How hard does she need to work? Long

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Post  Wed, Nov 07 2018, 11:25 pm
One of my children is really struggling in school. The rest are really great so its new for me to have to work hard with her on studying and hw. She is in third grade and I hate to say it but she fails all her tests. We study so hard and I think she really knows it and then comes the test and she gets lost. There were so many concepts she knew but answered wrongly because she didn’t recognize the question.
She doesn’t have any learning disability.
The principal says she doesn’t try hard enough and isn’t motivated. I think she has a unique learning style and whatever she learns that isn’t done in that style simply doesn’t stick.
When I teach her in a certain style she gets it and remembers it. But I cannot reteach every single thing she learns all day.

I’m still learning her style but what I know so far is she does well with flashcards and pictures. She needs to break up a word into parts with each corresponding to a picture or story in order to memorize the spelling or translation. If I act out the chumash she will get it. She needs to visualize in pictures every concept. Any tiny change and she sees it as a brand new thing. Like a lamed prefix at the beginning of a chumash word. She knows what it means but if you put a komotz underneath suddenly she sees it as a brand new concept and doesn’t remember that its still the same lamed.

Is there anything out there that can help her? Does any part of my long story sound familiar? I feel very lost and want to help her succeed but don’t know how much to push her to study and review and at what point you just give up and say whatever will be will be and if she’s gonna fail anyway at least let her enjoy life while she’s at it. It’s depressing for me to watch her get failing marks when I know how hard she tried. And then I blame myself that maybe I didn’t learn enough with her. Maybe if we had studied longer she would have done better.
Bh she doesn’t realize she’s failing and I praise her for working hard.
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Post  Wed, Nov 07 2018, 11:30 pm
You sound like a really good mother. I don't have any advice. Just wanted to acknowledge what a struggle that must be. Good luck and make sure she develops a strong sense of self outside of school work.
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Post  Wed, Nov 07 2018, 11:31 pm
Can you discuss it directly with the teachers? She may be a visual learner so perhaps they can modify her tests that way.
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Post  Wed, Nov 07 2018, 11:34 pm
I would look into having her formally evaluated. When I took my son last year the psychologist told us his clinic gets a lot of referrals in 3rd grade because either the school work gets much harder and kids can’t keep up or socially kids get meaner and fall behind their peers.
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Post  Thu, Nov 08 2018, 12:59 am
amother wrote:

She doesn’t have any learning disability.

How do you know? Has she ever been evaluated? What about other things related to but not in the LD classification?
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Post  Thu, Nov 08 2018, 8:10 am
Who evaluated her?
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Post  Thu, Nov 08 2018, 8:31 am
I find the principal's comment a red flag. Hopefully the teachers are more accommodating. sounds like its a learning style. some times when you have an evaluation backing you up the school is more accommodating.
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Post  Thu, Nov 08 2018, 8:41 am
She is probably a vision learner. She can also have auditory processing disorder. The brain is processing what she is learning but doesn't know how to process the information properly. She would need an evaluation by a qualified psychologist. Another thing to check would be if her eyes. Are they working together with the brain to process what she's seeing? She would need an evaluation by a developmental opthamologist. Mofified test will help somewhat but the best way to help her is to get to tje root of the problem. Give her credit for trying. She's really doing her best. I can give you numbers of professionals to try depending on where you live.
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Post  Thu, Nov 08 2018, 8:59 am
I agree with evaluation. And is there an ichud program in your area?
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Post  Thu, Nov 08 2018, 9:48 am
Excuse the long post but BTDT and I think it's important. She may not need a formal evaluation, and even once you get a diagnosis you're the one that can help her the best. Speech therapy is at most once a week and you lose valuable time when she could be doing this with you every night and start doing better on tests and in class much sooner.
It's not how hard she needs to work, it's how hard you will work until you teach her how to do it on her own, for the long-term.

Unfortunately, this is all too familiar. Since one of my DDs started talking I've been saying she has this problem (word retrieval was also a problem), but every year her principals told me to stop imagining it because she was making excellent grades. Around the time she hit third grade I took her for an evaluation on my own dime and it proved everything I already knew. I did my research, consulted the speech therapist at my public school, and began to work with her on my own. It was tedious and time-consuming but worth it. Chumash and Navi meant telling it to her as a story before each perek so she can put the pesukim into context as she learns them. I finally stopped doing homework with her by now but sometimes she still struggles now, in 7th grade, to do it on her own because of the same issues. We just deal with each one as it crops up, not too often though, only when it's a new skill. I got her the English version of all her seforim to keep at home because she needs tools to help herself. I won't be there throughout high school and beyond. Now that I taught it to her in a way she can do it independently, she's using the skills we set her up with and applying them to do the best she can.

Now, practically speaking. Know this: Third grade is when auditory processing deficits will start tripping her up. Until then, she compensated using a different tool: her memory. Now is when "havana" kicks in and she needs tbe understanding (not memorization) of WHY the word keeps changing for her in every possuk. She needs the skills in order to independently put the "before and after letters" into context within the different pesukim.

Call the teacher and tell (not request or ask, tell) her to send home sample tests and YOU find all the skills she'll need. Explain that you are helping your daughter for the long-term and NOT showing her the tests or using them to study for that particular test. Do NOT show it to your daugher to memorize answers; that is not helping and defeats the purpose. Use these tests so that YOU have the list of which skills to zero in on for the long term. She may not do well on the immediate tests until she gets the skills down pat but it will serve her better in the long term. Giving her answers is a band-aid, she needs to eventually know how to do it independently. Teach her to find her own hints for common words so she doesn't rely on you. Here's one strategy, for example.

Start at the bare bottom: Does she know the meaning of each 3-letter shoresh? If not, start there. Her memory is perfect for this basic skill. Then, build on that by teaching her how the meaning of the shoresh "adapts" within the context based on tiny tweaks like adding a nekuda to one simple letter.

To use your example, a lamed (or a vav, or an aleph, or any letter found that will change the meaning of a word within context), cut out a rectangular hole on a simple index card and put a nekuda undeneath. Then slide the lamed behind it and study kametz lamed before a word. Add the shoresh. What does the shoresh mean now? How does an "aleph before the word" change the meaning of the shoresh now? Hiw did the "cholem vav" change it? Do the same with all the "before and after" letters. This part she'll memorize but once she has it cold she'll be able to dissect chumash words herself because she'll know hiw the "kametz lamed" or "cholem vav at the end" affects the words. She'll be able to tell that if the possuk is about a man, then the "cholem vav" at the end must mean his. If the possuk is in "me" form, somebody speaking first-person, she'll now know that the "vav and aleph" before the words means "And I," etc.

Chumash and Navi are the most important because she will need this understanding all the way through high school. I found that other subjects such as brachos and yedios were memorization and she didn't need more than a set of flashcards to study them. Teach her to make her own flashcards for those and to find her own hints when she studies or memorizes these subjects, otherwise you'll be doing it for her forever when she can perfectly do it on her own once you show her how. Buy her a looseleaf ring and endless index cards for each subject.

Definitely check her eyes out, if anything just to rule it out like we did. Not only by an optician, but also by a vision therapist.

BTDT, it will be hard work on your part in the beginning but a child's biggest advocate is her mother. Hope this post was helpful, I'm just speaking from experience because I wish I hadn't had to muddle through it on my own.
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Post  Thu, Nov 08 2018, 9:56 am
it sounds like she has a processing disorder.
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