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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Homework Help!!!

Editorial note: Today's post is dedicated to team 7R...Blue's awesome team of teachers.  Thank you all!

Homework with Blue my Asperger tween,s has become this...thing...this major league, gigantic, anxiety-ridden, time-eating, monster-thing, which is starting to erode our quality of life after school.  There is hardly any time to play, relax, watch a movie, exercise or hang out with friends.  It's all about trying to slay this monster every night so that the teachers, "won't be mad because I didn't finish it."

This year he basically skipped a year of math and moved up into an advanced class which is on the 8th grade level instead of 7th.  Now don't get me wrong...his grades are all in the 90's, so he's doing fine.  But he comes home and acts like he is totally overwhelmed by the homework.  I'm not a math kind of girl...especially an advanced math kind of girl.  In a pinch, I can get on the internet and figure out the basics of a problem, but I'm not good at it by any stretch.

Dad does the helping out in the math department.  You didn't hear this from me, but he teaches everything the long way...and sometimes, the wrong way.  Which means, Blue actually ends up teaching him.  They do this Tango...and it takes them 2 hours to do an assignment that should take say...30 minutes.  Last week they actually worked on 10 word problems for well over 2 hours.  I had to leave the room and go have a drink to keep from pulling my hair out.

In my mind, homework should be practice of what you have already learned at school.  If you don't know it...you should go back to school and have them teach it to you until YOU KNOW it.  It's not about what your PARENTS know...or in this case what they DON'T know.

So I call a meeting with his teachers to talk about the homework issue.  In his case...he is college bound, so he doesn't want his assignments cut.  But, we need to make things more manageable so that he isn't freaking out every night...better yet, so I'm not freaking out every night.

I am so delighted to walk into a room this morning with each and every one of his 7th grade teachers...i.e., Math, Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, APS (study skills), the 7th grade Principle and his Special Ed. Tracking Teacher.  Wow!  All of these adults in a room...just to help my kid! Thank you teachers!

They all say that he is doing great!  He is an awesome student, but get this...he hardly asks any questions.  Sometimes he does get preoccupied with thoughts.  He doesn't always move as quickly as he could, or should,  but basically he's doing great.  Even when he stays after school for tutorials, he doesn't really ask very many questions, he just does his work and he does it in a relatively short period of time.

So why are we getting the okie doke here at home?  Why is he suddenly so confused, needs so much help and takes so much time?  Could it be that he just wants our 1 on 1 attention?  Does he want to steal a little bit of Red's thunder (he who requires our attention in a very negative, all-consuming fashion)?  Is he just zonked at the end of the day?  Is it his anxiety? Is he distracted by thoughts of, "I'd rather be on my computer than doing this freakin' homework?"  Oh and lets not forget the almighty, energy consuming quest for perfection.  Having Aspergers gives you a healthy combination of all of the above...especially the anxiety and being tired at the end of the day.  It takes a lot to hold it together and be perfect all day at school.  There is no energy left for perfection here at home.

I am so glad that we had this meeting because if I told him any of the things below...he would not believe or listen to me.  What the heck do I know? He got to hear it directly from the source (all of his teachers.  Here is what we came up with:

1) Blue...you are an awesome student!  We know you work hard and want to to things right.
2) Do homework to the best of your ability.  Circle the problems you don't understand and bring them in the next day for reteaching, or clarification. It will not be considered late.
3) Do test corrections (with a teacher) at school...not here at home (YAY!)
4) Work with Special Ed teacher to plan (stair step) larger projects.
5) Come in for tutorials before and/or after school...ask questions if you need to.
6) Go to the public library if you need a quiet place to work.
7) Leave your mom and dad out of doing homework with you...it's slowing you down!  WOO HOO!!!
8) When you spend less time doing homework, you can have some downtime to spend 1 on 1 with your parents doing something fun.

The bottom line is this:

Stop freaking out about everything...your teachers care about you.  They think you're doing great and they are here to help!