes as electives in their first 3 years so their Sr. year would be light (half day) and fun, but even the best students couldn't stack some science classes unless certain math had been completed.  When they stacked, they stacked non-math and non-science classes like English and history so they could finish early but do math and science sequentially when necessary. (Consumer Math was different and could be taken anytime because the math skills required were lesser but it was "real world" project and business oriented.)

 

I would label being allowed to take algebra and chemistry at the same time as being "set up to fail."  I think that's on the school counselor, not the OP.  I don't think it was intentional, I think it was thoughtless. The counselor just wasn't thinking it through, which isn't a good trait in a a counselor placing a new student from outside their system. Neither is it a matter of the kid choosing to fail.

I feel sorry for any teachers who have kids enrolled in their classes who haven't taken the obviously needed prerequisites.  I hope it's not being held against them.  I feel sorry for the kids put in classes it's not possible to do well in because they weren't told the correct order of classes. Each day they fall farther and farther behind through no fault of their own. Even if they're trying really hard, they aren't going to do well. Who ends up paying for it in self esteem and time?  The kid.

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In your shoes at this point, I would demand evaluation for an IEP, in writing. You need to know if your DD currently has any learning issues, and she needs proper support. Is it mostly the 10th grade classes she is failing? Let her drop to a standard course load for a freshman and carry on from there. If academics don't motivate her, you need to find some other way to motivate her to do academic work--probably a balance of negative and positive reinforcement, with reasonable expectations. So what if she takes longer to graduate?

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I was down with a cold and was not able to log in on time to thank you all for your warm hugs, your insightful suggestions, your great ideas and especially your support. I learned so much from this thread. In fact, I went through it and took notes of some of your advice. Thank you all again.

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I wonder what problems initiated the decision to HS in the first place, and I wonder if those issues are still here.  HOw did your DD learn best when she was home?  Did she need lots of review?  Did she need hands-on materials?  Does she have a slow processing speed?  How is her reading comprehension?  Her ability to organize herself and her schoolwork?  (You dont need to actually need to answer that here, just things to think about :) ).  Not all kids learn the same way, and you may have been providing some support to her that she doesnt have (and needs) in public school.  You need to do an evaluation for learning disablities immediately, and I would suugest doing that privately if the school isn't cooperative. 

 

If her math skills are truely 5th grade, she should not have been in Algebra or CHemistry- that is on you and the school, not your DD.  I can only imagine how frustrating and demoralizing it would be to sit in class and know that you don't understand.  Again I would ask what all was done to help her succeed in those classes- did she go to tutoring, did the teacher notice any issues that may indicate a LD or an issue with specific skills you could work with her over the summer on?  Could she do better if she had a notecard w/ formulas on it?  Is it clear what concepts she gets, and which ones she doesn't?  Have you looked at hands-on materials like Hands on Equations or Math U See? 

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If it was me, I'd bring her home. Immediately. I'd hug here, tell her I love her, and totally forget about any school for a few months. I'd go for walks, watch movies, grow flowers, read books or bake together, and focus on healing.

I can only go on what you've said, but she sounds a desperately unhappy young person and I would be very concerned about her long term mental health. Some of the things you've said would suggest to me depression, or a learning disorder, or even perhaps aspergers. (IME girls with LDs or ASD often compensate better than boys for their difficulties, but the emotional toll of coping is huge.) Or perhaps that's just the person she is, and that's ok, too.

I wish you both the best of luck.

Edited by stutterfish
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I am grateful to all of you who have suggested the most insightful suggestions and I will evidently ignore all the negativity that emerged in this thread. For those who thought that I deliberately sent her to this "boot camp" school; this is just a public school in our neighborhood and that is the only place she could attend considering proof of residence. It is not as rigorous as some might think but it is better than others nearby. My main focus for her is not academic achievement but success in life as a whole and that is why I will seek the advice of a private psychologist and hope for the best.

 

 

Sara - look for a neuropsych.  I strongly suspect, because it's right there at the very beginning of her academic career, that this isn't a depression issue.  It may be NOW, but I really suspect it is far more likely some kind of cognitive issue.

