Too much help?

Avatar for keke0116
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Too much help?
7
Sat, 09-20-2003 - 8:51pm
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: 03-28-2003
In reply to: keke0116
Sat, 09-20-2003 - 10:27pm
Nancy

I have two thoughts on this. First, my sister.

My sister I think has CAPD just as bad, or maybe worse then my son, Liam. When we were growing up, I distinctly remember my mother going to great lengths to get her to learn to read. You didn't actually have "reading specialists" back then. So my mother found a 2nd grade teacher in our district who had the reputation of being able to teach any child on the planet to read. My father was an army oral surgeon, and her son needed surgery or he wasn't going to get to go to flight school for a cycle. Her son got his wisdom teeth out ASAP, and my sister was taught by this lady after school for two years until she learned how to read. During this time of our lives, it was all about my sister. This sounds great right? well, time went by, and my sister always struggled with school. After she learned to read, my parents just let her "do her own thing". She graduated with a D-C average from high school. This caused total "panic mode" for my parents. I should add, she also married at 19, and had a baby to go with her divorce at 21. Of course, she picked a real "winner" of a dh. My parents were paying her mortgage and obsessing over her lack of ability to support herself. So, they paid for a career assessment thing. Part of it was an IQ test. They prompted my sister to not feel bad about her low score on the IQ and to focus on the career building part. My "stupid" sister tested to have an overall IQ above one standard deviation above the mean.

She was a little brainiack all those years! No-one gave her any support, or encouragement. She had no motivation to succeed.

She went to dental Hygiene school. She graduated in the top five of her class. She makes well over sixty thousand dolors a year. And, she is HAPPY! The whole time she was in Hygiene school, she got more help and support from my dad then you can possibly imagine. She aced anatomy and physiology. And, even at 21 years of age, she loved that my parents were there for her. I often tell myself that her life could be much different had they been there all along.

Second, have you ever read *Like Sound Through Water*? In that book, an account of a mothers journey with a child with CAPD, the author states her husband has CAPD. He is a successful Psychiatrist. He was only able to succeed academically because his mother helped him by reading for him. And "helping" him with his school work.

when Liam has more homework then he possibly handle with his ADD and CAPD, I totally focus on comprehension, and let him dictate to me. I want him to understand his work, not loose focus on the details.

Well, now you know what I think! what do you think?

Sio

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Registered: 08-26-2000
In reply to: keke0116
Sat, 09-20-2003 - 10:32pm
I don't think it was too much.

If he had picked out the vocab words, looked up the definitions (and written them down) and layed out the crossword puzzle, THAT was a lot of work. You took the rough draft and made the final copy, right? I don't think that's a crime. I will sometimes do this for the kids in my class since I'm a tad better at typing than they are.

Reading the book together - I don't see any reason why that would be a problem. Good quality time! I think I read just about an entire book out loud to my stepson one summer. (Thankfully, I was interested in it!)

You typed up the timeline stuff. But HE cut and pasted and found the pictures.

I say you accommodated and modified. It is not as if you read the book, picked out vocab words, looked them up, etc. while he sat there watching TV and did nothing. He DID read the book, and he DID put the brainpower behind the work. I'd say it's kind of like having someone else type your term paper after you've done the rough draft.

And I'm not a big one for kids learning a lot from being allowed to fail. Maybe sometimes it helps to drive home a lesson, but often it is just discouraging and reinforces their already low opinion of themselves.

MHO!

Karen

 


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Registered: 03-27-2003
In reply to: keke0116
Sat, 09-20-2003 - 11:46pm
I do not think it was "too much" help, because I can fully relate. For our kids, some of the work assigned is just overwhelming. I am a teacher/parent, and am just figuring out that the only way to get my son through some of his homework is if I "accomodate and modify". He's in third grade, and one day a week we have to write ten sentences using all ten spelling words. Well this is what i do: He verbally tells me the sentences, I type them out. I print out the page, and then dictate to him, while he physically writes them onto his notebook paper. He has such a hard time with the physical WRITING of the sentences, that he needs to concentrate on that and not be looking back and forth or remembering what he's written. I know that other parents don't have to do this with their kids, for this assignment, but i also know if i didn't do this, he'd never get it done. I think you did wonderfully!! You knew what parts he could handle and what he couldn't. He still did the "core" of the work. I think you are continuing to be his advocate by helping him through that kind of an assignment, and that's what we have to do. I know I will always do what I can as well.
Avatar for keke0116
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Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: keke0116
Sun, 09-21-2003 - 6:25am
Thanks for sharing your story ... I definitely feel better. Kevin made a comment last night about how I *did* this for him, and I was like "Kevin, all I did was the typing ... it was YOUR thoughts and words and ideas that put this together." He said "oh, I know, I'm just giving you a hard time" and DH made a comment like "well, you'd better not joke around like that at school or you'll end up with a big, fat 'F' if they think your mom did all the work."

