Homework issue...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    difficult child has a project assigned from English class to make a "song" presented like a cd cover and lyrics. It sounds like a great idea except that it is supposed to be about his own life and family influences. As it turns out, this was assigned the beginning of last week. I suspect it was assigned the day he got violent at home because he has MAJOR issues with his lack of other family being in his life (his father and the way my family have caused problems for us). He was upset the middle of the week as he told me about this assignment. I just read over it and I don't see a way around discussing other family members like I have in the past. Ie, on previous projects like this, I have helped him talk about learning how to fish, taking vacations, getting his dog, etc. This one is supposed to be about family members in his life who have influenced him- and of course, the kids have to present these to class.

    Suggestions? Should I ask for a different assignment- at the risk of him feeling more different?
  2. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Can you talk to the teacher about it? Let her know that difficult child is having a hard time because you are the only family member that has influenced his life and it is your understanding that the assignment is to include other family members. (Do not ask for a new assignment at this point.) See how she answers.

    Is there anyone that is like family? A neighbor or teacher or coach that difficult child looks up to? Can that person be incorporated into the assignment? How about a team he may be on or organization he belongs to - how did that group of people influence him? Maybe it will help him see that "family" isn't always about relatives?
  3. Lillyth

    Lillyth New Member

    First of all, I agree with everything Adrienne said.

    Second, I know it is hard when other family members have been awful, but surely there is one good thing they might have contributed.

    My son was abused by his caregiver when he was little (a live-in roommate we dubbed "uncle"), and even though most of it was unpleasant, we still, from time to time, remember the good things, like the time we all went hiking and "uncle" carried him across the creek so he wouldn't get wet.

    Maybe there is something like that that your son could focus on.

    It might perhaps, also be a good lesson in people not being 100% bad...

    Just a thought.
  4. tonime

    tonime toni

    You should definately talk to the teacher. I'm sure together you can come up with something. It would have been nice for the whole class to have a choice, like it could be about a relative or a friend. At least give another option so that difficult child is not the only one doing something different.
  5. Pookybear66

    Pookybear66 New Member

    Good luck with this. I agree with the other posters. There might be some good that comes out of this by focusing on things people in his life have done that haven't been 100% bad. But also, can he turn it around to focus on himself a bit. I used to write poetry and have not done so in years, but it was a way to help me gain focus on my relationships in hs and college.
    Maybe he could say something such as:(Example because I don't know anything about your life)
    I was abused but made it in the end.
    I never seemed to have a friend.
    My mom was the best thing that ever happened to me.
    She taught me how to get my life in control and set my free.

    See if you can turn it into a positive thing!
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks all! We'll see how it goes- he said he wrote the first paragraph (due Tues.) and the remainder is due the following week. His father never acknowledged him, so difficult child has never seen or talked to him. He's met my mother- who is just available at her convenience for the "good" stuff- I can't honestly say that she's been any influence. Then, there is my half-bro who is even farther away than my mother but he had his own agenda of getting custody of difficult child, so we haven't spoken to him in over a year. He never did any typical "guy" stuff with difficult child anyway. One of my uncles (difficult child's great uncle) taught him how to fish at 6 yo, but he lives in Ohio so we haven't seen them in years. difficult child did have neighbors that were grandfather types that helped him with things during elementary school and he was in cub sciouts- but all that went to the way-side when difficult child became a difficult child. Really, he has no one but me and at his age, with me trying to keep him on the straight-and-narrow all the time, I can't expect to be his hero, Know what I mean??
  7. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    This sounds like he could get creative. Maybe he could create, in lyrics, the family he wished he had---which in a way could be therapeutic for him. Who's going to really know unless he chooses to tell them. When I'm teaching writing I often tell them that in writing they can lie----that's the only time it's permissible---but it's not like I'm going to call someone and find out if it's true.

