In order to do well in school, kids need two things: organization and intelligence. And guess what? There's a big difference between them! "Smart" is often confused with the ability to "do school." But the two are very different, indeed! How can you tell – and teach your kids to tell – the difference between smart and organized?
Smart vs. Organized
Just because a child is bright, doesn't mean they are well organized. Similarly, just because a child is not well organized, doesn't mean they aren't smart. While ADHD kids tend to have higher intelligence than average kids, they struggle with organizing, prioritizing, time management and even memory. So it's great that they can understand complicated concepts, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they are able to easily communicate their knowledge to their teachers.
So when you find yourself saying, “my child isn't working up to his potential,” try to separate out whether it is actually intelligence, or if it's more organization that you're talking about. If he's an absent-minded-professor-type, he might actually be doing pretty well (considering he has trouble finding his socks in the morning!).
An Important Distinction – Not Just for You, But For Your Kids, Too!
Help your kids make the distinction between smart and organized. When they start accepting that they're smart (even though they struggle with organization), you might just find that they'll be willing to use those systems you suggested! After all, they're not stupid – they WANT the teacher to know how smart they are!
When you teach your kids to recognize the difference between smart and organized, you'll also be teaching them what is important to prioritize. Not only will that encourage them to enjoy learning for the sake of learning, it will help them with self-esteem, and further, make them feel like you value them for who they are, rather than who society expects them to be.