This turned out way longer than I intended, please try to bulldoze thru it.
My oldest daughter is 11. She's the middle of 5 (21 19 11 9 7). Her older bros are in 'college' (they're taking classes). They pretty much blazed the middle-school trail for their siblings so the wiff and I have had plenty of warning with the general issues that we will face again. Yes kids are different, I know this... but they've all grown up in the same middle class neighborhood so their general issues are very similar
The problem with school work is that she's simply not doing it. I was an 11 yo latchkey kid that never did his homework, but I also didn't have much if any guidance or direction. There's nothing stopping her from coming home, getting a drink, sitting in the kitchen, and doing the hw before her siblings get home. This isn't earthshattering and therefore, I expect that she can do that. She doesn't. We're midway thru the 2nd quarter of 6th grade (1st yr of middle school) and can't seem to crack the nut into making a routine. She's failing 3 of 4 core classes (science, math, communcation arts/english, but not social studies) because she doesn't do the work. She's seriously about to fail and repeat 6th grade simply because she will not do it.
She's very much like I was and her 2 older brothers. The difference is that I managed to deal with it without parental or school aid, and her brothers eventually got it. Both of them, Jr/Sr yr, were finally able to do what they needed to do without me crawling up their back about it.
Anyway, in class, she does other things besides "using her time wisely"; ranging from sitting there staring at the ceiling to old-school reading a book you want to read while it's framed in the book that you're supposed to read. She's supposed to fill out a daily agenda with the assignment for that class (all kids get the agenda booklet) have it signed by the teacher (just my kid and then i deal with it at home) and then come home and do the work, and me or mom will look it over. This is not a complex process, but she's supposed to do it 5 days in a row to get pc/ds privileges back. The most she's managed to do is 2 days.
Now . . . I know that she's distractable. She always stops in the middle of whatever and I have to make her focus. "Aaaahhhh, there it is... add/adhd". Not so fast there, bub...
I've not seen real effort put into doing it. Without going into the gory details and examples, she can get started (2 days above) and she clearly exhibits the ability to focus (not hyperfocus) for varied times and levels of concentration. But they're all things that she really likes to do... reading, drawing, pokemon, building lego farms with her younger siblings. I don't count, but to some extent probably should count, minecraft and certain pc/vid games that require serial attention on goal oriented gameplay.
It's hard to quantify in this space all the things I've tried and the conversations I've had with her. Her teachers generally care, but they're middle school teachers with 200 kids, or whatever, to deal with. One teacher seems to be going thru the motions but the others are interactive with her and parents. I've burned completely thru a variety of motivational systems, positive, negative, bonus, none of them stick. From "bring a signed agenda home, I'll put a bead in your vase" (full vase gets you something cool) down to "bring it, or else" and all the "or elses" have come to pass. And I know from experience with her older brothers that they eventually turn into the rat in the electrified cage: After 2 weeks without pc/ds, it no longer matters.
Yes I follow up on the negative stuff. 11 is too old to spank in our house (besides, she's like 5'8" 150#), but she quite literally has zero privs right now. Come home, sit at the table, the end. And I still have to tell her to do the work and she doesn't do it because I'm busy being a parent and can't stand over her like a totalitarian despot.
As said, it's not my first rodeo. My older boys had previously set the mark on "horrible getting hw done" and we dealt with it, dare I say, effectively. I managed to deal with it without parental or school aid, and her brothers eventually got it. However it took them several years, all the way up into hs, before I had to really start hacking into life-affecting privs. Both of them, Jr/Sr yr, were finally able to do what they needed to do without me crawling up their back.
So the fact that I've blasted thru a 6 year plan in 2.5 mos has left me with no idea what to do. I've considered homeschool (my schedule would allow it), her younger siblings are in the gifted program at school and she missed it by a couple points in math (she convinced herself that she hates math yet can do it easily). They all tested high in younger grades and are following the same path of dumbing down to the curriculum that's taught. Homeschooling, tho, presents a number of challenges for especially me.
So, after all that, the questions are:
- What else I can do motivationally? I've explained how much it woudl suck for her to repeat, and she gets it: the next 6 years of school will affect the next 60 years of her life.
- Any specific recommendations for some kind of professional? I'm not beyond counselling but I've no idea where to begin. I'm not beyond accepting diagnosis, but I'm not convinced that 1) she's diagnosable and I'm not throwing meds at it 2) she's got a problem beyond motivation. We know add and adhd kids and personality wise she's nothing like any of them.
- Any thoughts on the homeschooling solution? What about part time homeschooling?