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  1. #1
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Default This can't go on! Sibling having problems in school

    I've just "help" my brother with his English assignment and I am beyond frustrated with the issue.

    He's in his last year in high school and is not doing well in his classes. My mother came back from a parent teacher meeting and told me he's currently receiving 40% in physics and 50% in math. He's not doing that much better for the rest of the subjects.

    Back to the English assignment, it perfectly illustrates my dilemma. I don't mind spending some time proofreading his work, but his writing is completely scattered with no apparent direction or structure. Think of a bunch of facts thrown on a page in sentences. I can correct mirror grammatical errors, but really the thing needs to be completely rewritten. I've told my mother that and was "asked" to rewrite it for him. Needless to say I am not happy with it. That's no solution to the problem.

    The main problem here though is his lack of efficiency at getting things done. This was a page of writing. It took him 3 days to research and write it up? On some nights he didn't even go to bed until 2/3 in the morning.

    What, if anything, can I do? It's pointless for me to do his work for him. More likely to do him more harm than good.

    He doesn't listen very well to suggestions, temper gets in the way. Far too focused on the details... getting a particular thing done perfectly that he ignores everything else. (Stupid hardheaded ESFJ, no offense to the rest of you) He seems to have no concept of time management nor efficient allocation of resources. He's failing Physics and Math because he's scared of them and gave up... doesn't even try to study.

    You can't teach somebody that doesn't want to learn. That's my take on this issue. My mother is obviously stressed out over this and it's affecting the whole family. She thinks I don't do anything because I don't care and the fact that it's too much work. Really I'm not doing anything because I don't see how anything I do can help.

    Now I'm all stressed out. Excuse my rant.

  2. #2
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    ENGLISH:
    Grammar errors are 2ndary to being able to coherently say something relatively organized and coherent on paper.

    Can he do that?

    Grammar is frustrating to learn for students who enjoy school. Maybe get him to record himself talking about what his paper is about, and then listen to what he said and write down his main points, reorganizing them to flow smoothly?

    MATH/PHYSICS:
    Can he find his niche in these subjects? Where he can coherently explain to someone else things like a) what the point is to solve this style of a math or physics problem b) what to consider when solving this problem c) basic undergirding principles that apply to this problem?
    If he found one area of competence in these I'm pretty sure that would be a big hurdle to overcome.
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
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  3. #3
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Usehername View Post
    ENGLISH:
    Grammar errors are 2ndary to being able to coherently say something relatively organized and coherent on paper.

    Can he do that?
    I wouldn't be worry if it was just grammar.

    No sense of organization in the one he just showed me. At other times, it's still rather poorly organized. A case of too many "facts" that's merely jammed together without structure.


    Maybe get him to record himself talking about what his paper is about, and then listen to what he said and write down his main points, reorganizing them to flow smoothly?
    Could try recommending that to him. I'm skeptical as to whether that'll make any difference but he can give it a go.

    MATH/PHYSICS:
    Can he find his niche in these subjects? Where he can coherently explain to someone else things like a) what the point is to solve this style of a math or physics problem b) what to consider when solving this problem c) basic undergirding principles that apply to this problem?
    If he found one area of competence in these I'm pretty sure that would be a big hurdle to overcome.
    His problem with math and physics is inability to apply concepts. If the question is changed slightly, he doesn't know where to start. It's probably more to do with nerves than actual mathematically abilities.

    I've tried explaining the process I used to him many times. He doesn't quite get it though. Could be the N vs S thing although I do try to list things out as systematically step by step as possible.

    He dislike explaining things to people. When I ask him what steps he told to arrive at the answer, he's usually unable to explain it and gets frustrated and walks off. I'll say he has problems with all 3 of the above. No niche discovered yet either. It's the fatalistic approach, he thinks he's just bad at math period. Gives up before trying very hard at any topic.

    Very frustrating to work with.

  4. #4
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    Could try recommending that to him. I'm skeptical as to whether that'll make any difference but he can give it a go.
    If he's an ESFJ I really think he could help himself out a bunch by playing his strengths (talking; Fe). It's hard to find an audience on paper for some people, but the same people can hold a very decent conversation or narrate for a solid 5 minutes on a new story that happened to them. He's likely about ten billion times better at getting his message across verbally than through written text. Play his strengths.
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  5. #5
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    Maybe he just isn't academic? You can't be something you're not :S

  6. #6
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    I've just "help" my brother with his English assignment and I am beyond frustrated with the issue.

    He's in his last year in high school and is not doing well in his classes. My mother came back from a parent teacher meeting and told me he's currently receiving 40% in physics and 50% in math. He's not doing that much better for the rest of the subjects.

    Back to the English assignment, it perfectly illustrates my dilemma. I don't mind spending some time proofreading his work, but his writing is completely scattered with no apparent direction or structure. Think of a bunch of facts thrown on a page in sentences. I can correct mirror grammatical errors, but really the thing needs to be completely rewritten. I've told my mother that and was "asked" to rewrite it for him. Needless to say I am not happy with it. That's no solution to the problem.

