Too much help?

Avatar for keke0116
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Too much help?
7
Sat, 09-20-2003 - 8:50pm
OK, here's the thing ... Kevin had 3 weeks to complete 2 Language Arts projects. (6th grade, new to middle school, and struggling a bit to get in the swing of things and stay organized, etc.) He had to read a book and do 1 vocabulary project and 1 activity project, from a list of 10-15 on each. He 'chose' to do a Crossword Puzzle for the vocabulary project (using 20 words from the book that he didn't know, had to look up definitions for.) For the Activity Project, he chose to do a time line. OK, that's the easy part ... the hard part was getting him to actually READ the book and DO the projects. 3 weeks came quickly, and both are due on Monday. I told him that he basically is in lock-down today at home (with the exception of taking a karate test this a.m.) ... and IF he didn't finish both, he couldn't go to baseball tomorrow. I made DH take out 7 y.o. DD (so that she wasn't a distraction to her brother) and I stayed home to 'help.' Mind you, as of this a.m., he still had 70-80 pages left to READ of the book (although he had pretty much laid out the words for the crossword puzzle and looked up most of the definitions.)

Let me add at this time that Kevin (although 'gifted') has ADHD as well as auditory processing problems. He's had some fine motor skill issues which make handwriting somewhat difficult for him at times. SO, we have HOURS of work ahead of us, for a kid that has some trouble paying attention (not medicated currently for that) as well as handwriting problems.

I was torn ... part of me wanted him to bumble through this on his own, take a failing (or not so great) grade and 'learn' from the experience. Part of me KNOWS he's capable of more than he's showing, and wants to help him. Let him SEE that he IS capable, and help him get a decent grade in hopes of him feeling good and proud, and wanting to keep working hard.

SO, I gave him my day and helped. I read WITH him ... where he'd read a page and I'd read 2-3 to get through the book quicker. (He had chosen "Around the World in 80 Days" which fit perfectly for the time line.) He had, as I said, laid out the words for the crossword puzzle, so while he was reading, I went ahead and did the puzzle itself in Excel ... His handwriting is atrocious and it's been suggested that he use the computer as much as possible. I pretty much did the crossword puzzle project. Well, he laid it out AND looked up the definitions ... but I made it LOOK nice.

As far as the time line, we read it together. Then, I had him DICTATE to me a dozen or so different 'events' he wanted to include, and I typed them in WORD. He then used my print program, copied and pasted from WORD into that program ... I had gotten him started, but he did cut/paste, and then selected pictures to include in the time line. This printed on like 6-7 pages, and I did tape it up for him so it was like a banner.

Too much help? Now, he really did a lot of work (although a lot of it was with me cracking the whip and forcing him to stay on task.) I know that he never would have finished it without my help ... and it certainly is a lot nicer than if he'd done it on his own. I don't feel like I did it for him or anything, but I'm wondering if I did too much. My HOPE is that he sees how easy things are IF he just does it ... and that he'll feel proud of his work/efforts so that next time, he'll be in a better position to work more independently. I know he has some 'issues' and I try not to let any be a crutch for him. (Heck, he doesn't even KNOW he has ADHD or auditory processing problems.)

I am proud of the fact that he really did stay focused most of the day ... and we worked on this thing from 1:30 - 6:30 without any break (other than a phone call or the bathroom.)

But, is this TOO MUCH? I'm not the type of mom to DO the science fair projects or book reports. Did I overstep, or what?

Nancy

Nancy 

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Registered: 05-02-2003
In reply to: keke0116
Sun, 09-21-2003 - 12:44am
Well, I don't know if I'm a good judge. It seems to me that you did about as much as I would've in your shoes. I would agree with you, he did the work - you just prettied it up a bit.

Best Always,

Sherrie

Sherrie Rainbow

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Registered: 03-25-2003
In reply to: keke0116
Sun, 09-21-2003 - 11:26am
This is just my humble opinion.

I, as a child had all of the problems you just described. (still do, I just hide it well) I was VERY easily discouraged. When I worked HARD, I still got a C, or lower. No matter how hard I tried, it was just not very good. (according to my teachers) It is hard to want to put forth any effort, when you know the outcome will be the same as little or no effort.

So, with that said....I would have helped him just the way you did.

Besides, even I could'nt get through that book. (it's boring) I haven't even watched the movie all the way through. It impossible to get excited about a book project when the book is dull. I was more of a "Trixie Belden" kind of girl anyway.

I help my daughter occasionaly. Last year (fourth grade) she had a HUGE newspaper project due, and it was impossible for her to do it well without help. It took three adults and her working HOURS and HOURS on this stupid thing. I am still mad at her teacher for assigning such a big project. My daughter had the choice of keeping her fourth grade teacher for fifth..I said "NO"!

Avatar for keke0116
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Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: keke0116
Sun, 09-21-2003 - 8:45pm
I really am feeling better about all of this. The 'general consensus' seems to be that most parents help their kids ... which makes me feel that perhaps I've not helped enough in the past. LOL Will I ever get it right? I just hope that Kevin sees this as 'helping' and not 'doing.' He made a comment like "mom did it all" and although he said he was kidding, it bothers me that he even said it. I didn't 'do' it and he needs to see that he had a huge part in the outcome. Could he have done it alone? Probably not ... but he did contribute and did most of the 'work' himself.

