Ds is 12 y.o., in seventh grade and this is his first year in middle school. First year with multiple teachers/classes. He was placed in the high achiever track. This is the second week of school.
Last night it all came tumbling out tearfully, he's so frustrated because he can't keep up in class. When he's writing directions and notes he has two choices, either write slow enough that he gets all the information properly, and so his hand writing is legible, OR write fast enough to keep up, and then he misses bits of information and his handwriting is illegible.
He also gets plain confused, and is very frustrated and unhappy because he doesn't always understand what the teacher means. And it looks to him like no one else is having this problem, everyone else follows along just fine. So he's not going to stop and ask the teacher to repeat or explain what she just said, he'd be doing that continually and it would be very embarrassing. The pace is much faster than it was in primary school, of course. So it's not like he can go to the teacher at the end of each class and ask for help, he has all of 5 minutes to get to the next class.
The result is like last night. He had a cross word puzzle to do based upon his science lab's safety rules. There was no source of vocabulary for him to get hints from, he was trying to fill in sentences just guessing what the answers are. I'm 99% certain there was some source from class that day, either they read something or the teacher lectured them on safety rules and they were supposed to copy everything down or something to that effect. But to him it was completely out of the blue.
Ugh. This is all too familiar to me. This is how I went through school, usually not knowing what was going on, missing bits of instructions, utterly frustrated and unhappy because no one else seemed to have problems keeping up. And I was in the high achiever track, too, until I flunked out of Honors English my freshman year of high school.
The focus last night was on his homework planner. They're supposed to write down their homework instructions for each class in the planner but he frequently doesn't know what he's supposed to write, doesn't know where to find out, doesn't know how to differentiate instructions for different projects. He explained that it's not like he doesn't care and doesn't want to do the work. He really, really wants to get this right, he's interested in the material and really doesn't want to disappoint his teachers.
So aside from the apparent general focus issues, does anyone have any practical suggestions about how he should make sure he's getting the appropriate homework instructions each day, each class?
Should he take his planner to each teacher at the end of each class and have them check that he's written down the right information? That doesn't seem fair to the teachers. And he doesn't actually have time to do this.
All the teachers have web sites, not all of them have specific homework assignments on there. Regardless, I'll have him go over all their web sites so he knows what help he can get there. Thank goodness tonight is back-to-school night. I'll be asking each of his teachers for help.
Someone suggested a recording device. I can see how that would help if his teacher was lecturing and he needed to copy notes. But is he supposed to just record each each class every day? The device would be recording for 4 hours every day.
Should I take him in to be tested, for something?