It won’t be long before the first half of the school year is over, and that means that the push is on to bring the grades up to an acceptable level. Hopefully you and your AD/HD child have been practicing good habits all year long – managing time well, staying organized, and studying hard.
If you have a typical AD/HD child, though, what more likely happened is that you started off the school year with the best of intentions – you had everything under control. At some point, though, things started to slip, just a little. Before you quite knew how it happened, you had slipped back into the same bad habits as previous years – playing catch up with time and assignments, hurrying from one thing to the next, occasionally forgetting a thing or two.
If this scenario sounds more like life as you know it, then I’ve got a few tips that may help salvage things, grade-wise:
- Find out if full or partial credit is a possibility for missing assignments.
- Find out if extra credit is a possibility. If the teacher is at all open, try to suggest something that plays to your child’s strengths. For instance, my son is very talented when it comes to graphic design. He once put together a web site about Napoleon for his history class as extra credit.
- Run the numbers to see if the effort is worth it. Most teachers have a break-down that tells you how much things like homework, tests, final exams, and class participation are worth. Plug in the numbers you already have for work that’s been done (or missed, as the case may be), and then play with what’s left to see if it’s even possible to pass the class. Start by assuming 100% for all future assignments, and then take it from there. The University of Kansas has an easy to use calculator here.
- Double check the teacher’s math. Look at each paper to make sure it was tallied correctly, and then double-check the class grade calculations. They’re most likely correct, but it doesn’t hurt to check.
- If you have to, cut your losses. If, after running the numbers and speaking to the teacher, you determine that there is no way for your child to pass the class, then you have to make some tough decisions. Dropping the class may be an option, but it may also mean delaying graduation or attending summer school. I feel that there is something worthwhile to be gained by staying in the class, because it gives your child a chance to at least experience the rest of the class. Although they may not be passing it, they may still benefit by being in the class, listening and participating. Sometimes taking away the pressure of getting a good grade allows them to relax and learn. Also put this class’s assignments at the bottom of the pile each evening. Again, it’s worthwhile to do the homework just for any learning that may take place, but there’s no sense in adding stress and extra time to the evening unnecessarily.