If kids get to talking around him, he cannot stay focused. This is no real surprise, no one's ever made him do it. he gets a job, and if you don't stand there and watch him, tell him every step to take, he'll either halfway get it done, or not do it at all. He's been babied along for so long that he has this mindset of "just sit there until someone comes and tells you what to do" because that's what always happens. He gets frustrated that he can't do something, someone finally gives up, comes in, sits down, tells him each step to take. The problem is that he doesn't then learn the steps you showed him, he just follows them...and next time, he's just as stuck as last time.
No surprise that he's failing these two classes. Also no surprise that he has no clue what to do. The schools up here....I don't care how good people say they are, they are worthless shit, in my opinion. The grades up to this point have been sickeningly easy, not giving these kids half the work that I would have thought that age should do, and what work WAS given was way too easy. I never in my LIFE got a "homework packet" from school, to be turned in the following week. It was ALWAYS "homework for tonight" due tomorrow...but these kids are getting that kind of thing even up into the 5th flippin' grade! Things are made so easy, I said to Dianna, long ago, "you watch, suddenly, he'll be in a higher grade, and they'll just drop this harder work on them, and he'll have no clue what to do"...and sure enough, that is exactly what has happened.
So, one of the teachers gave him a extra project to bring his grade up. We made sure that he was working on this, at least some, every night. Once he went to his Dad's house, this was supposed to continue. Imagine our surprise to find that not only was the thing not done (it was due today), but he hadn't worked on it at all over there (when asked when he had planned on finishing it, he had the standard kid answer of "I don't know")! Needless to say, this just pisses me off. His Dad was a high-school drop-out, and he has always worried that his son might "follow in his footsteps." When this grade thing came up, he was all about fixing it...so, why hasn't he made sure of this getting done? Because he's a complete fucking moron who would be best used as a doorstop, that's why.
Anyway, Erik was told that he was going to sit down and get this project done, and nothing else was happening until it was. That was at about 10:30-ish, maybe 11 yesterday morning. Somewhere around 3:30, 4 o'clock, he finally got it done. Well, guess what, he has a book report due tomorrow as well, we discovered...and all he's done is mostly read the book. Nope, he didn't know when he planned on finishing this, either. So, back to the table. We had a break for dinner, then back to it...now, keep in mind, the teachers wanted these kids to turn in, not only the final report, but a "pre-writing" and 2 rough drafts, which seems a hair excessive for 6th grade, but it shows the gap in teaching...they've never had to even do a real book report before, much less rough drafts, etc. Needless to say, Erik was lost on the woods.
Now, with bedtime fast approaching...and Erik not having written anything after 4 damn hours...it was time for me to take some command. We had been trying to leave him to do it, to make him do it and learn to get his act together, but it was just obvious to both Di and me that he wasn't going to get anywhere. So, I went in and started to help. Not tell him what to do, just help him figure out what to do. He seems to be incapable of critical thinking, sometimes, he just locks up. I think a lot of this is fear of failure: he doesn't want to do something wrong, and gets very frustrated when he does, so he takes forever to do anything, trying to be careful to get it right, or he just doesn't do anything at all. As a result, he never actually learns from mistakes, because he's too frustrated that he made them.
Eventually, we got figured out what he needed to figure out, helped him understand what the teacher meant by the assignment, and got it all written out (cripes, we gotta work on that boy's handwriting and spelling, it seems to have gone completely out the window). It was 10:30, he was beat tired, but it was done. I tried to get him to figure out that this is what happens when you wait until the last minute to do things like this, and hopefully some of that sank in...he's got another book report coming very soon, we'll see what happens.
If I can just hold it together until he graduates...if he graduates...then I should be able to take an hour or two for myself and just snap. At that point, he'll be an adult, he'll be on his own (sorta) and it'll be no worries if I just walk up to his Dads place and punch him right in the mouth.