I don’t know if this is considered bad form, but I just wrote such a long response to a question I came across on a Facebook posting for Hartley’s Life with 3 Boys that I want to turn it into a blog post. I put more time and thought into it than I had initially intended, and I’m adding a few things here. I mostly feel the need to write things after a comment or question made by someone else starts me thinking. I really want to post something today, and I have so much other stuff to get done, too – including reading through all the comments that have showed up since I checked last evening (I promised myself to get the laundry and cleaning out of the way first, and that can be my reward:). Plus, this is a less angsty, slice of life sort of thing that I want to be able to write about sometimes. If I get more time later I may move on to something deeper. Then again, who knows?
On asking for help:
I feel like mentioning first that reason I got on Facebook this morning before venturing here or even to my email is that I decided to ask for something I want. Specifically, I was asking friends nearby for help with transporting my youngest home from school certain days so that I can have time to spend on my Aspie son and his homework right when he gets home and can still focus. That’s a pretty big thing for me – the asking and the sharing of a little Aspie part of our lives . But since I’ve been asking people here for help with questions and for doing me the great favor of reading my initial posts, I’m very pleased with how that’s working out, so I’m trying to build on that momentum. While I was writing this I just got interrupted by a friend letting me know she can help with my request, so that’s worked out, too. I also asked/informed hubby this morning that he ought to tell me I look skinny today, which I do, because I haven’t yet found a way to eat while doing all this typing. Since he’s an intelligent man, he responded with appropriate enthusiasm 🙂
And now on to what was supposed to be my post before I digressed. On the subject of how we approach homework for my three boys:
I don’t know what would work for anyone else, but this year my ASD guy started high school, and we’ve mostly gotten into a groove with the homework after a pretty bumpy start. Mostly it’s been a matter of insisting that he and I both go through each subject for the day and see what needs done and if he has the needed papers, books, etc., BEFORE we can talk about going off to do anything else. I still have to insist on this every day. Then I ask him to give me an estimate of how long each item will probably take, and we figure out a total (adding a bit more time in case he’s figured low), and we look at what else is happening that evening and how much time he has to work with. He has a parapro, and she provides her own list of the homework assignments, in case he missed anything. I had to ask pretty insistently for that, as a matter of fact, but it’s been a huge help.
At this stage, it’s working much better to then ask my ASD guy to generate a plan himself for how he’s going to get things done and in what order, but I used to do that for him. He’s finally become invested in doing well after so many years of me thinking he maybe never would, and being a teenager, he feels a great need to be in control of as much of his day as possible. If time permits, he really seems to need a half an hour of downtime before beginning his homework, so I go along with that, but I keep tabs on the time to make sure that after that he’s at work. If I don’t, it’s a crapshoot as to whether he’ll get moving on his own when the timer goes off or not. If there’s a ton of homework, he can alternate his work with timed breaks. Again, I need to help keep track.
For ASD boy, habit is everything, and if we let things slide or I don’t keep track of his time with him, he gets overwhelmed and starts becoming very resistant to working on much of anything. He has a nice big desk in his room now (mostly he stores stuff there, but it leaves his bed free as a workspace :), so I often have him work there and check on him if his brothers are too much of a distraction. I do have to keep checking, though, because he’ll lose track of what he’s supposed to be doing.
My middle son is NT, but he’s a procrastinator and very absent-minded, and he has pretty intense anxiety and anger issues. What’s finally ended up working for him is that we go through much of what I do with my older son, but more quickly and usually just verbally. If he doesn’t make a plan right when he gets home, it won’t occur to him again that anything needs to be done until late enough in the evening that he ends up having a meltdown. With him, too, a timed period of free time, then back to work until it’s done.
My youngest is only 7 and ahead of grade level in reading and math, so even if we forget his homework until morning, right now it’s no biggie. I do try to get him working on the same plan as the others when I can, mainly because I finally have a system worked out, and habit is such a big deal around here, but he has so little homework, and sometimes there’s just not enough of me to go around and keep track of everybody 🙂 Sometimes something’s just gotta give.