Homework again!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ML, Dec 27, 2007.

  1. ML

    ML Guest

    I know this is a subject that has been discussed before but I hope you'll bear with me while I talk about one of my major concerns with school.

    Actually it's not homework in general right now. It's reading. Getting my son to focus for 20 minutes is an experience that drains me to the core. We bribe, beg and soemtimes threaten to take away priveleges. As a result of me usually losing this battle, he is struggling to maintain at grade level.

    I was wondering if this is an area that a stimulant would help with? I'm not sure how much is AS and how much is ADHD. If it's AS related, will these medications still help? I know that I've read enough on here that the results are a mixed bag. I guess I could use some positive stories.

    We see a new psychiatrist in 2 weeks. I've spoken with her on the phone and feel that she's headed towards suggesting one (stimulant). She told me that the Celexa he is on for anxiety (which has helped about 50 percent) can maket he attention issues worse. I didn't know that.

    Janna thank you for posting about the spectrum anxiety. It really was validating. I worry about all of those things.

    Hugs to all,

  2. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I'm assuming he has to read for 20 minutes a night, correct? Could you break it up into something more manageable, like 5 minute increments?

    Just a thought.
  3. ggluvbug

    ggluvbug New Member

    Just be careful with a stimulant and and anxiety problem.

    My son has the same issue, but a stimulant makes that worse.

    One thing I have found that helps some is the "you read, I read" method" I make my son read for about 5 minutes, then I read to him for 5 minutes. We do this back and forth until he has read for 20 minutes. It seems to help him.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Stims didn't help my son, in fact they made him more hyper. Some Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids do good on stims. I sat next to my son while he read and made sure he understood what he was reading and also kept him focused. He took one break--that seemed to be all he needed. Eventually, he did all his reading in school with his aide doing what I'd done, which made it easier for everyone. Son seems to have trouble motivating himself if somebody isn't there for morale support (or at least in the same room). Also, if it's not a subject he's interested in, son has more trouble with focus. He now reads at a twelfth grade level. He is fourteen. I think all the extra attention helped him.
    We also did you read, I read. His aide did too. He doesn't require that anymore.
  5. Mrs Smith

    Mrs Smith New Member

    For my son, tracking and eye fatigue was the issue. Good lighting, using a bookmark to isolate the line as he read and breaking it down into smaller chunks helped. We also did the - you read one page, I'll read the next. Maybe try audio books so he can read along with the narrator.

    Figuring out where the breakdown occurs will be the most help to finding a solution. Good luck!
  6. tammyjh

    tammyjh New Member

    It could also be that he's working so hard to focus at school and keep it together all day that by the time he gets home, he just doesn't have the ability to do it. I agree with trying to break it down into 5 minute increments...or the audio book.
  7. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    First off, I disagree strongly with assigning "twenty minutes" of reading along with homework. Reading should be pleasurable and intrinsic, NOT HOMEWORK. Believe me, most kids do plenty of reading in school and reading for assignments. Last year, I revolted when it came to son. His desire to read was being destroyed by the assigned twenty minutes and reading....ugh!... LOGS to keep track. To Son, like Daughter before him, reading was being coming just another assignment, and CHORE, that he had to do for school. So, I informed his teacher (who is a really great guy) that son was done with all of it and please don't give him logs because I will round file them.

    Son now reads for enjoyment. What he enjoys the most is us reading together. Like the other responses, he favors you read a page/I read a page method. Sometimes, though, he will say to me,"Mom, I'm going to read silently by myself just for fun." He has read, and finished, five novels this year. Sometimes he reads 10 minutes and sometimes he reads 40 minutes. No more watching the clock. I also don't advocate AR.

    Okay, now that I have had my little rant, what practical advice to I have to offer? Well, I would advise reading with difficult child. Make it time to spend together reading something difficult child ENJOYS. If he can only focus for five minutes, fine. Don't make an issue of it and DON'T WATCH THE CLOCK. Watching the clock makes reading something that difficult child has to ENDURE. The story and plot isn't the focus, "putting in the time" is made the goal which is detrimental to kids in the long run IMNSHO. I understand that teachers and schools desperately want to achieve reading proficiency, but making it a regimented assignment is counter productive .

    Also, I see your difficult child is nine. This is an age that is typical when boys start losing an interest in reading. They tend to prefer Nonfiction over fiction and subjects that, lets just say, are kinda gross and nasty. So, encourage him to read about things that interest him. Take him to the public library and let him pick whatever he wants. It's easier to pay attention when they find the subject interesting.

