3/31/09

Homework Troubles

A is a very smart boy. He reads above grade level and his math is at grade level. He has a vocabulary that often amazes me (with words like expression and conscientious) and he has a memory that would give most geniuses a run for their money.



After all the scares we had with A, I am so proud of all his accomplishments. I wasn't sure he would ever read - never mind above grade level. The last time he was evaluated we were told that he would probably have problems with math. While math is a harder subject for him he still does it and does it well.



Due in part to his ASD, he has issues with his motor skills. He lacks both fine and gross motor skills, therefore things that a "typical" 7 year old can do are harder for him. He can barely write his name (and it would be completely illegible to you), riding a bike is tough (he JUST started riding a two-wheeler with training wheels and still has spills) and he still runs like a toddler (with the waddle that shakes their whole back side).



On top of that, he has attention issues. He is so easily distracted that walking from the living room to the bathroom (all of 20 feet) can be hard for him to handle. It is so bad that he needs constant attention (leaving him alone for two minutes could account for videos being posted on Facebook - for those of you that do not have a Facebook account, he was able to record, save and publish a video of himself while I was watching Z walk to school the other day - , all the ice cream being eaten out of the freezer or his puppets being shown how the washing machine works).



For the past month or two I have been requiring him to do homework after school. I am hoping to help prepare him for the work he will be required to do next year (having been in kindergarten for 2 years the work load is familiar to him) and to help him gain some fine motor skills.



I haven't had a problem with him until the past two weeks. Now he flat out refuses to do it. As I mentioned, he has the attention of a field mouse, so this means I am sitting with him the entire time, walking him through each step of his homework and watching him scream every single step of the way...



We have tried reward systems (but a daily reward means he demands a daily reward for school work and a weekly reward is too far in the future for him), I have tried threats of death "groundation" (no TV or computer), I have tried reasoning with him...all to no avail. He will not do it.



Now I am at a loss. I will not give in to him (because who wins there??) but I am killing myself every afternoon to get it done. I am so frustrated from this afternoon's argument (when I gave in and told him I was done fighting with him) that I don't want to do it anymore and then the rest of our evening is shot because we are both so angry and frustrated. But, again, who wins?



Maybe 3 worksheets is too much and I need to work in some "play" time as well...maybe we need to take a break...maybe I need a full time tutor to come to my home and do this for me...maybe I should just give in and let him use a computer for the rest of his life (as he is more than capable of doing that as evidenced by the video)...



Educators, teachers, parents...I need your help! How do you motivate your children to work? How do you bring out their fullest potential? What have you done in times like this?

6 comments:

Nicki said...

Is this worksheets from school or worksheets from you? If it's something that his teacher tells him he has to do he might be more receptive to it. I know when ANYONE other than me tells X to do something it's much better received. So if it's something you are doing, maybe you and his teacher can work together and "she" can give him the worksheets.

Crazy Momma said...

I have thought of, Nicki. Unfortunately, he is refusing to do his work in school lately too...

Today was easy - no problems. I guess I need to find a way to make days that he struggles a little less of a fight for us all.

Twenty Four At Heart said...

this brought back some old and ugly memories. And I have no solutions to offer either. Somewhere along the line things got better but it took a long time and I don't know how or why things finally improved for us. All I can offer his GOOD LUCK and I hope it gets easier.

Alex the Girl said...

Seriously, and hopefully for peace of mind, he's probablly not the only one doing this. The end of the year is quickly approaching, he's probablly been grinding for state testing (yes, it's that time again), and he's thinking "enough is enough." It doesn't make it any better for you, though. Try a different routine. When he gets home, give him a snack, bathroom break, lollygag time, etc, (no longer than ten to fifteen min.) and then have him start on his work. Let him have a small break now and then, esp. for Math and English. If you're adding your own work sheets, stop. Teachers add enough HW of their own (yes, I am a teacher, shame on me).

You can stick to your guns...If you say no computer/tv time if hw isn't done, then stick to it.

It helps that you stay on it, even though it may seem fruitless.

Anonymous said...

This might sound pretty simplistic, but have you tried a written schedule? For example, 3:00-3:15 Worksheet 1; 3:15-3:30 Treat and a body break 3:30-4:00 Worksheet 2, etc. Or, simply make a list of 5 items (worksheet 1 worksheet 2 worksheet 3, body break/exercise, and a treat and allow him to decide which to do first and check them off as he is finished with each. Then have a priviledge as the final item on the list...for example, 15 minutes of computer game time with an opportunity to earn an additional 5 minutes if he shows good behavior/cooperative spirit as he completes his list. My son is 6, and this kind of approach works extremely well, but we no longer need to write it out on a schedule. The work gets completed; he feels a good sense of control and accomplishment, and it reinforces the old adage good behavior is rewarded with priviledges and bad behavior has consequences, i.e., no video game time. A pointless argument would be an example of bad behavior. This all applies to the afternoon and afternoon video game time. Eating his dinner and showing good table manners equals 15 and 5 minutes of after dinner computer game time respectively. If your son has a short attention span, breaking the day into different sections with rewards and consequences for each part of the day might be a good idea. It will give him a chance to recover and try again. I am really consistent with this priviledge/consequence approach, and while it took a few days, it really works very, very well. Linda

deyoder said...

Hmmm...this is a terribly difficult road we're traveling in our home as well! I have a very bright little girl with some learning dis-abilities, and just like you, every afternoon is a battle...tooth and nail. I have learned that when we get to the point that we're both frustrated, we need to take a break. A snack, a trip to the backyard swings. Sometimes, when my husband's home, we switch things up and he works with her. I have to take myself out of the equation and remind myself that it's not about me and the frustration only makes it harder for her (this is terribly difficult for me and requires a ton of self-control I'm not always equipped with). Don't give in to the computer...encourage him. And be encouraged yourself! You care enough to fight for your child!