    The main problem here though is his lack of efficiency at getting things done. This was a page of writing. It took him 3 days to research and write it up? On some nights he didn't even go to bed until 2/3 in the morning.

    What, if anything, can I do? It's pointless for me to do his work for him. More likely to do him more harm than good.

    He doesn't listen very well to suggestions, temper gets in the way. Far too focused on the details... getting a particular thing done perfectly that he ignores everything else. (Stupid hardheaded ESFJ, no offense to the rest of you) He seems to have no concept of time management nor efficient allocation of resources. He's failing Physics and Math because he's scared of them and gave up... doesn't even try to study.

    You can't teach somebody that doesn't want to learn. That's my take on this issue. My mother is obviously stressed out over this and it's affecting the whole family. She thinks I don't do anything because I don't care and the fact that it's too much work. Really I'm not doing anything because I don't see how anything I do can help.

    Now I'm all stressed out. Excuse my rant.
    I know you're a good person, so I'm going to come out and just say that this sounds kind of selfish on your part. This isn't about you, as much as it is about him and his lack of self-esteem and focus, and he's eating shit left and right, failing to meet the expectations of teachers, parents, and his big sis. I'm not saying you're not entitled to be frustrated - you can feel whatever you want - but I think the burden he's enduring is much more substantial than yours. Your ranting seems to have forgotten that. I'm not trying to put you down, but give you an honest, 3rd party perspective on the matter to make you reconsider the situation from a different angle.

    Your care for your bro's well being is pretty obvious, regardless, and I think that's admirable. Even though your bro might have some study skill problems, it sounds like his biggest problem isn't motivation, but hope that he can improve. He probably needs someone to believe in him and trust that he can get his act together with steady effort and focus. It's hard being a kid who isn't as smart as everyone else. It can rob you of your confidence and self-esteem.

    Good luck and kick ass,
    Edahn

  7. #7
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    I know you're a good person, so I'm going to come out and just say that this sounds kind of selfish on your part. This isn't about you, as much as it is about him and his lack of self-esteem and focus, and he's eating shit left and right, failing to meet the expectations of teachers, parents, and his big sis. I'm not saying you're not entitled to be frustrated - you can feel whatever you want - but I think the burden he's enduring is much more substantial than yours. Your ranting seems to have forgotten that. I'm not trying to put you down, but give you an honest, 3rd party perspective on the matter to make you reconsider the situation from a different angle.

    Your care for your bro's well being is pretty obvious, regardless, and I think that's admirable. Even though your bro might have some study skill problems, it sounds like his biggest problem isn't motivation, but hope that he can improve. He probably needs someone to believe in him and trust that he can get his act together with steady effort and focus. It's hard being a kid who isn't as smart as everyone else. It can rob you of your confidence and self-esteem.

    Good luck and kick ass,
    Edahn
    Probably a fair assessment. I'm impatient with everything for the most parts. Step back and try again. Thank you.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    Probably a fair assessment. I'm impatient with everything for the most parts. Step back and try again. Thank you.
    I agree with Edahn, but I am kind of split... Having done a fair bit of tutoring, and watching my mom (ex-teacher) do it, I also know that there is an inflexion point where skills that were not gained in the past catch up with you. I don't know if that is the case, but it seems familiar to my rants a long while back.

    For my brother, I had to do more than just proof his work, I had to work it through from the start - how to organise, how to write, etc. These skills are actually very easy to learn... but most people never have someone sit down and teach it to them.

    But Edahn is also right about the whole defeated thing. That's what started my brother's spiral, and he never really recovered. And worse, it sounds like your brother is actually trying, and being defeated. However, at least he is trying. You can work with that. It just depends on if you *can* work with him, rant aside.

  9. #9
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Has he been tested for learning disabilities?
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  10. #10
    Senior Member StoryOfMyLife's Avatar
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    Encourage him as much as you can. I agree, it does sound like he's trying, but it must be frustrating to him that he hasn't found some kind of comfortable, middle-ground of focus. Both of my younger brothers are two states away from me, but they've got their problems as well-- my middle brother is so smart, but lazy and refuses to just apply himself. My younger brother is smart, lazy, and just doesn't care, or doesn't know where to start when it comes to certain classes. The only thing I can do in my position is listen to what it is that frustrates them, offer suggestions, and of course be supportive and encouraging. Sometimes all it takes is a bit of motivation and knowing that someone isn't giving up even if they want to.

    Maybe your brother needs that, along with the help of finding what plays his strengths when it comes to his school work. I'm kind of fond of that recording himself narrating idea- that just might work. He might not feel so overwhelmed by everybody pressuring him to do better if he's reminded that he can do it, but he needs to be doing this for himself, not for everybody else.
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