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Deirdre Sholto-Douglas finch at shell-2.enteract.com
Thu May 16 04:35:25 EST 2002

anniecristal <crystalannie at hotmail.com> wrote:
> One of my sons is reluctant to produce any good school work, and has
> turned into a frightful headache for the family's, despite being very
> intelligent and creative, and a good reader too.
> I've tried other alternatives, with psychologists, and
> psychopedagoges, even private teachers, but nothing seems to work.
> Please, has anyone a suggestion to make?

One of the first questions that comes to my mind is "How
old is he?"  The handling of such a situation is different
depending upon whether one is dealing with a 6 year old or
a high school senior.  The next question I have is what 
defines "good"?  Is he out and out failing or is he simply
not making A's?  Additionally, which subject is he having
trouble with?  All of them or just a couple?  My daughter
is a whiz at math and science, in addition to being a gifted
artist, but she, despite reading voraciously, dislikes
Language Arts.  This dislike apparently stemmed from a 
teacher way back when who severely criticised her writing
ability...never mind that a third grader's writing is
going to be immature.  The result was several years of 
arguments and avoidance of assignments...the problem was
solved (not by the school, mind you), by sitting down with
her and teaching her how to outline a paper, use a thesaurus
and re-write.  

Too often, I've noticed, parents and schools have expectations
of what a student can/should do, yet they fail to give them
the tools (in our case, it was the mechanics of writing).

Something is underlying this "failure to produce good work"
and that something is what needs to be addressed, not the
schoolwork itself.  It could be as simple as an I'm-going-
to-fail-anyway-so-why-try attitude which has established itself
and your attempts to fix it have reinforced the idea in his
head that he's somehow "broken".  Find something he's good at,
making kites, baseball, vocabulary and make that your jumping
off point.  (Construction of kites relates to math, baseball
to physics and vocab to English.)  If he can succeed in one 
area, it's easier to transfer that success to others.

Whatever you do, however, don't make his inability the focal
point of the family.  No one, even a child, likes to feel
like everyone knows he can't get it.  Help him where you 
can, guide him when needed and love him regardless.


| Deirdre Sholto-Douglas      | e-mail:  finch at enteract.com          |
|                             |                                      |
  *******  The only acceptable substitute for intelligence  *******
                            is silence.

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