Help with homework issue

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by wintak, May 24, 2011.

  1. wintak

    wintak New Member

    Last night was ...shall we say best. Monday is the one day he has to do his homework at home. The rest of the days the school helps him with it. So he comes home with the equivalent of "Mad Libs" where you fill in the blank and it makes a funny story. And he argues with me about MOST of his homework. One blank says "verb ending in "ing" and he puts 'tree'

    that's not a verb and it doesn't end in "ing".
    show me where it ends in "ing"

    and it goes from there. His map of his room was horrid. I wouldn't let him turn it in. (it was for extra credit anyway, which he doesn't need) For one, the teacher doesn't know if it's accurate or not but he's got the closet under a picture on the wall which isn't even close...and the bed, dresser and bookcase altogether...and they are not in real life.

    USUALLY I let him turn in POS work because some books say to let him take the consequence at school. He truly doesn't care about the consequence at school. I have found that as long as the math homework has answers, it is deemed "complete" and not checked for accuracy. I have found that's probably true in other subjects, too.

    My question is..what are your suggestions for what to do when he argues with me about something that is clearly wrong and he's adamant that's it not. Deep down, I feel he knows it's wrong but wants to pick a fight.

    And his school isn't the only one that kind of passes over homework, so it's not a school per se issue, but more of a school district issue.

    Thanks all
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Does he have learning disabilities which make his homework hard or school hard in general? A lot of Learning Disability (LD) kids (and they can be smart) just give up and have trouble doing homework.
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    As a parent, we fell into the "its his attitude" trap at that age... and it ends up being a combination of things (for us) - many of which are common...
    - ADHD - things that "normal" people see intuitively in an assignment, ADHD people don't; if there's more than one way to interpret it, we'll take it the wrong way. So, kids learn really fast to hate homework - they have no idea if they are on the right track or not.
    - ADHD part 2 - much focus is on the attention and hyperactivity sides of thix diagnosis... but the executive functions are often seriously delayed and/or impaired - planning, organization, initiation, etc.
    - LDs can to undetected for years, especially if the kid is smart... in some systems, you have to be beind by at least two grades to even be considered for screening.
    - Other hidden disabilities can be lurking as well (fine motor skills, auditory processing issues, etc.)
    - Drug rebound effect - by the time he gets home from school, the Concerta is likely winding down far enough that they get what's called "rebound effect" - and essentially, you're dealing with a kid who doesn't have the positive effects of the medications to help... AND has the negative effects to work through...

    So, maybe he needs a top-up medication (can add small doses of ritalin later in the day - early enough to wear off before bedtime but enough to help with things like homework)? This would only deal with the medications issue, though, and there may be more going on.
  4. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    I find the most effective approach is to let natural consequences take their course. If you are arguing over the homework and the teacher excepts it then you are simply made out to be the bad guy and future communications become more difficult. I would point out the error clearly with out judgement and let him make the decision to fix it or not. Then let the natural consequences take over the learning process. Although, sometimes later on when his mood is better, he is not as tired and we are not focusing on the homework, or if he wants something from me, I might make a second suggestion that he fix it. My son is far more receptive when I have let it drop and ask calmly later. It is not worth the fight.

    It is a shame the school district has no quality focus.
  5. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    I agree with Aerong--

    and WE learned the hard way. I would battle over homework...and like you, I didn't want my child to turn in work that was not even close to being what the assignment said...

    But it turned out that my difficult child was right! It made no difference whether she did a good job or not...whether she put in an effort or not....whether she wrote "Bubblegum" as the answer to a math question or "Tree" as the answer to Verb ending in ING.

    There was no penalty whatsoever.

    Just a Mom at home....with a throbbing headache over NOTHING...who was obviously very mean and misguided in her efforts.
  6. wintak

    wintak New Member

    I do have ritalin that I can give him in the afternoon but I swear it doesn't do any good (it's a 5mg) and/or he bounces even HIGHER than before he was on it. I've talked to the doctor about that but right now the possible side effect of risperdone is the issue at hand for the doctor.

    He has been tested out the kazoo for all kinds of physical and mental issues. He has come up with no Learning Disability (LD).

    Our previous psychologist and our currents ones have indeed touched on the lack of executive function. Not really how to deal with it, other than to know it's very far behind and he's going to need some guidance. But in this case, how does the lack of executive function come into play? He's arguing with me about stuff that is blatantly wrong.

    Just communicated with is literacy teacher...he's currently in 2nd grade, but his reading/comprehension is at an independent FOURTH grade level. WOW. NO ONE..and I do mean NO ONE in his immediate family (including gma) has ever seen or heard him read at a 4th grade level, much less comprehend what he read. It makes me wonder why he doesn't want to "show off" for us.

    So Daisy...what do you do? Just let it all go and let her turn in stuff that obviously isn't wrong even when you KNOW there are no consequences?

    And yes, it's depressing about the district, but like I said, it's not just his school doing this. Maybe if they'd quit cutting educational spending we could get more help for GT/Special Education/IEP's and helpers for the teachers.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Executive functions are "known" - but not nearly enough about "how to help".