As far as the book, he actually read the last chapter after the first 40-50 pages, so all along, he knew how it was going to end. No matter how 'boring' it is, I can't imagine doing that. But, I think it made it harder for him to get through 'cause he knew what the ending was.

I just wish that Kevin could see that this was a 'fun' project. HE is the one that turned it into a chore by not allocating his time better. Hopefully next time, he'll plan a little better.

Nancy

Nancy 

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Avatar for keke0116
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Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: keke0116
Sun, 09-21-2003 - 8:48pm
Thanks Sherrie. It's always such a fine line between 'helping' and 'doing.' My dd (only 7) wouldn't LET me 'help' her with a school project, and if I dare to 'suggest' something, she would never use my idea simply because it was mine and not her's. Kevin is SOOOO different ... heck, he'd let me pee for him if I could. I try to take a back seat in all of this, but know that he needs prodding (and pushing) to get stuff done. I'm hoping someday he'll be more independent and self-sufficient, but I think for him, it's going to take a bit longer.

N

Nancy 

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Avatar for cl_janetlh
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Registered: 03-19-2003
In reply to: keke0116
Mon, 09-22-2003 - 2:05pm
Nancy, I agree with the consensus that as far as the projects go, helping with the computer input is not too much help. I do the same thing to save my kids (and me ;-) some time. I like the fact that Sam is getting more independent and wants things to be "his", so I back off when *he* thinks I'm doing to much. Rachel likes company for all things, including projects, but she's a better typist, so I have her input a bit more herself.

I hope Kevin learned his lesson to start the book sooner! Perhaps spending this intense day finishing everything at once was enough to teach him that lesson without you letting him fail. I do have to say, though, that Sam once misunderstood the directions about a project and when it was due, and had to do it one night and turn it in a day late. This was a small project and not a big deal, but he felt AWFUL that it was late and the teacher made clear to him it was his mistake. Since then, he's very proactive on starting projects ahead of time!

I do think teachers expect a lot of these kids and us parents when it comes to some of these projects!

Janet

Janet


Jewish Family Life

Avatar for keke0116
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Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: keke0116
Tue, 09-23-2003 - 6:28am
Thanks ... It's very interesting because on this board, it seems that I did o.k. On the Middle School board, they think I did too much, so I guess that once they're in middle school, the expectations are greater. He did get an A on the project, so I'm really glad that I pushed him to do it, and that I did help. NOT that I want to do all his work (I'm pretty sure I can get through middle school successfully, but that won't help him, LOL) but he needed to SEE that he can do well and get good grades, but he has to put forth a little effort.

But, I don't want this experiment to back fire. Last night, I was in a horrible mood ... my stress level has simply been through the roof lately ... and he had a Science assignment to complete. Every 2 weeks, they have to read a science-related article, and fill out a report form on it. It's like 'current events' or a simple 'book report' format ... title, author, source of the article ... write 10 sentences about the article, then give your opinion. Well, he started in with 'can you help me?' and I didn't ... he whined louder, and I stood firm. I think DH finally stepped in and sat with him as he did it, but I don't want Kevin to think that because I gave him my day, that I'm willing to 'do' his homework from here on in. I'll answer a question, or provide some guidance, but I wasn't about to read an article to help him come up with his opinion ... geesh! SO, I'm really taking a backseat now and seeing what happens.

It's amazing how different kids can be ... Kelli (my 7 y.o.) had to do a diarama last year on a book she read, and she was doing "The Little Mermaid." She had us go out for seafood for dinner 'cause she needed a clam shell (something Ariel could sit on.) She cut slits on the top of the box and stuck in popsicle sticks so that her characters (Ariel, Sebastian and Flounder) could actually move from side to side. I "suggested" that we stop at a fish store and get some of those plastic aquarium plants to glue inside to give it a 3-D effect ... and she told me that it was a good idea BUT it was MY idea and not her's, so she isn't going to do it. Sigh! I couldn't TOUCH her project (except to cut the slits in the top 'cause she was having trouble and I didn't want her cutting off her fingers.) Although she isn't always focused on her homework, and she'll procrastinate as long as I let her, when it comes to projects, there is NO HELP ALLOWED.

Nancy

Nancy 

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In reply to: keke0116
Tue, 09-23-2003 - 7:30am
I think I would've "helped" just as you did. I used to teach 3rd grade and as a teacher I think it's expected that parents would help to some degree, especially w/ computer skills. I think you are right that in middle school parents need to back off some. I have a 5th grade ds and a 3rd grade dd. With my ds when he gets a long term project we sit down and I "make" him write out a schedule of when he needs to do different parts of it allowing for things like baseball game, other activity or getting sick. I think helping them break down an assignment into smaller defined pieces , even with mini due dates for themselves will help them to help themselves get the project done!

My dd is just like yours!

Karen