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Vent: Homework

Posted by on Apr. 21, 2013 at 11:33 AM
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I don't know how those of you with multiple children, with or without ADHD manage! No one else in my son's class has homework on weekends. The reason he has it is because he didn't do it in class! He is plenty capable, but it is a little different from what he has been doing and it's writing so the whining and time-wasting are amazing.

He has had breaks. He has prompting. He has an example to follow. He has had the assignment explained. I am frustrated. He is frustrated. We are wasting away the day.

Well, I am grateful that he brings home his assignments and that the teacher gives him the extra time and we are working on getting a 504. I am sure that there are others of you stuck monitering homework this morning.

I was away for most of the day yesterday and both he and DH forgot that he had homework to do. I believe it. It's just that when everyone in the house has some level of ADHD, what are you supposed to do to make sure that things get done!

by on Apr. 21, 2013 at 11:33 AM
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MomOfOneCoolKid
by Bronze Member on Apr. 21, 2013 at 7:23 PM

Hugs mom.

 

My thoughts are: theres gotta be a better way.

 

I'm not up on techniques of HW too much, but there is a ton of advice about HW "out there".

 

Actually, I think I have a post I saved from a friend in the autism group that was AMAZING!

 

I'll post it in a bit. Also, have you had your son tested for dysgraphia? Low muscle tone for his fingers? There might be a way for him to do the homework w/o as much writing incorporated into his IEP. And I would fight for an IEP. From what I hear, 504s are useless. I think of 504s as "if you can, please" vs IEP which are "you must".

MomOfOneCoolKid
by Bronze Member on Apr. 21, 2013 at 7:34 PM

Homework is a real struggle at our house, but some nights are better than others. I thought I'd share some things with you that are helping us. I know some of you may have kids that are great at doing homework, but for those of you that have kids that struggle, here's some ideas. If you have any of your own ideas that you would like to share, you can add them to the list as well.

 

 •1.      If your child has attention problems, anxiety problems, processing difficulties, or learning disabilities it can double or triple the amount of time it takes for them to get homework completed. If your child has social delays or sensory problems they may be exhausted by the end of the day which also makes it harder for them to complete school work than a child who is NT. Just because a child can complete assignments in school does not mean they will have the same amount of focus or energy level at night. For that reason monitor how well your child is doing with homework. Request the school reduce your child's homework as needed. This is especially important if you child has social/emotional activities they need to focus on at night.

•2.      Some children with ASD have extreme difficulty with academic work work due to processing delays, disgraphia, focus and attention, anxiety, sensory distractions, and commorbid learning disabilities. Other children with ASD excel at academics, because they have less of these issues or have superior intelligence. Make sure your teacher understands not all children with ASD present the same academic skill levels. It is important they focus on your individual child's needs and abilities as they determine what homework/school work your child can handle.

•3.      An appropriate amount of homework for an NT child is ten minutes per grade level. (For example a fourth grader should receive no more than 40 minutes of assigned homework. Or divide the amount of subjects by that number to equal the amount of homework your child should have per school subject. This helps when your child has multiple teachers.) Ask that your child be assigned that amount or less. I did extra homework with my child at night to keep him caught up most of his childhood, but now I wish I had not. This year we are being more vocal about how much homework we are willing to make our child complete. Honestly, I think my child focuses better at school the next day when he has not had as much work to do the night before. Therefore, the amount of learning is still high when he does less at night.

•4.      If your child struggles with writing, as some children with ASD do, request that your child's assignments be mostly in multiple choice or short answers. Your child should practice writing as well, but it will be counterproductive if he is focusing so much on writing that he misses the real point of the assignment such as history facts. Don't be afraid to ask that your child be allowed to focus on writing for writing or English class, but not for every subject.

•5.      Ask that you as the parent be allowed to adapt homework assignments when needed. If your child has an hour meltdown, for example, you should have the authority to shorten his time spent on homework if he needs down time to process his emotions. This is fair, because an NT child is not expected to deal with hours of emotional turmoil. Your child deserves time off as well, so be willing to advocate that he has that opportunity for down time.

