Growing up, I can remember the only year in school I had received all A’s on my report cards were in first grade. I also remember starting off in one class, with my teacher Mrs. Bernal, and then later in the year the school made another class brought in a new teacher and for the life of me I cannot remember her name. I wasn’t to sure why they made another class or why I was added to it. Question’s I should ask my mom… hmm? My parents decided it was best to change schools in the district before second grade had started. My PawPaw (grandpa) and I drove over to the school to meet my second grade teacher; Mrs. Nancy Hunter. She introduced me to my favorite chapter book “A dog called Kitty.” This lady was just the sweetest, most caring, and highly respected. School began, I was making new friends it wasn’t hard to do that. As the year went on, I was failing most of my spelling test, reading wasn’t always easy, I can’t remember how I was in math then. I do know that my teacher was worried about me. I got to move on to third grade, again another great teacher, I was doing better than the year before, but I would still need a little more help, my parents would stay on me to. Fourth grade came, that was a hard year in general. Let me say this real quick, from second through fourth grade I was blessed to have amazing teachers who cared about every student. Back to why fourth grade was a difficult year, we had lost my PawPaw; I personally was developing fast if you get what I’m saying. His loss was hard on everyone in my family, but at the age of 10, how can you fully grasp the understanding of losing someone that you were so close too? That year again if I remember correctly, I was struggling again with grades. My teacher was worried about me, but also knew what I was going through. Was something really wrong with me and learning, was it life events, or did I just not care?
Middle school through High school.
Middle school was fun, I was a fifth grader and we got to “switch” classes? How cool was that? I was lucky to have my mothers friend as my homeroom teacher, who also taught me math. One teacher for English, another for science, and one for reading. My grades were okay in some subjects but I was failing that year and I needed summer school. My poor mom, she killed me having to go to summer school. I love you, if you are reading this. From there on out, I never had to go to summer school again, but the grades wouldn’t change from some b’s to the rest being c’s. School was hard for me, I would only get by barely just to play in the school sports, remember “no pass, no play?” I didn’t want my friends to know I wasn’t “smart,” not that they would have befriended me, I just didn’t want to be embarrassed. My teachers would e-mail my mom if I was starting to slip and that was embarrassing enough. All through the years at least once my mom would ask me “do you really think something is wrong and you need to be tested or do you just not try?” Truth is, when I would try to study and I was determined to, I would fail a quiz or not do as great as I thought I was on a test: other times I just gave up because what was the point in trying if I was going to fail? Junior or senior year, I failed a class and didn’t get to perform at the pep-rally. I was so ashamed of myself, I let the squad down, I let my teacher down, I had let my parent’s down.
I failed miserably
I would pass a little, fail a lot. I just didn’t care, I was reckless.
Fast forward to the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013. I grew up, got married and pregnant with Grace. I knew I wanted an education, I knew I didn’t want to let her down. I didn’t want to let myself down again. I pushed myself to take two classes at a time in 2012, I did good. I made two b’s that semester and had the pushed myself hard to get those two grades. Spring of 2013 I was set to graduate once my three classes were done. Again knowing I had to push myself even harder, I did okay and got to graduate.
Two thousand and sixteen, I was getting ready to start classes again to bring up my GPA since I had failed classes a few years before. I was a mother of two by then, my ex- mother in law had just retired from teaching the summer before. She would watch me study, or try to study when she was around the house. She asked me if I had always struggled with school, I told her I did, that some times I would really try while other times I didn’t care to, and teachers would ask or tell my parents throughout the years to maybe get me checked. But we never did, and that’s okay. My mom and dad are tough love parents, they pushed me all the time to study and study hard, or be grounded until progress reports (which was all the time). My ex- mother in law told me with deep concern, to go talk to my family doctor about my lack of ability to fully comprehend the material and lack of focusing. I can tell you that when I would read something I would not have a clue what I was reading. It was better if I read aloud to myself. Or I would re-read over and over again. My mind would always wonder off to la la land. I then made an appointment, a couple of days later I was talking to my doctor who she; her self has ADHD, along with her mom, and her two kids. She was blunt about not wanting to start me off on medication, without trying for about a month some methods she recommended. I was willing to give it another shot with her tips. Because whatever I was doing, I was getting somewhere, but not where I wanted to be.
These tips are what were recommended to do before officially being diagnosed with ADHD
Let me say this first, everyone has their own way of retaining material. This is what worked for my doctor, and some of it still works for me. Try to notice what distracts you when you get ready to study and remove the problem right then and there. Unless the distraction is your child.
- Use just black or blue ink, or pencil. If you have a specific color note book for your class use the same color high lighter to mark the important information. To much color will distract your eyes from focusing on one thing at a time.
- Use flash cards- for anyone who has to have color. Get the colored index cards and write in blue or black ink while underlining the important key words or possible test questions. Flash cards normally come in bright neon or pastel colors.
- Put your phone on silent, or check it every 30 minutes during a small break.
- Do everything you need to do for one class at a time. It can be extremely distracting seeing everything you still need to do. Jumping around will only stress you out.
- Use your down time wisely, set it to when there are less distractions. When kids are at school, during a lunch break, or when they go to bed for the night, go have time to yourself. Or if you have another adult in the house ask them to watch the kids while you shut yourself in a room for a couple of hours to focus on your work.
I tried for the month, and I promise you I tired. My ex- mother in law always on top of me, helping me by watching the kids, in or out of the house. She would test me little bit when she could. She was like my mom, checking my grades after assignments were turned in.She saw the stress I was under to really get better grades while raising two little children. After a while, she advised me to go back to the doctor and show her my grades after the tips I was given to do. October of 2016 my doctor wrote my prescription. Since starting the medication, and using tips 1,4 and 5 my grades have been a solid high B or low A.
If you think you might have some of the same problems address them, talk to your family doctor. I found myself being calmer, learning and retaining any information when studying. I know when to take my medication and when not to. I still do not rainbow high light my notes like I did once before. Although it is very pretty. In my previous post, I mentioned how I write out all of my assignments and task that were needed for the class. I put my focus on one class at a time. Lastly, being a mom to younger kids is a task on it’s own; they will always have my attention first. My education is highly important to them and myself. Every now and then Emmett will say “mama, go do your homework okay? So the teacher WILL not get mad because that’s bad.” Weekends are now for t-ball and coach pitch, school work will have to wait until Sunday evenings now unless there are assignments due.