Friday, October 30, 2015


How do you get your child to successfully complete their homework with minimum damage to family life?

To ponder:
On the Mystery of Not-Knowing:
What do you do when your bright child can understand and is assigned advanced math and science but still doesn’t spell, punctuate, space words properly, write on lines, focus, care, keep track of work, or have any detectible executive function OR discipline? When, in addition, s/he gets increasingly angry or tearful when you merely try to get him/her to do homework?

To ponder:
On the Virtue of “Helping:”
My friend over at Runaway Mama cracked me up with this one: The Homework Hokey Pokey:
I read, relating, laughing, crying, and commented as follows:
Homework right now, it's fair to say, is almost ruining my relationship with my son. That dance [her “homework hokey pokey”] is entirely too familiar. The balance is so much harder and feels more crucial when your child has learning and neurological differences...He'd be failing without oversight (MAJOR oversight) and yet is highly intelligent. I try to make sure he DOES and HANDS IN his homework, without ever doing it FOR HIM. If that makes sense...That alone is practically a full time job...

To ponder:
On Validation, as a Sort of Loving-Kindness (Metta) Meditation, from the Asperger Experts (a duo of young gentlemen on the spectrum who tell it like it is {from their points of view} and advise families):
What we want is for our support systems to step in and actually support us by validating our struggles... INSTEAD of always trying to "fix" the situation.
How do you validate someone?
You listen to them.
You hear them.
You take them where they're at instead of asking them to be somewhere or something they're not.
You stop what you're doing and become available for them.
This does not mean offering advice. This means simply listening. 
Period. The end.
I LOOOVE me some Asperger Experts. But this homework situation unquestionably needs “fixing.” When they advise parents – AKA “support systems” -- to listen deeply, to validate, and we do so...Do we then get to do the “homework hokey pokey”? I will keep listening, but how will that get my son to begin to take some initiative with his homework and not fail eighth grade? Surely he is validated by now; in fact, I sometimes think an overabundance of self-esteem is part of the problem.

To ponder:
On the Universal Nature of Universal Design:
Is it possible that Universal Design is not as universal as it is intended to be? This question comes up in my own teaching: which “malfunctions” in the homework department stem from learning differences per se, which are a result of executive function challenges, and which arise from sheer triflingness? And how on earth do we distinguish between these, as students, as parents, as teachers????

To ponder:
On the Practice of Email:
When you are emailing about homework with your son’s case manager [Thank you, C, you are an angel!], at length, more than once, on a Saturday night, is it too much?

Deep, Responsive Thought:

Was that scary enough for Halloween? If you’d prefer, you can read about and even justify holiday candy consumption here.

Full Spectrum Mama


  1. I personally think homework should be done away with for the most part! Maybe that is because I still have memories of sitting at the kitchen table for hours struggling with homework, only to get in trouble anyways the next day because I lost it or did the wrong assignment or forgot to bring it back to school. I still get headaches around dinner time, and sometimes I wonder if it is because when I was a kid homework time came after dinner time! Kids have to focus all day in school. Homework takes up valuable time that they could be actually playing outside, or spending time with their family. I've gone to family gatherings on weekends where my cousins' families had to leave early because my cousins had so much homework to do! Plus it is not fair to grade children on something they had to do independently, if maybe they were not yet ready and able to do it independently! If I were to give homework, I'd give quick and fun assignments, like, "write your spelling words with chalk on the driveway," or "teach your mom the 'count to 100' song."

  2. Oh, I SO agree with you!!!!!!!!!
    And I am sorry about those hard memories.
    LOVE the homework ideas.
    I feel like G's teachers are great and creative people, but they are in this system which requires so much of teachers in very limited ways, if that makes sense...
    Back to grading myself, sigh.
    Thanks and love,

  3. Although written 2 years ago, I just read this blog about the real struggles of the collision of having a bright child whose executive functioning struggles make homework a daily nightmare. As my son has just entered high school, I am now also struggling to even try to help him organize or stay on top of assignments bc the response I get from staff is "this is high school and he is just going to have to figure it out himself or fail". ��

    1. Dear @ALovingWarriorMom -
      I feel your pain.
      This is a constant battle for us and I swear somewhere all up in here I wrote literally almost the exact same words; more recently, since my G started High School last year.
      Yes, the whole "Let them fail" thing...hmm...seems a bit off IF HE DID ALL THE WORK BUT JUST NEEDS HELP TURNING IT IN, NO???
      Sorry to not offer solutions, but I get it, Oh do I get it.
      Good luck.
      Thanks and love,
      Full Spectrum Mama


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