Don't know what to do! 10 year old REFUSES to do any school or class work yet he's not stupid. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 07-08-2012, 03:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a 10 year old son who absolutely REFUSES to do his work.  He used to go to Catholic school but didn't survive there.  He was basically asked not to return.  He's currently in a virtual charter school with an academic coach who works with him during the day for his schooling (I work full time and cannot give that up to be home with him myself). He sits for hours and hours staring into space instead of doing his homework.  He was in 3rd grade this past school year and is currently in Summer school and will still end up being in 3rd grade again next year.  He is not stupid or have any learning disabilities, this is a conscious choice he is making.  I don't get it.  He seems to understand that he will not get to do any of the fun things he enjoys until the homework is done yet it still ends up in with him sitting at the table for hours and hours staring into space and doing nothing.  He does it at home with us and during the day with his academic coach.  He is in a very stable home environment - good marriage, strong family ties, we eat dinner together every night, etc. and we have discussions with him all the time about the importance of school and getting his work done. We've tried everything we can think of to motivate him and assist him and we are at a total loss.  Nothing seems to reach him, phase him or motivate him.  I want so desperately to help him but not enable him with his current behavior.  any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated.  I'm at the end of my rope. 

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#2 of 9 Old 07-08-2012, 05:36 PM
 
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Have you had him evaluated?  He may need some help developing executive functioning skills, or may have ADD (it doesn't mean he has to be hyper/bouncing off the walls).  Some kids do not learn executive skills on their own.  I never did and neither has my daughter.  I was able to compensate though (and frankly was in a very bad environment where learning to compensate was necessary for survival).  She hasn't had that sort of environment.

 

We are having her formally evaluated soon (we've had to save up for it) so that we can have a 3rd party do some unbiased testing about what areas she may need the most help in, but I found a great book that helped me figure out some of the stuff that we can do at home (it's even helping ME).

 

The only thing that has saved our bacon is that this year she had a kick ass teacher that (while totally accepting her as a person and loving her for who she is) did not let her live in lala land just because she was not disruptive.  He changed her life, school wise, and has been invaluable to ME personally as well (as again, I am missing whole blocks of logical/efficient executive functioning because I never learned how to do it well, mine are all pure survival adaptability which kind of suck) He's one in a million though, and one of a kind IMO (he's been teaching for over 40 years, pioneer for co-op/parent involvement/experiential learning in our area, tolerant of/enjoys differences, doesn't expect every kid to be a robot/the same, ect.)
 

Good, smart kids from great families sometimes need help figuring out things that other people think should come naturally.  Daydreaming/spacing/inability or unwillingness (he may be unwilling because he is overwhelmed and has no clue how to start and has learned to just give up, that's where my DD was) sounds like it COULD be executive function help needed.  There is no shame in that, for your family or him.

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#3 of 9 Old 07-09-2012, 07:31 AM
 
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Since making him sit until his work is done isn't working in the least, I'd concentrate on his having engaging activities to do. Take a break from summer school and have whoever is caring for him during the day take him on hikes, to museums, swimming, and anything else that he'd find fun. If he's having fun, he's engaged. If he's engaged, he's learning.

 

Ds needs to have fun rather than have it withheld. This will improve his outlook, stimulate his mind and body, improve his relationship with those trying to make him do his school work, and make him more willing to work with those people. 


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#4 of 9 Old 07-09-2012, 07:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by solacer View Post

He's currently in a virtual charter school with an academic coach who works with him during the day for his schooling (I work full time and cannot give that up to be home with him myself). He sits for hours and hours staring into space instead of doing his homework.  He was in 3rd grade this past school year and is currently in Summer school and will still end up being in 3rd grade again next year.  He is not stupid or have any learning disabilities, this is a conscious choice he is making.

 

I know several families who tried virtual charters and found they didn't work for their kids. Our local community college has very low completion rates for on-line courses. Although the internet is touted as being a great way to learn, for many people, it's not. He might do much better with real classmates and real teachers.

