View Full Version : harder than I thought

11-29-2010, 01:34 AM
I joined about a month ago when we pulled our 6th grade Asperger's son out of PS. The first couple of weeks went so well. There is still no doubt we did the right thing, he likes HS much better than PS and our stress level went to almost 0.

Now we find he's testing me to see what he can get away with not doing on days when it is just me here with him. There are a lot of avoidance tactics being deployed in regards to subjects he doesn't like, a lot of boundary testing to see how far he can get with me. It takes hours to get him to do his math or spelling somedays. It's frustrating to me because he would never do this when his father is here. I feel like we have to be able to "prove" that he's learning should someone decide to investigate our hs, how do I do that if he's avoiding the work he has trouble with so passionately?

The second issue is with my husband. I've tried and tried to tell him this isn't a case of just being able to tell Colin to do the worksheet and then it's done. We have to sit with him, teach him the subject matter (so that he LEARNS something) go over issues Colin is having, working with him to understand, demonstrate, make sure he understands the concept, etc. I will come home from class and review the work they've done for the day and it's clear that Colin was left to just do the work while DH did whatever else he feels like doing. This is really irking me, because I spend my time sitting with colin actually teaching him, talking about the subjects, probing his understanding and helping him when he's having trouble grasping something. It seems my DH is just sitting there saying, do the worksheet so we can be done.

Granted, I am grateful DH is on board with HSing and I am lucky he's willing to work with him at all. But how do I get through to him that being a worksheet pusher isn't going to work? How do I get past the issues of Colin's work avoidance?

Thanks for reading my late night rant, I'm in the middle of finals and have little time to post.

11-29-2010, 07:04 AM
Myabe changing the type of work dh does w/Colin? If neither of them like worksheets then they aren't going to get done. Are there more active things dh could do? Experiments, readings whatever? I understand that this isn't dealing directly w/work avoidance issue (and believe me I so know that issue) but at this stage in the game getting dh comfortable w/teaching may be more important. Maybe dh could come up w/a multi step project that they could do together.


11-29-2010, 10:13 AM
Having a 14-year-old Aspie son myself, I can definitely identify. The absolute main thing I would suggest is to get RID of worksheets altogether. They are basically hand-grenades in disguise. ;) Because of the way they learn (whole to part instead of the other way around), worksheets just feel like mini "tests" of their intelligence to them. They learn very little from them, and are mostly just there to create battles of will!!! My son learns so much better from either a computer based curriculum (Time4Learning has been a boon!) or hands-on learning. And as MUCH as possible, go with an interest-led track to learning. I understand that this is your first year, and you are understandably nervous about not getting all the right "stuff" in there, but trust me...homeschooling a kiddo on the spectrum is very different from other types of homeschooling. You really HAVE to take your cues from them. They are SO intelligent, and so willing to learn about the things that interest them. It's okay to let that happen! Hang in there...you will get a better rhythm going over time, with less battles of wills and less frustration!!

11-29-2010, 01:06 PM
My oldest is ADHD - worksheets do not work for us in the traditional sense.
We use them, but only to cover the material. We may do it orally, or to record the work that he's doing orally or just as a basis for the lesson plan. But he rarely does a 'sit down at your desk and do this page' kind of deal.

If you guys are just now out of school, I'd suggest some deschooling; or at least letting him choose what to study for a while. You can work some of the other stuff in later on - be creative :)
Hang in there, mama! You'll find your grovve - and it's okay if it takes a while to find, too.

11-29-2010, 02:51 PM
The other thing that occurs to me is, if dh CAN get him to do worksheets, you can teach and dh can 'test'.

but there are so many more kid-freindly ways to teach. very few kids find that worksheets are their favorite. Time4learning (on line), math story books, videos, educational games, historical fiction, field trips . . .

11-30-2010, 05:02 PM
Oh yes, my boy resists math worksheets with his entire being as well. As others have mentioned, there are fantastic resources out there that aren't worksheet based. Zack hated Time4Learning, but he loves BrainPop. I spent a week of banging my head against a wall trying to teach him to tell time to the quarter-hour using worksheets. But after watching a four-minute BrainPop video and completing some online activities, it finally clicked for him. Listen to me talking like a homeschool veteran when we've only been HSing since August! But you will find what works for both of you. If he likes computers, there are so many great educational math games and websites. Let me know if you'd like some links.

12-01-2010, 02:31 AM
Wow - its like we have the same kid! I'm getting ready to pull my Asperger's son (who has the attention span of a gnat) out of sixth grade and begin the adventure of home schooling. We already do after-school learning just to try to help him keep up, but I'm tired of doing what the school should be doing all day long! My son loves to push the limits too. He'll bargain, barter, and do whatever else he can to try to avoid doing his work. The child is a professional procrastinator. But I've found that breaking things down into small, manageable tasks (even worksheets when we do them) for very small amounts of time works well. The people around me think that by not forcing him to sit still and spend a half-hour on something or not making him finish an entire worksheet in one sitting, I'm not properly disciplining him or teaching him "responsibility". But I've found that he's brilliant at doing things five or ten minutes at a time...especially when motivated by the prospects of doing something he wants to do after he's finished his task (i.e. five or ten minutes of math followed by five or ten minutes of listening to his Harry Potter audiobooks). It makes for a longer evening, but for those ten minute increments he is actually *learning*, which is infinitely better than a half hour of him wiggling, whining, and hating a project or task.