•6.      Ask if your child can dictate answers to you, at times, if he struggles with writing. Make sure the school knows you are not willing to do this for every assignment, though. Your child deserves to be able to do some work independently. Independence is an important skill, so the school should provide short answer assignments when they can.

•7.      Experiment with times you complete homework. Some children desperately need a break to chill out after school. My child, however, can not handle homework well unless he does it as soon as he arrives home while he is still emotionally in "school" mode. Trying to do homework later after he has transitioned to "home" mode does not work well for him. See what system seems to work best for your child. Once you find a time that works, try to stick with it when possible.

•8.      Here are some sensory aides that help some children stay relaxed during homework: weighted vest or lap pad, wiggle air cushion or soft chair cushion, step stool under the feet so feet are not dangling, soft music or total silence depending on the child, scented item to smell, something to chew, something to touch, a clutter-free work space, light at a comfortable level for the child; etc.

•9.      Some children need to move in order to focus on studying. Try asking them their spelling words while they roll around on an exercise ball. If they are older they might study science vocabulary while they walk on a treadmill. Other kids are too distracted unless they sit at a table, so use more subtle sensory movement aides for them. For example, they can sit still at the table, but ring a bell with their hand each time they get a math flash card correct for some hand/arm movement.

•10.  Try stringing objects together to show a child how much they are accomplishing on school work. This helps with motivation. For example add a dried bean to a bowl each time a child completes a row of math problems or link a paper clip to a paper clip chain each time your child completes a homework page. When the child gets so many clips or beans allow them a five minute break to play with a sensory toy. Have rewards close by so your child is less likely to get completely off task by leaving the room.

•11.  For a child with anxiety about homework, find ways to add humor to homework time. Read a joke from a joke book to your child as a stress relief break. Accept some silly time during homework as this may be your child's way of releasing tension.

•12.  Remain as patient as possible with your child during homework time. If your child feels your stress during homework he/she will be more likely to try to avoid doing the homework.

•13.  Allow your child to type answers to some of his/her homework if that is easier for them than writing.

•14.  If it overwhelms your child to see a whole page of work, try this idea. Write individual questions or problems on a write on wipe off board. Let them answer the questions there before transferring their answer to their worksheet. Sometimes too much information on a page can create sensory overload and cause a child to avoid the task. Ask your child's teacher to adapt font sizes of school work if tiny words or numbers overwhelm them. You or the teacher could also try putting only four problems on a page so your child can focus on small amounts of work at a time. Just be careful you are not making all of the adaptions for your child. The school should also make adaptions so you are not spending your whole evening adapting homework pages. Also be sensitive to how much time the teacher has to adapt work. Try to work as a team with the school so no one is too overwhelmed.

•15.  Use reward charts or prizes for homework completion to make it fun.

•16.  If you are trying to help your child be motivated to work on homework independently, try to help them see the benefit to them. For example, if I can do the dishes while Ds does homework, than I will have time to play a game with him when homework is done. Verbalize what you can do with your child when all the work is done. If your child really needs help, though, make sure they understand it is ok to ask for help when they need it.

•17.  Try to alternate types of homework tasks in order to give your child's hand a break. Many kids with ASD have hand coordination difficulty. Let them write for a while then read or study for a hand break.

•18.  One thing that has worked greatly with DS is setting up Classroom expectations. He knows what is expected of him and willingly does his work. When he grumbles I always say "Well its your choice whether to the work or not" It motivates him to want to do it and he makes the choice to do it. Has worked wonders on him :)

•19.  DS likes having the tv or videos on - headphones too, just for backround noise. I think he also likes the pressure of the full headphone. The other day when he was sick, he talked about the headphones keeping his head from exploding. (FYI: I wouldn't recommend this. This is more for ASD kids)

•20.  DS prefers to use a clipboard to a desk or table. Sometimes he lays on the floor, sometimes on the bed or chair, but sitting at a table is difficult for him.