 

And I completely agree about having him evaluated. Unless he has had very specific test done for LD's, you really have no way of knowing if he has LD's or not.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#5 of 9 Old 07-09-2012, 08:48 AM
 
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I also suggest having him evaluated.  My dd is very smart and capable but she had a lot of half learned and unlearned concepts in math that made it hard for her to even know where to start.  She did a lot of putting work off, working slowly, and some arguing with the teacher to get out of doing math work.  When I got her evaluated they found that she was at a first grade level in a lot of math skills and had a hard time even adding consistently with manipulatives.  From the outside she looked like she could do it and was just refusing because with the teacher right there telling her the next steps she could do it but the problem came when she had to complete independent work because a true understanding wasn't there. 

 

If you have him evaluated and nothing comes of it then I would suggest getting outside help from a child psychologist.  Sometimes an outside source can help a child open up about why they are refusing to do something and help the whole family come up with a compromise that works for everyone and gets the child back on track.  I also think that for now you need to work on getting someone to coach him who will focus on building a relationship with him before expecting work.  I know it will feel like he is getting a win but you can phrase it to him like "I know you are really frustrated with having school work year round right now.  I am frustrated that you aren't doing school work but I think it is because you are overwhelmed.  What do you think about taking the rest of summer off and agreeing to start doing your best at school work starting on September 1."

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#6 of 9 Old 07-09-2012, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks all for you input.  Just some further information regarding my son - just to add to everything.  He currently sees a therapist every two weeks - as part of our family therapy session and as well individually.  He is diagnosed with ADHD and he sees a psychiatrist for his medication of which we have yet to find a medication or dose that has any impact on him.  He received a psycho educational evaluation through the school and did not exhibit any signs of learning disabilities.  He currently has a 504 plan but again if he refused to do any work that's not going to make much of a difference.  

 

Sorry I can't back reference but who mentioned testing for executive functioning?  How exactly do you do that.  My understanding is that most ADHD kids automatically have some issues with this. 

 

BTW just as a side note both of my other children, my 21 one year old son, who is now a Marine (no longer takes any medication) and my 12 year old daughter (who does quite well on Focalin) both have ADHD too.  So I'm no stranger to dealing with that.  But this outright refusal to do work - this is something new.  He's the first to do this trick.  Oh and I have tried to get wraparound services for my youngest son and have been told that because he is not violent he does not qualify.  so it just adds to the frustration I've encountered with this.  

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#7 of 9 Old 07-17-2012, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

I know several families who tried virtual charters and found they didn't work for their kids. Our local community college has very low completion rates for on-line courses. Although the internet is touted as being a great way to learn, for many people, it's not. He might do much better with real classmates and real teachers.

 

And I completely agree about having him evaluated. Unless he has had very specific test done for LD's, you really have no way of knowing if he has LD's or not.

 

Yes to all of this.  I'd get him back in an actual school.  

And there's another possibility.........he might be under-challenged.  Many, many kids will just "turn off" if they find the work too boring or too easy.  


"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#8 of 9 Old 07-21-2012, 07:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post

but I found a great book that helped me figure out some of the stuff that we can do at home (it's even helping ME).

name of the book please

 

Daydreaming/spacing/inability or unwillingness (he may be unwilling because he is overwhelmed and has no clue how to start and has learned to just give up, that's where my DD was) sounds like it COULD be executive function help needed.  There is no shame in that, for your family or him.

wow i had no idea about this. 

 

does this mean, that these people would struggle with games like chess?


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#9 of 9 Old 07-21-2012, 08:30 AM
 
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Also:  Perfectionism/anxiety.  If you "know" you can't do something exactly the way you "should", you freeze up, avoid, and withdraw.  What's the point in doing it if it's just going to be "wrong"? (that's the innerworkings of the mind, even though we know it's not the truth). 

 

I have this a little bit.  My DS has this a LOT and it's lousy to work through. 

 

Also also:  ADD intertwines a lot with giftedness and perfectionism, but often *looks* like unmotivated/in need of help/bored/avoiding/etc.  It's a pretty crappy trifecta.


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