    As far as stims, they didn't help son either. He became aggressive and very rude and his attention span wasn't help at all.

    Good Luck!
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    A family friend is a reading specialist and she strongly recommends putting the captions on the TV and keeping them on all the time. It does draw the student to the words.

    She also buys a ton of books on tape and uses them. She has kids read along with the audiobook and it seems to make a HUGE difference for many.

    Just thought I would throw these out.

  9. ML

    ML Guest

    Thanks ladies. I've always read with him and we do the taking turns thing as well. So I guess I'm doing some things right. I do wonder what the actual breakdown is. I used to think it was because he held it in all day at school and couldn't keep it up once he was home (after several more hours at daycare) he was spent. But over the winter break he's been just as difficult and stubborn. I took the week off with him. I have to say he does better on a routine! This has been a difficult week in some ways. We've been practially snowed in and he's going stir crazy. But no matter how bored he gets, homework is not something he ever wants to do.

    Not very encouraging on the stims. I've resisted a long time, in part because of his anxiety. But I may go ahead with the doctor's recommendations this time.

    Wish me luck. Thank you for all the great advice!!

  10. tammyjh

    tammyjh New Member

    My difficult child does best on a routine as well. The problem with that in our house is that with 3 other younger children, its hard to maintain one. You can only do your best. Wishing you lots of luck on the decision of medications and let us know how it goes.
  11. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The only way we can get the reading in is for husband to read to difficult child at bedtime. Even that has only really started this year as before he wouldn't even let someone read to him.
  12. jannie

    jannie trying to survive....

    I have the same problem with both of my kids. Right now I'm more concerned with the fact that I can not get difficult child 2 to read novels at all. I actually spent an entire therapist session discussing how to entice and or force child to do this. t-doctor is not a fan of punishment for not reading...however nothing works, :thumbsdown:m My husband says not to stress about it because although he refuses to read his novels, he is a reader, and enjoys reading nonfiction...give him Guiness World Record Book or Ripley's most disguisting records...or sports illustrated for kids or picture books and he'll easily sit for 20 minutes a day.

    However, he is required to read 3 books per quarter and it just isn't happening. Even paying him to read a book doesn't seem to work....

    I do think books on tape...or reading aloud is a good strategy...for us though the teacher says it's unacceptable because there is no reason difficult child 2 is refusing to read.

    I think I'm just giving up because I can't deal with the stress of it all-Aside from the reading, 90% of the time, he completes his homework--

  13. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member


    The reason is that difficult child is typical for his age. In fact, boys his age through middle school are the subject of numerous trainings and workshops for librarians. There are exceptions, but for the most part, they DO NOT LIKE TO READ NOVELS. That he's reading plenty of non-fiction is great. I wish teachers (teachers on this forum please don't be mad at me) would back off reading "novels", or "good literature" at this age except what they read in class.

    I don't get the problem with the books on tape.

    I love the world record books, comic books, and Mad Magazine, when I was that age and it only fostered my love of reading as an adult.
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I know LOTS of men who learned to read with comic books. My dad was one, and so were many of my friends.

    I don't get the non-fiction books don't count thing. I do think the captions on tv might help slip some reading in.

    Does the teacher have to know the books on tape are being used? And how does the teacher know the child is just "refusing " to read? What evaluations have been done, and do you feel they are accurate?

    Can you figure out what non-fiction topic he really likes and then find fiction books about them? Say he likes dinosaurs and then you read dinosaur books.

    I know this is a gross title, but is "The Day my But( Went Psycho" a book that might entice? There is a sequel, "Zombie BuT(s From Uranus" that is also very funny.

    Would MadLibs at dinner with HIM reading the funny story entice? It is very popular with my kiddoes.


  15. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Honestly...and I'm going to get in trouble here....but when difficult child's anxiety was elevated and the teachers wouldn't budge on the reading log, I made it up. At the end of the 6th grade she was reading at mid-ninth grade level. I've never worried about her reading skills. And after school was just too much for her. She needed to come back to earth after holding all of that anxiety in all day. She read on the weekends. A lot. She was getting it in, just not the way the teachers wanted it. So, I fudged the log. *shrugs*

    They also weren't picky about what they read, though, just that they read. I think it's ridiculous how picky they are being at your school.