    His dad could be a rodeo cowboy---his grandfather a clown---whatever he would want them to be.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hmm. I was all set to suggest that he choose a neighbor or teacher, as was suggested her, but I really like the unusual perspective from Everywoman. Would he be willing to finish the project with-that slant?
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Good idea EW! I haven't read his paragraph yet, but I will (either by his choice or not). I'll see if he's open to your suggestion- I hope he is because I agree that it could be therapeutic. When he was in psychiatric hospital, they had him write a "letter" to his father (of course they knew it couldn't be mailed). Maybe if difficult child can handle this emotionally, the teacher could know what was going on but the other kids wouldn't need to know if difficult child presents it.
  10. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I really like EW's idea. It's too bad the assignment isn't just to write about someone who has influenced him.
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I talked to him about it- he said he didn't mind writing something but he didn't want to be embarressed and he just wanted to do it on something else. I emailed the teacher and cm to see if they would allow that. I'm ok with it if they are- the point is for him to learn the writing skills, not to re-hash his family drama or heartache. I did remind them in the email that not all kids have a family that they are proud of. Your suggestions are great- maybe he can do that if he doesn't have to present it in class. A lot of his anxiety comes from the way the people in elementary school handled things when all these issues came out- they punished him and so he has some pretty major issues over it.
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I came to this late today, but am glad you are talking to school about something different for his topic. He is FAR from the only child in the school with a family situation that is non-traditional or whatever you call it. I despise these assignments, even though my kids all had 2 parents, siblings, etc.... simply because the stuff with Wiz was so hard. AND because for MANY MANY years I would see other parents upset because dad wasn't involved, or there were no grandparents or whatever.

    Please ask the teacher to be more open to "anyone in the community" who has influenced you, rather than to "a family member" because so very very many kids get hurt over these assignments, and it is just unneeded pain.

    Hugs to difficult child and you - GO Warrior Mom!!
  13. Jena

    Jena New Member


    wow i saw this and can totally appreciate where you are with it i've been there myself. my oldest was not from my marriage and does not know her biological, she calls my ex her dad. yet we have had many assignments since she's now in high school with this same exact topic.

    here is what i did. i do not want her to lie or be embarrassed about what her life truly is. she does not like it but i think inthe end with her, all kids being different she will feel no shame due to it. i think that the word "family" to me can have many different meanings and not just the traditional blood related. i have close friends with whom to me are family.

    if it were me i wouldn't ask teacher fora different assignment i'd probably tell difficult child my thoughts on it and let him make his own decision that is what i did with mine. i told her that she need not be embarrassed for her life, or lack of family members to embrace the few that she had and to also consider there are others in her life ie. friends of mine, etc. taht she has known for years and are like family members. so she did just that, referred to them as who they were their name that is and said their like family to me and have made an impact on my life etc. etc.

    just a thought it's a rough one i know. i'm sorry i'm late to this difficult child had me hopping this weekend.

    good luck!!!!

  14. Jena

    Jena New Member

    ok hi totally forget what i wrote........lol i just scrolled up and saw what others wrote.......i had no idea the children bashed him and gave him a hard time oh i am so sorry.

    ok yes creativity in this case is best......i guess i really should read what others write before i write, huh...??

    sorry, i hope he's ok with it.
  15. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    klmno, families come in all shapes & sizes. Traditional, adoption, invitro, steps, etc, etc, etc.

    EWs idea is good. I know when I lived far away (physically) from my family I created my own family in that town. A family I celebrated holidays & birthdays with. difficult child could create a family of that sort for his assignment.
  16. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I emailed the teacher- this is the first communication I've had with this particualr one, but she was very nice about it. I guess she and difficult child weren't as thrilled about an imaginary family as we all were. She tweaked his assignment so he will be writing four paragraphs on different topics from a choice of five topics and the theme of his paper will be "what kind of man does he want to be as an adult". I like it!!

    On a side note, they had a timed writing assignment during class yesterday and he let me read it last night. He was supposed to write what he thought about a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt regarding great minds. I think he missed the boat on what "great minds" means, but he wrote that his mom (ME ??? :D ) had a great mind because "she" was so kind and had done so much for him. And- he admired me! :surprise: He went on to say that his teachers had great minds too and they had helped him so much and that he didn't know what he would do if his teachers hadn't been there and helped him so much last year.

    He said his teacher didn't look at his paper- I would love it if she read it and spread that appreciation he showed to the principal and the teachers he had last year. I wouldn't want him embaressed over it, though. he told me he wouldn't let another student read it.
  17. Jena

    Jena New Member

    ok he might of "missed the boat" on that, but wow that's so cute that he wrote that, so maybe he didn't miss the boat at all. Wow what a level of appreciation he shows.....that's so cool.
  18. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well, it's the opposite with him a lot of times, Jen! That's why I'm so shocked- and to think he actually put it in writing while at school just floors me!

    I found it a little funny the way he led into it- he wrote "A great mind isn't always about how smart you are. For example, my mom....." LOL!!
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2008
  19. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    He certainly had hisown take on what a "great mind" is, but I will take it!