    Executive functions control the ability to:
    - inhibit (not do stuff)
    - shift (move from one activity to another)
    - control emotion
    - initiate (get started)
    - use working memory
    - plan, organize
    - monitor (progress, social feedback. etc.)

    There's probably others, but... as you can see, you're likely hitting many of these on Monday!
    He's just SHIFTed from home to school today, so today wasn't a good day. And, the school day entails all sorts of shifts - the usual (one subject to another), and the planned (field trip) and the unplanned (sub!)
    His mind is full of other things, which he hasn't sorted and organized and stored, so his working memory is way down - and he really needs it to do the homework.
    Homework takes all sorts of planning and organizing... which makes the task larger than it looks, and he really has trouble getting going on it.

    Surprised? We were. They really do have to learn how to do these things - but "normal" parents and "normal" teachers don't even know how to do these things either, because for them it comes naturally. (and ADHD parents can't teach it either, because we don't know for ourselves!).

    We simply cut "home" out of homework for a few years. Put it in the IEP?
  8. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    wintak: A verb ending in "ing"
    Son: Tree!
    wintak: Hmmm, tree-ing... "To tree": what's that, then?

    See where he takes it. Is he just being obstreperous or does he really have some (creative) thought behind it? My son often makes these strange, rather surreal but interesting leaps - to do with the ADHD mind, I don't know? A small example that comes to mind. Earlier on tonight he asked "Is it summer?" He knows summer means heat, of course. I said, "Nearly!" He said: "Hot! With seven suns!" Which I thought was a rather beautiful and striking image for heat...
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I have a couple of things on this subject. First, not to be argumentative, but in the area of the country that I live in, the word "tree" CAN be a verb. It is used when someone/something is chased up a tree, usually by an animal. As in the sentence, "My dog spent last night treeing squirrels." or "That mutt treed my cat for the last time yesterday!". I do not know if this is what your son had in mind, but to give him the benefit of the doubt, here in OK it CAN be a verb.

    Chances are he was NOT thinking of that though. Have you stopped to think about WHY this is such a hot button for you? I am NOT throwing stones - it was a huge hot button for me but our schools don't give homework other than spelling words and reading for twenty minutes a night until middle school. My kids have always chosen to read at least an hour a day on their own (other than rent and food and utilities, books are usually the single biggest item in our budget - and we rarely buy new ones!) and none of my kids ever needed to do much more than read over the spelling list, so homework is always a shock in middle school. But to me, homework was super important. It was a chance to show what you know and get an easy A. Wiz NEVER saw it that way.

    Many of us have to accept that if school does not give a sh** then there is NO way to get our kids to care. I hated the way some teachers felt that the district guideline of 1 hr of homework per night for middle and jr high grades meant that EACH teacher should give that much homework. Kids spend at least 8 hrs at school, many sleep 8 hrs and that leaves 8 hrs for transportation, homework, activities, and family time. Of COURSE family time is what school and coaches don't care about, so often they try to fill those hours also. I have ALWAYS resented that, both as a student and as a parent. It is a major reason we limit the kids to one after school activity.

    WHAT is your child getting from homework? He clearly knows that you are the ONLY one who cares what is written down. SO mostly it is just a battleground. Is it really worth ruining the evening to battle of whether his closet is near his bed? Consider the stress many of our kids are under at school. They are different. Everyone knows it - and they are invariably teased about it. Regardless of how they handle teasing, kids are cruel and many teachers simply close their eyes to it unless something really outrageous happens. Plus the socially aware kids know to save the meanness for times when the teacher is not paying attention. so our kids struggle to learn, to fit in, to do everything in an intense pressure cooker all day. Then they come home - and often fall apart. Homework is usually NOT going to teach them anything except that the torture doesn't end when you come home. Think back to your WORST year in school. Then figure that your child is like that or worse every single day. Think about what they are supposed to learn from an assignment that no one bothers to even look at as long as something is written down. in my opinion no one expects them to really do the work, it is just a waste of time as far as learning is considered. Kids are trained to worry about what is on the test - it is how schools are now set up. So there is no learning for learning sake. Add that to the mental and emotional overload our kids are on after a day of school and there is little hope for peaceful homework.