 

When we began to NEED to know what was going on with our second DS, we sought out the school psychology team.  They were enthusiastic about helping and were willing to test him and evaluate him for us.  We were homeschooling but they were really pleasant enough.  However, they came back with something that just didn't jive with my mama instincts.  They told us he had a low IQ.  I didn't agree with them because, to me, it seemed completely tied to memory and what we suspected at the time, a family history of dyslexia.  (We did not KNOW he was dyslexic but we had been learning a lot about it and a friend felt very confident that that was what she had seen working with him in co-op.)  We felt his testing wasn't accurate.

 

Long story short?  The school systems simply do not recognize well the trademarks of learning disabilities.  I wish they did.  They don't.  And that's nationally across the board.  I've devoted the last couple of years to learning about cognitive function and I'm actually back in school now because of the deficits in the system and how it affects kiddos.  I know that you're a teacher and I really respect that, but neuropsych/cognitive stuff?  It affects over 20% of the population.  Dyslexia ALONE is 1 in 5.  

 

So while you emotionally tie her behaviour through elementary grades to a bad first grade year, I have to say that that is very unlikely.  Kids are remarkably resilient and bounce back when their environment recovers.  I get the feeling that  whatever is affecting her isn't environmental.  And, despite being a teacher, if you're not equipped to recognize and address her shortcomings, that's NO fault of your own - just a blind spot you didn't know about.

 

I can't encourage  you enough to get a full cognitive work-up with a neuropsych.  Especially at her age, this could be LIFE ALTERING.  She's on a bad path to be honest - feeling like an utter failure and not knowing how or if she can catch up.  She needs hope more than anything and I think you need it to! :) An evaluation can put you back on a path to somewhere - it might be a winding path, with a lot of twists, some logs to climb over, but still a path with a destination and out of the woods.

 

Long story short?  My son's eval?  Done with a good, knowledgeable neuropsych who had understanding of executive function, dyslexia, and working memory?  He has a completely normal IQ.  He was practically on the brink of being mentally retarded according to the school.  I am still fairly frustrated and upset with that eval.  EVERYTHING the neuropsych evaluated really rang true.  She was better able to articulate testing answers, what we were seeing, and how to move forward.  Did I love all the answers?  No.  I was really unhappy about his working memory and that he is severely dyslexic. But at least we could face the battle, you know?

 

You're fighting a battle here and you just have no idea who the enemy is, so it looks like it's your daughter.  What you need is a clear evaluation so that you two, paired up, working together in encouragement and hope, can face the enemy together head on, and win this thing called life.

\

Kids who struggle in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, grade and you continue to see that rejection of academic things, reading, not progressing past fifth grade math?  That is neither the teacher nor the student.  A fun experiment?  We took some studies and ran with it.  We had read that essentially a normal, healthy progression of an average/bright student would allow for that child to do NO formal math through 5th -  6th grade, then pick up a normal 6th grade text and learn readily.  We tried it with our daughter Elizabeth directly due to our oldest daughter's struggles in higher math.  (She had been very formally schooled from K in math.)  Elizabeth is a bright girl, not particularly mathy, but willing to work and eager.  She has had NO problems at all with math so far.  Do I think she's extraordinary?  No.  I think she is fabulous (off topic) but not a math genius.  I think this is simply normal math progression.  The fact that your child HAS had math taught to her and is still testing at a fifth grade level  is strongly indicative that there is something more going on that stubborness or an unwillingness to learn.  I think you are just seeing symptoms of an underlying issue.  

 

Is this your fault?  I'd like to address that.  If you have a lot of support of people around you who are familiar with learning disabilities and you ignored them all?  Yes, yes it is.  But it doesn't sound  like this is the case.  It sounds like you were a normal mama who really thought what most homeschool moms and teachers (especially teachers) think - that if given the best curriculum and a willing teacher, a child will learn.  If that child doesn't learn and is very opposed to learning then the child is simply refusing to put forth effort.  This is especially rampant in our schools currently.  Did you know that while 1 in 5 people are dyslexic, current studies are suggesting that as many as ONE IN TWO people in prison are dyslexic?  Kids who are struggling try to hide it.  They compensate, they reject, they run, they refuse - they'd rather appear lazy or ornery than stupid.  So they get lazy or they get ornery, but at least then people don't know their deepest darkest fear - that they are stupid.  These kids end up in serious trouble.  So, no, no this isn't your fault.  It isn't hers either.  But there is a way to fix it.  Choose your neuropsych carefully.

 

(((Hugs)))

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