So my 14yo son (homeschooled since always) has ADHD and Asperger's, and thus has always had difficulty with self-motivation, 'executive function', that sort of thing. Personal management is NOT his strong suit. He needs constant monitoring, constant lists, constant checks, constant reminders. He *wants* to do things by himself, of course, but when he does, he does a terrible job of it and doesn't care.
As he's been getting older and starting to (thank heavens) mature a little bit, he has been able to take on certain things on his own fairly well. I let him do his Life of Fred math with no monitoring for instance. His RightStart math (Geometry, designed to be done independently) didn't fare so well. I let him do for awhile on his own, he said he was doing fine and staying on track. But when I eventually did check his work, a third of the worksheets were not fully completed, several were lost, most were just stuffed randomly in his bookshelf all wrinkled, those that were finished were often done poorly.
It's a real struggle, since I want him to gradually gain independence. I shouldn't have to watch over his shoulder *all* the bleedin' time at 14yo. He argues about how he wants me to trust him, but this is what happens when I do.
But we keep trying. Because it does get better, bit by bit.
And so this year he was doing LiveOnline Pre-Algebra video course. I'd usually let him watch the video on his own, do the assignment on his own, then I'd check his work each day (or every couple of days). It wasn't without hiccups, but it was mostly fine. He enjoys the course and seems to be learning from it.
We're almost done the course. Just doing a bit of a 'blitz' to finish the last 2 units, since our subscription is up (took some time off in the spring and misjudged, apparently). He's been doing the last bunch of lessons on his own, I haven't even checked to see if he's done the assignments, much less done them well. I did have some concerns that he was focused on his iPod when the lesson videos were playing, rather than watching the videos... don't get me started on that device... but he said it was fine, he was learning, all was good.
Well, today he did the unit test.
And got 24%.
So he's going to do this unit again, and this time I'll be back to monitoring him, every lesson along the way. One of his main problems is that if he doesn't fully understand something, he either doesn't realize it (fair enough) or he just doesn't care. He won't ask for help to 'get it', he's content to just coast along blindly and blankly. Get it "finished" so he can go on to whatever else he wants to do (usually Minecraft or iPod).
This was just a rather extreme example of this tendency in action. Just when I think he might be starting to get it, to apply himself independently... *sigh* guess not so much.
So we keep going, keep trying to find ways for him to gradually take on more self-responsibility, and in the meantime me having to spell and list out every little step for him and check every single thing every single day. Trying to find the balance in allowing reasonable electronics access without letting him slip into obsession and addiction (which he does).
I'm just ranting, just wanted a place to vent I think. I know this might be more appropriate to the special-needs forum but I just felt like this was more of a homeschooling-frustrations-in-general thing, something that many parents bang their heads over even with neuro-typical kids. It's like the "without the carrot and stick of grading and exams and the peer pressure of 'looking dumb' in class, how do you inspire low-motivation kids to apply themselves to anything?" Not that I think he'd do any better in public school. Even from a very young age he felt he was 'stupid', and when he struggles with something even the SLIGHTEST bit he tends to give up rather than try harder. When he was young he would throw fits over even attempting something NEW... if he didn't already know how to do it, he didn't want to try it. Thankfully he's outgrown that, but he still has the give-up-if-it's-hard and you're-dumb-if-it's-hard mentalities.
Which makes it all the more complicated for me to deal with a 24% on a unit test. If I just throw it in his face and say "look, think, this is your responsibility, what are you going to do about it," his response will NOT be "whoa, I screwed up, I know what I need to do differently and I will strive to do better." It will be "I suck, I'm dumb, this is too hard, I quit."
Agh. That is all. I just wanted to say, "agh", to an understanding audience. Is there a glyph emoticon for :pulling my hair out:???