•21.  Once he is in homework mode, he doesn't want to get up to do anything. My DH will go to him as soon as he calls and sharpen pencils, get more paper or... If DS gets up, he is easily distracted, so it is better for us to cater to him (spoil him?)

•22.  I'm glad you mentioned this idea. My son constantly gets up. I'm trying to convince him that when he needs something he should ask us, because he gets very distracted when he goes to another room. It's great your son has learned to stay put and ask for help first.


Quote:

"Once he is in homework mode, he doesn't want to get up to do anything. My DH will go to him as soon as he calls and sharpen pencils, get more paper or...

If DS gets up, he is easily distracted, so it is better for us to cater to him (spoil him?)"

 

MomOfOneCoolKid
by Bronze Member on Apr. 21, 2013 at 7:36 PM

That was not me. It was a super hero mom in another group. She is AWESOME!

I copy and pasted it b/c I know the day will come when I will have to go through that list with fine tooth come! lol. Right now my son is 4, so, not yet lol

DDDaysh
by Bronze Member on Apr. 22, 2013 at 9:43 AM

 Ugh - I hate homework!  It is extra frustrating when it's something your kid just didn't get done in class. 

But, I'm also starting to seriously resent the amount of HW the school sends home.  It's just getting ridiculous, and what's worse, it's starting to kill DS's interest in reading.  He's got to finish a chapter book every 2 weeks right now, on top of other reading homework and a science book every week.  When there's so much pressure to get it all done, he just doesn't like doing it. 

 

MomOfOneCoolKid
by Bronze Member on Apr. 22, 2013 at 11:26 AM

 


Quoting DDDaysh:

 Ugh - I hate homework!  It is extra frustrating when it's something your kid just didn't get done in class. 

But, I'm also starting to seriously resent the amount of HW the school sends home.  It's just getting ridiculous, and what's worse, it's starting to kill DS's interest in reading.  He's got to finish a chapter book every 2 weeks right now, on top of other reading homework and a science book every week.  When there's so much pressure to get it all done, he just doesn't like doing it. 

 

I think its time for an emergency IEP meeting mom.

 

DDDaysh
by Bronze Member on Apr. 22, 2013 at 11:33 AM

 Oh no, my son doesn't qualify for an IEP.  He's got a 504, but they are always such a mess to try to edit at the end of the year.  I tried that last year and it ended up just making DS's life worse. 

Quoting MomOfOneCoolKid:

 

 

Quoting DDDaysh:

 Ugh - I hate homework!  It is extra frustrating when it's something your kid just didn't get done in class. 

But, I'm also starting to seriously resent the amount of HW the school sends home.  It's just getting ridiculous, and what's worse, it's starting to kill DS's interest in reading.  He's got to finish a chapter book every 2 weeks right now, on top of other reading homework and a science book every week.  When there's so much pressure to get it all done, he just doesn't like doing it. 

 

I think its time for an emergency IEP meeting mom.

 

 

clmsmom
by on Apr. 22, 2013 at 12:06 PM
1 mom liked this

I homeschool so probably have a little more freedom but it requires a great deal of patience...I have tried so many things and its a crap shoot every time what works. I have learned to overlook the inability to sit still. If he can get his schoolwork done sitting on his knees then ok - as long as he gets the work done. He is awesome about dropping pencils, looking around, zoning out, having a fit because he doesn't want to do his work. Some things I do are:

(1) Incentives. I know he loves to read and to be read to. I pick chapter books (right now we are reading the little house on the prairie series). If he doesn't do a good job (by good job I mean give it his best effort and that is a very different thing with an ADHD kid then a non ADHD kid.) on his homework I won't read. He knows that if he wants a story then he needs to focus and try to get it done. I also use things that he wants to do - going outside to play, getting a special snack.... etc..

(2) Breaks. Once I start seeing him get extra twitchy and losing focus and losing patience we stop and do stretching exercises or I will give him a 5 to 10 minute break to decompress and then we will come back to it. Sometimes I try to let him run out his extra energy before we even start school.

(3) Snacks and drink. I sometimes give snacks before and during his school work. It helps keep him focused and more mellow.