    Consider if your relationship with your child is worth trashing over assignments taht clearly his school does not give a sh** about. Or is it a better idea to let him do as he pleases with it, and save the battling for issues that will matter in the long run? Clearly homework doesn't matter to school, even in the short run. I am all for supporting education, but not busywork given for no real learning purpose. Why not save the fight and use the time/energy to read a book outloud to each other. You read a paragraph, he reads one. Or you read it all. I recommend "Zombie Butts from Uranus" for kids his age. They are a RIOT and totally on the right age level - and far more interesting than those awful Captain underpants books!! Or get a book on CD and listen to it while you snuggle or fix dinner together. Your relationship will improve and you will save the fighting for issues you can make a difference on. Homework is NOT going to matter as long as no one else at school cares. Or get his IEP changed to read that he does NOT have homework at all. MANY of us do this because it isn't reasonable to expect ten hours of work out of a kid with our kids' problems. They struggle enough with-o the added battles that serve no purpose.
  10. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I finally gave up on the homework thing, and also refused to help at all unless I was asked in a civilized manner, and would also stop helping once I got shouted at. School dealt with school things, as much as possible, and if they wanted to give her detention or take recess for not finishing or correcting her incorrect homework, it was fine with me.
  11. wintak

    wintak New Member

    this has been my argument since he was 3...when everyone tells me to drop this or drop that or don't worry about this or don't worry about that or let it go. Ok, but when do we start to have expectations from him? At 3 and 4 he was too young. At 5 and 6 he was "a little guy" and 7 I still heard the young and little guy he's 8. So when do I start expecting him to do things correctly?

    I do remember homework way back when. I remember having to go to school, having after school activities, having homework to do and there were expectations. So why in this day and age do we NOT expect anything from our kids (adhd or not?).

    We do not have an IEP. He has no intellectual troubles.

    Susiestar...we live in the city so no, he would never have heard the word "tree" used as a verb. ;)

    Malika - obstinate. I know some will chastise me, but he's obstinate.
  12. erbaledge

    erbaledge New Member

    Oh, Susiestar, where were you tonight? (Wish you were here in my house on my shoulder) I wish I would have read your post prior to this evening.
    Wintak, I am completely having pretty much the same issues as you are; however my child is 16 and in 10th grade.

    This semester I've let the school handle all the missing homework (told them I would at the end of last semester), as it was creating so much chaos at home, it was never pleasant to be here.

    Alas, here my gfg16 sits with- THREE F's, one of which is in her General Ed (Special Education I think) class - hth you can fail that class is beside me. The school has not followed through on their part with her IEP in regards to keeping up on the assignments, and yet again this semester is con-sequencing her the LAST 3 weeks (late school/detention each week). Never mind you, that I called them 3 weeks in to the semester to inform them (shouldn't they know) that she was missing work, and was kindly informed that they were going to wait it out and see if she could turn it around. HA!

    So, end of semester, it's Finals. Gfg16 was given a TAKE HOME final, told she can use whatever means to answer it. Has until Tuesday. I say okay, 30 minutes each day working on it. "Sure Mom! I will do it later." HAHAHAHA - the baloney that comes out of these kids' mouths really bites! 'Later' arrived as it was an hour til bedtime, she refused, told to go to room (upstairs), she refused, told to go to the dining area (can't see tv), she refused. I was trying to watch American Idol, I rarely watch tv programs I want (maybe 1 or 2 hrs a wk). So I pick up the tv (tube and heavy) and haul it into my room, hunt down another cable cord, get everything plugged in, sit down, and WTH, 3 minutes left of the show! Man was I angry!

    Now, after reading this thread, and SusieStars response, I sit here and go - man was I stupid! I'm NOT going to stress over this stuff again. It's her EASY final exam, if she wants to NOT do it, so be it, then she will fail that class even more so (already and F, but exam could raise it hopefully to a D). Because, like SS said, I truly am the only person who cares, not only about a letter grade, but about the fact that I want my difficult child to have some knowledge in her bank - but screw it, why care? Why, when all it did was infuriate me soooo much that I wasn't able to be a nice parent to my other two kids.

    (sorry wintak to post all my gunk in here, but both posts are related. Homework has ALWAYS been an issue with this, at least this semester I've avoided the physically violent rages over homework issues)

    With all that said and done, Can you really have an IEP that says NO HOMEWORK? Seriously? How? Tips? Please? Does that go for High School too?

    <phew, by the way, I DO feel a little less stressed after letting all of that out>

  13. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Then, if you are sure the problem is his "obstinacy", you will know that putting pressure on him to come up with one answer will make him want to go the other way... I see this with my son on a daily basis. Why engage in fruitless battle with an 8 year old?
    Have expectations but be realistic about what ones he can meet, I guess. Otherwise you are just banging your own head against the wall all the time.
    by the way, when I was in primary school (up to age 11), there was NO homework. That was when educational thinking was at a liberal point in the circle. I am therefore conditioned to think that homework at this age is strange and unnecessary...
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    GREAT responses here! I feel so at home. We've got the same issue.
    I agree, that I would not deal too much with-the homework at home except when it's absolutely necessary. I would have swallowed hard, and let him turn in the inaccurate picture of his room. (Although my difficult child desperately needs extra credit, even 1/2 pt.)

    Just to confuse things (and don't tell difficult child this), "To tree" is to chase an animal up a tree, such as when a dog trees a raccoon. "Fido is treeing a raccoon" would not be typical English in today's usage, but passable.
    Okay, so shoot me. ;)

    I would have had him say a sentence aloud to prove his point. Of course, he would have argued and refused to say the sentence ...

    Many hugs...
  15. wintak

    wintak New Member

    That is SOOOO true