Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Homework

Written April 25, 2012

I know of a few kids with autism that boycott homework. It is not always necessarily the work itself, but the fact that it is SCHOOL work, coming HOME. SCHOOL work belongs at SCHOOL and doesn’t have anything to do with HOME. I heard recently of a mom who disguised homework for her son with autism by calling it a different name and it worked for a while for that family. Tate hates homework. He compartmentalizes everything and cannot stand for anything to be out of place. Bringing school work home breaks his “rules.” He does not often have homework because his teachers know how much he hates it. He does homework when he has it though. It works best to save it until morning, before school, if it is a short assignment. It doesn’t “ruin” his whole evening that way. He protests the loudest if I suggest he do it immediately after school. Of course, that is how my other kids have always done it. They come home, do the homework, and then have the rest of the evening. Not Tate. 

A few days ago, Tate had some homework. His para told me Tate had taken it out of his backpack and tried to leave it at school a couple of times and the para made him put it back in both times. Tate finally said “But if I take it home, my mom will make me DO it.” HA  That IS the idea, kid. 

Tate is in fourth grade but he has math in the resource room and has been doing second grade math this year. Most of his math lessons, for years now, have revolved around coin recognition and counting money. Word problems are out of the question because of the language involved. Processing all that language is impossible for Tate. Figuring out the operation to use, what information is needed and what information is not needed to solve a problem is too much. I hope someday he will be able to sift through all those things.

I am excited though! This week, Tate started doing multiplication. Since he only just began adding two digit numbers and “carrying” from the ones place to the tens, I was amazed. Multiplication? I didn’t think we’d see multiplication for another year or two, at least. Yes, I know, jumping up and down because a ten-year-old mastered zeros and ones on the multiplication table, may seem ridiculous. However, he was only adding single digit numbers without a calculator a few weeks ago; and he doesn’t yet subtract two digit numbers without a calculator. After school this afternoon, I looked in Tate’s backpack and saw he had worked on multiplying by twos today. I asked him to solve a few multiplication problems while we drove home. He did four or five correctly, missed a few, and then said “What’s with the math in the car?” I suppose he thought it was too close to HOME work. I should have called it “car math” and tried to get away with it that way. HA!

Disguising things with a name change won’t be working for us most likely. Tate was recommended for summer school (also called Extended School Year or ESY) for the first time. I knew if I called it summer school he would be horrified so I introduced the idea as a “math camp” at his school this summer. He was still horrified. He’ll be fine…. eventually. Ha

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