    ETA: I'm not encouraging you to fudge homework assignments. However, the reading logs themselves became a huge source of anxiety with my difficult child. At first if she didn't read, I didn't fill them out. Then she got put on yellow for having missing assignments (they used the color code behavior system). That meant a note came home that I had to sign. Well, with a kid that has super-high anxiety, being on yellow is just one step above murder. And one day she made it to orange because she was already on yellow and I forgot to sign the note. I thought she was going to fall apart.

    Homework itself took a minimum of 2 hours a night to do because she couldn't focus. by the way, this was the 3rd grade. And that was all anxiety...not ADHD. The school wouldn't work with me at all, so I did what I had to do.
  16. tammyjh

    tammyjh New Member

    Heather, I've fudged a few reading logs as well. Not for difficult child though because in the lower elem. grades, she always read for the amount of time given becaust "that was the rule." Homework didn't become a real big issue for her until sometime after 3rd grade. I fudge them a bit for my easy child's. They're both top readers in their grades (1st and 2nd) and both love to read but there's something about the word "homework" being attatched to the reading that makes them stubborn. I guess because its "mandatory". Ds can read anything he wants and only needs to do 10 minutes. daughter has assigned reading for 20. So, sometimes I round off their minutes. But its not like they're not reading because they're reading something a good deal of the time.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My son has an IEP where he can read what he likes to read. He loves reading, but certain topics bore him. He is in eighth grade and reads at a twelfth grade level. Reading is definitely one issue we don't worry about. I remember that I hated reading teacher's "selected" books, although I can read up to three books a week now and am a writer. If you don't like the material, child or adult, it is harder to focus on it, especially if you have concentration issues (I did). But if you like the book, you hyper focus and can hardly put it down. I'm a big fan of read what you like. I don't remember one thing about those "great literature" books because I didn't like them. But I remember many, many books I loved. My house is overflowing with books.
    Another idea for books a BOY may like are "Choose Your Own Adventure" stories. My oldest son used to read and write them obsessively. It was great for his reading skills and fueled his imagination. I'd request if my child could pick his own books that are at a level the teacher approves of. I think that would help not only your son, but a lot of kids who learn not to like reading.
  18. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    oh, gosh, don't get me started......

    My kids both had to go through the "Accelerated Reader" program, and it was administered in a very anal way.

    Both of my kids have always read way above grade level (NL was reading at third grade level before entering kindergarten). But that stupid AA thing would only advance your level when you read and tested on certain books. The "choices" were things like "Goosebump" books which I basically see as comic books.

    NF read "White Fang" in 2nd grade, which was on the AA list, but at several levels above his. The teacher finally "consented" to him taking the test and he passed it with 10 points (the most possible). After that, we just let him read what he wanted.
  19. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    I would recommend all of the Andy Griffith's books:

    The Day My Butt Went Psycho (I read this one and cracked up through the whole thing. Detached feral butts wanting their "rightful" place on the human body "on top of the neck" and the heads need to be you-know-where. Also, feral butts can be lured for capture by revealing fuzzy pink toilet seats).

    Psycho Butts from Uranus (continuing the story)

    Butt Wars (part three)

    Also by the same author: (lots of drawings and captions, but still "novels")

    Just Annoying
    Just Joking
    Just Stupid

    And another recommendation. Son just finished this one:

    Diary of a Wimpy Kid: A Novel in Cartoons By Jeff Kinney (A funny book with enough words to be a "novel" and cartoons to keep kids happy. It's 200+ pages but reads very fast). The sequel comes out in February.

    Also, I'm another parent that fudged reading logs. Geez, I hate those things!
  20. jannie

    jannie trying to survive....

    Thank you for the Andy Griffith suggestions...I will give it a try.

    To be honest...I, too have fudged those forms and/or never really turned them in. Last year, on the report card checklists, difficult child 2 teacher gave him check minus under the one area that said read 25 books.

    This year, the teacher requires students to write book reviews on each book read at home...this way he is monitoring...The other day I told difficult child 2 to do a book review on this magic book he had read...and for some reason he asked his teacher if this book was ok and he said...no it must be a novel...so basically if my child is being so honest...so I can't do much more...I wish he would just read a novel

    Today...he read for 40 minutes....I tried to allow him to let me read aloud his "novel" that was started a few weeks ago...and he said "no"...now it's just a power struggle...but I'm dreading when we return to school and he realizes he won't meet the required reading for quarter two.

    Thanks Michelle for starting this thread...