I guess my concern comes from the fact that my parents never even knew if I had anything due in school ... I was always a very good student, and never asked for help. I do remember at work a few years back one of the ladies talking about having to 'do' her DS' science fair project, and when we asked her about it, she was like "well, you don't think I'm going to let HIM do that, do you?" Well, yeah! How else will he learn?

I've already gone through 6th grade, quite successfully, so I know that I am capable of turning in an acceptable Language Arts project ... but I want Kevin to do this and learn something from it. The 'lesson' he learns needs to be that he IS capable, not that if he procrastinates long enough mom will give up an entire Saturday to make sure this gets done.

Kevin doesn't have an IEP in place, he hasn't quite needed one. I have gotten him a typing program for the computer to help him learn to type quicker. I've also saved the hand-written work so in case it's ever a question, I can show that he 'did' the work. (I've typed things for him in the past where I'd put his handwritten notes on the back, just so the teachers saw that the effort was his.)

Thanks for the input. I do feel better.

Nancy

Nancy 

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Avatar for keke0116
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In reply to: keke0116
Sun, 09-21-2003 - 6:36am
Thanks Karen. Kevin is learning the hard way about some organizational stuff ... like when he got a "C" on his notebook check in Science instead of an A or a B because the homework (which he had completed) had gotten shoved in his math folder instead. THAT is a tough lesson. But, it helped drive home the fact that he needs to take an extra moment to be sure things are where they need to be. In this case, it was a 3-week project that will probably count for 1/4 - 1/3 of his final semester grade. He struggled with Language Arts (my favorite subject) last year, and I think that had to do with the fact that he had the class at 9:00 in the a.m. He is NOT a morning person, and was on meds at the time, so they really hadn't 'kicked in' yet, and he had trouble staying focused. This year, he has it 4th period (right after lunch) which couldn't be a better time for him. I want him to feel he can be successful in this subject, and I want him to enjoy it. His writing skills are lacking. He can sometimes write very interesting and fluid stories, but just as often, his imagination shuts down and he bumbles along. I did make sure the words were his ... there were moments when I had to PULL things out of him (like prompting him with "what happened next?" or "what did they do there?") but when he gave me sentences that could have 'read' better, I didn't change the words ... they had to be his own.

The reading part, I thought, was o.k. because it kept him on task. Kevin actually enjoys reading ... ironically, I had to take his Harry Potter book AWAY from him for the past few weeks because I'd find him reading that when he was supposed to be reading the book for his project. SO, it's not like he 'can't' read. But, reading together IS something we enjoy and haven't done enough of lately ... maybe this will prompt us to continue that.

Thanks for the input.

Nancy

Nancy 

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Avatar for keke0116
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In reply to: keke0116
Sun, 09-21-2003 - 6:43am
I really feel better this a.m. after reading all the support. I know I need to be able to modify sometimes and to accomodate ... scares me because I know that I won't always be there, but I think what I did was to show Kevin that it CAN be done, even when it seems overwhelming at first. AND, because he had to devote an entire Saturday to it, I don't think he'll be as likely next time to procrastinate and wait 'til the weekend before a project is due to get it done. That, for him, was the hardest part.

In the beginning of the year, DH and I joked about helping Kevin in school ... middle school is a big transition. I said that I'd work on the Language Arts and Math, and DH can do Science and Geography. Kevin knows who to go to for help in each since we picked the areas where we are most comfortable. But, I think we both handle it similarly ... our 'job' is pretty much to keep Kevin focused and on task. Truthfully, that's the hardest part of all.

OK, that project is behind us ... what lies ahead? Before he went to bed last night, I said "Kevin, I hate to ask this, but do you have any OTHER homework for the weekend?" At first he said "NO" because he thought I was going to make him do it then, LOL, but he did say he has a little, which hopefully he'll do this a.m. (I'll let DH handle that one.)

Keeping this kid on task is starting to become a full time job. Hopefully he learned something from this project.

Nancy

Nancy 

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Avatar for kathy_in_ga
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In reply to: keke0116
Sun, 09-21-2003 - 4:06pm
I haven't read the other replies, but you did what I would have done. He did do the work, you jsut helped him lay it out and type it. His work was not about typing, writing and such, it was about the words and book. He did the required work, you helped with the other stuff. I think you did a good job.