Sunday, September 19, 2010

Testing Your Foundation

In Japan, this unconscious (or emo?) catfish is the mascot for earthquakes. Seems catfish get down right agitated when an earth tremble is a-comin' (and there are some legends which describe an earthquake as a giant cranky underwater catfish)

Let's say my foundation has been tested. I've had a stress test with the boy and I have found where I will break. It's the homework. The HOME-WORK. Oh, I wish I could throw the damn handwriting out the frackin' window. It's still the handwriting. But now, I have put up my hands. I am surrendering. I am raising the white flag. Stick a fork in me. I. Am. DONE. D O N E done. Circle the wagons, folks, because we're finished with this rodeo. 

I cannot and will not have this affect my family as it has. Right now, we're both on each other's last raw nerve. He looks at me like I'm pure distilled evil. I look at his homework and see there is writing and my stomach lurches like we've hit turbulence. We spend 2 + hours on homework which should take only 15 minutes for reading and 10 minutes responding. It's a NIGHTMARE.

There are so many things going on in his brain which PREVENT him from doing this. I have seen it, I have observed it with my own eyes. I know he is struggling with this. I am tired to the marrow of my bones. I will not let this thing of handwriting ruin my maternal bond with my child. And believe me, we were on the Express Train to Utter Ruin. I dropped him off at school on Friday morning, practically in tears, feeling myself slipping into a very deep and very depressing hole. 
I rallied and called my best friend, who talked me through it and helped me shut the door on that disaster.

This homework fiasco came close to destroying my family. I won't let it happen. I just won't.  

I know he has the skills to write. He's able to do math and answer simple questions on a worksheet. That whole creative process? It's trying to use rocket fuel in a compact car. Too many things happening at once and then it's DANGER WILL ROBINSON!!!

I know he's SPED and that there are things he can do and can't do. He can't do them together right now. I was looking at it from the perspective that he couldn't write at all or think creatively at all. Not true. He's very able to do both, just not in sync.

So, I wrote to his teacher and explained that I have tried everything that I can, and we're still struggling and I need help. I have tossed the yellow flag on the 10 yard line. I want to talk options. I want to discuss alternatives, because the plan we're using does not work.  

I want to find something that does work. My son's happiness is paramount, not some old fashioned ideal that he must rewrite the Magna Carta in calligraphy to succeed. He knows how to write, and with time he will write better. At this moment, he is struggling with making his pen write the magic in his brain, as they don't speak the same language. If I could insert a Babel fish into his arm, I know he would be spilling an incredible feast of creativity. Since this is not a Douglas Adams novel, I work with what I have.  

It is okay to admit that  I hit a wall. I am not SuperMom, and neither are you and we do super human things almost every day but even superhumans need to admit when they may need help. And I have and I did and I feel more empowered by it.

You should, too. Go, ask, do better. 


  1. oh ugh! I have homework struggles with my oldest and I know how easily things can go from bad to worse to awful. Don't let it ruin your relationship, please! And don't let it ruin school for him either. I hope the school can figure out something...maybe saving the writing HW for in school work so you're not struggling with it at home, at least for a little while?
    I know that feeling of "punting" on some issues that you just can't solve at home - it seems defeatest but sometimes there are just things you can't do. We let the school lead us on many issues (toilet training comes to mind) because if it came from me, forget it!
    Good luck this week. I hope the school is responsive.
    (and I gave up being supermom a long time ago...:-) glad you did too :-) )

  2. Okay, breathing out slowly for you. . . I'm so sorry this is sucking so badly. I don't know enough about your situation to really be spouting my mouth off about this, but have you thought about or do you have access to a good Montessori school? I'm probably telling you stuff you already know. They go at the child's own pace and they traditionally don't have homework. And they teach handwriting through some tactile, sensory methods. Anyway, just a thought. I'd say hang in there, but god I hate that crap. Take care.

  3. Hi, I'm Di, I don't have a blog but Alysia pointed me in your direction. I have a 9yo (in 4th grade) with an Asperger's classification.

    (note: this will be the short version because it's 11:47 and we're planning to go to bed early)

    Good news! Now that you're in 3rd grade the school should start teaching your son to type in earnest. Make sure it's in his IEP. Let me know if you have any questions and at 1am tomorrow when I'm waiting for my husband to come home from work I'll answer them all patiently. LOL

  4. Hi: First, hugs to you and Nate. So sorry you are both going thru such stress. Second, a suggestion that's already been mentioned. Can Nate have access to a computer for all written work? My son has ADHD and sensory issues (besides hemophilia, asthma, allergies and sleep issues) and writing homework was pure torture. The computer has made a big difference for him. Maybe it would help Nate.

  5. @trydefyinggravity: I was tired of letting this become a huge black cloud in our every day lives. I am working things out with the teacher and she is VERY supportive and understanding. I know I'm not Supermom, but some of the things I'm able to do in a day makes me wonder why I'm not sporting a cape! And then I am confused as to why something like this would make me burst into tears. LOL!

    It's getting better. More to come in a future post.

  6. @Partlysunny: At one point I did consider a Montessori education, but he thrives on structure and they don't follow that model. Also, it's UBER expensive and I am on a very modest budget. Don't get me wrong. I have some things, but a college education price tag for elementary school I do not. :)

    I would love to be able to have him guide his education, but I can't afford to homeschool him and honestly, I don't have that kind of personal discipline. LOL! But thank you for the offer. It's very sweet. We are doing pretty well in an inclusive class room in a public school.

    If there ever comes a day when it doesn't work, then I'll be figuring out how to climb that mountain. :)

  7. @Di: Hey there! Welcome! We are working on getting him assessed for technology. His IEP is up for review in October and they're doing baseline data on him now.

    I'm all for teaching kids how to QWERTY! Believe me, one of the best skills I learned how to do was to type. In the 9th grade, I figured I'll NEVER use this stuff. Well....20 + years later! I'll be posting about all those techno goodies in a future post.

  8. @Rebecca: Yes, we are considering having him keyboard. That is something we're discussing over the next week or two. In the meantime, we're implementing other options which I will discuss in another future post. :) Thanks for your concern. I really appreciate it. Cheers!

  9. we have had our share of homework problems too.

    one thing they are doing this year for my aspergers son in public 1st grade is to allow him to use a bigger notebook or paper or anything that helps. Just as long as he makes an effort to write the answers and they can see that, they are accepting that.

  10. Oh sister! Been on that merry-go-round! I feel your pain. His poor hands just could not work at the same speed his brain worked. 3rd & 4th grade were a nightmare because of it. I finally learned not to set my expectation so high and so did his teachers. He learned to type! Saved us! At 15, his handwriting will not win any awards, but it is legible and mostly neat. He is still very slow at writing and does type anytime he can.
    Lovin' the blog. Will have to come back more often. Hang in there.

  11. @Kim: His new school system has been very flexible and supportive, which I am blogging about in a future post. :) I am glad that you are having similar success in your school, where they are working with your son's strengths. :)

  12. @Peachy: Love the name! I have gotten over this obsessive need for him to write with fluidity, and am focusing on what he is able to write and what the school is doing for him, which will be on a future post. Thank you for the compliments and joining in on our bandwagon!