(4) I allow him to do his homework how he wants (most of the time). For instance..in his math if he wants to start with problems at the bottom of the page then fine - go ahead. As long as it all gets done and it gets done right. Sometimes I allow him to chose what subject we will cover. I give him choices. I allow him to pick the pencil and erasers he wants to use. It's the little things but you would be surprised at how far the little things like that can go.

(5) Patience. There are days when NOTHING works. Those are the days that you yourself have to work on keeping yourself calm and your tone mellow but forceful. They have to know that no matter what - the work needs to get done. I don't back down on that one. We have had some bad bad school sessions - primarily before his diagnosis - and at that time we were handling things all wrong. Now that we know and we understand things are better and much calmer. I know he has ADHD but he has to understand that no matter what - in life you still have a job to do. It can be frustrating and its ok to get frustated but these kids need us to guide them and help them learn how to handle their frustrations properly..

(6) I get the books we will cover that day and then I will give him one workbook and keep the rest until it's time to do them. He gets overwhelmed very easy. I would highly recommend going back to the school and working with them regarding your sons needs. With his homework maybe you can go through his bag and work on it bit by bit. Don't let him see the massive amount of work he has to do. Bring out one assignment at a time - leave the rest in the bag. Let him finish that assignment and bring out another one? I know my son practically hyperventilates if he sees a stack of books and knows he has to do it - one assignment at a time works so much better for him.

(7) No distractions if at all possible. My son has a school desk in a corner. He can't push the chair back, there is no tv he can watch or hear...Pretty much it's a quiet..uninteresting environment. He can't look out the window - just not a lot he can do but focus on his task at hand. Before we got that desk he was doing his homework at the dining room table and that was a nightmare.

Good luck! It's tough but so so worth it.

 


~CHANDA~

"A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank-account was, the sort of  house I lived in, or the make of car I drove. But the world may be different, because I was important in the life of a child." -Author Unknown

Verrine
by Bronze Member on May. 2, 2013 at 5:59 PM
1 mom liked this

Thanks for all the tips. I had to look up that NT meant neurotypical. It is always a relief that there are other moms dealing with the same things! 

Quoting MomOfOneCoolKid:

I thought I'd share some things with you that are helping us.... 

Verrine
by Bronze Member on May. 2, 2013 at 6:08 PM
1 mom liked this

We are reading the Little House books also. Actually, he's read most of the regular series. The ones toward the end where Laura is older aren't so interesting to him. Did you know that there are stories about the other women in her family? We are starting with her great-grandmother in Scotland. Those stories are written by Melissa Wiley. When he records his reading for homework, he puts "Little House," so I wonder if his teacher thinks he's been reading the same book for months. 

Patience is really hard for me. I have to fight my urge to yell at him to get it done already!

Quoting clmsmom:

(5) Patience. There are days when NOTHING works.

 

clmsmom
by on May. 3, 2013 at 1:26 PM

 I did not know that there were stories about the other women in her family! I will have to check that out. Thanks for the heads up on that.

We are on Farmer Boy but have the whole set to go. He doesn't seem as interested in it as he did the first one. He really gets into the stories told by Laura's Pa and he is a little disappointed that Farmer Boy doesn't have that. I am surprised because I thought with it being about a boy he would like it better - shows what I know!

Patience is exceptionally hard for me as well - He has given me a LOT but sometimes I wish I had more. :-/


Quoting Verrine:

We are reading the Little House books also. Actually, he's read most of the regular series. The ones toward the end where Laura is older aren't so interesting to him. Did you know that there are stories about the other women in her family? We are starting with her great-grandmother in Scotland. Those stories are written by Melissa Wiley. When he records his reading for homework, he puts "Little House," so I wonder if his teacher thinks he's been reading the same book for months. 

Patience is really hard for me. I have to fight my urge to yell at him to get it done already!

Quoting clmsmom:

(5) Patience. There are days when NOTHING works.

 


 


~CHANDA~

"A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank-account was, the sort of  house I lived in, or the make of car I drove. But the world may be different, because I was important in the life of a child." -Author Unknown

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