I've also had some luck relating lessons to his particular areas of interest: Harry Potter and Hockey. We study math using hockey statistics (luckily we're studying decimals and fractions which translate easily into Hockey nomenclature...I'm not sure how we're going to shoe-horn pre-algebra concepts into the sports world yet) and we're studying spelling and language using vocabulary (even some fake words) from the Harry Potter series, as well as having him write (correctly, with punctuation) his own stories about Harry Potter and the characters from the books. Not everything has worked out well - he still stalls and procrastinates (particularly in anything related to social studies) and there are plenty of days when we simply get nothing done. I suspect when we move to full-time home schooling the challenges will be more pronounced, and I'll have to come up with a whole different system.

I know that every Aspie kid is different, but I would suggest lots of immediate tangible rewards for reasonable amounts of work and, as much as possible, ditching the worksheets. I figure (though many disagree) that once my kid learns to do things well for ten minutes, he can learn to do them well for fifteen, then twenty, then so on....I've been told that this is just "bribery" and that he needs to learn to manage his own time. But this seems to work for us...and really, I think all that matters is just finding your own system - even if its different than what everyone else says you "should" do.

12-01-2010, 11:33 AM
I think all that matters is just finding your own system - even if its different than what everyone else says you "should" do.

I think that's great advice for all of us! :)

12-01-2010, 03:03 PM
Just one of the things I LOVE about this site!!!! I also have a son with Asperger's (sixth grade as well....there seems to be something at this particular age developmentally)....
I agree with everyone else. There are a lot of ways to learn! We do use some books from Remedial Resources (for example an outlining book, and a 50 states fact book) but I am careful not to overwhelm him with too much of that in one setting. We are focusing on lots of projects (flat traveler and 50 states postcards, US presidents, A Mythology Binder-something he chose-, etc). We are also learning about The Revolutionary War (so we read Johnny Tremain, and My Brother Sam is Dead- he is also making a Rev. War Binder (he loves the idea of compiling what he has learned/knows). We also use T4L (although we supplement it), and the USA Geography free site. Usually Asperger's kids are so visual. So don't hesitate to use DVD's, the computer, books on tape, or field trips (anything hands on). Someone on this site suggested baking as a wonderful way to teach following directions...now we do it almost everyday (and it is a great life skill)! The most important thing I have learned from my short experience homeschooling is that our goal is to instill a love of learning in our children...and there are many FUN ways to do that. And to teach them how to find information when seeking answers. Maybe even encourage him to learn an instrument. My goal has been to make him feel "smart" again this year...because somewhere along the line he had lost that.
Hang in there...my son definitely has good days and bad days, and tests his limits to! He is starting to get into such a routine with homeschooling, that when we took a few days off around Thanksgiving he was stir crazy (even though we tried to keep him really busy). I also agree about the short time periods and rewards! Little insentives are always a good thing (someone else suggested letting your child sit on a large bouncy exercise ball- I sometimes use that as a reward for staying focused and it is great for balance and core strength). Hang in there!!!!

12-02-2010, 07:48 PM
We have a 3rd grader who might have Asperger's, although we hesitate to get him diagnosed because we're pretty sure he'll use it as an excuse for anything that causes him the slightest trouble. It's not impacting his life hugely, as his main Asperger-like traits are the huge vocabulary, obsession with certain subjects (he gets his nickname Hurricane honestly!), and needing a bit of prompting to pick up on social cues (although he gets it when reminded gently). When he gets in the bargaining mode or starts with "Do I have to do it?", I point to a four-word phrase I wrote and kept at the top of our downstairs chalkboard -- "Be exceptional, not average." Some days it works right away, some days it just makes him shut off for a good 10 minutes, but he always comes back around to the lesson implied by those words. It's the people who think about going beyond merely what's required and wanting to do more so that they're even more informed that get ahead in school and in life. I expect a lot out of him because he's obviously bright in most areas, so there's a balancing act I need to do so that he's challenged and stimulated but doesn't feel browbeaten. I'm learning when it's okay to push and when I need to back off, as I'm sure we all are or had to do.

I try to keep in mind that some day down the road, they really will thank us for doing this for them when most other parents can't or won't do the same. I'm confident they will.

12-03-2010, 03:53 AM
I expect a lot out of him because he's obviously bright in most areas, so there's a balancing act I need to do so that he's challenged and stimulated but doesn't feel browbeaten. I'm learning when it's okay to push and when I need to back off, as I'm sure we all are or had to do.

I struggle with this balancing act daily as well. DS goes through stages when he can absorb any concept thrown at him and still beg for more, and at other times he just shuts down completely and it's as though he has zero mental capacity left. I'm so thankful for the flexibility homeschooling offers us, that we can race ahead for a period of time and then back off completely when needed, but it is a challenge to work around. It makes me feel better knowing that others are dealing with this too as we've certainly had our concerns about what makes him tick (Aspergers being one of them).

12-06-2010, 05:58 AM
thank you guys for all the wisdom, and ideas, and understanding. :) I am FINALLY finished with end of semester crazy time and could get back here to read and post.

DH and I sat down and had a long talk about what's going to work with Col and what is/isn't working for us and him, etc. It's so hard to fine tune, and be in this learning stage. It's also hard for me to let go and trust DH is going to be okay even when it's not "my way"(I feel a little better since I got him to realize we need to back off the worksheets)...I've been trusting him to help me raise 4 boys all this time, this isn't much different, a fact he pointed out to me. It's not like he wants colin to fail, he probably wants him to be successful more than any other person besides me! We've decided to modify his math, do more hands on stuff, and we'll be looking for computer based stuff too, since he really is into computers. :) We've also decided that Math just is NOT going to be a every "school day" thing. We'll do a little more on days we do it, but that way he doesn't have to dread Math every single day.

Last week, he earned a trip to the movies for getting it done. I happily sat through yet another Harry Potter film, but at least he was more motivated than he has been in the past. :)