If you follow me on my Facebook page you read earlier in the week that I was having a really rough time with Jay trying to get him to do his homework. Meltdown after meltdown. My boy was frustrated, overwhelmed and feeling beaten. One night after putting him to bed I broke down in a heap and cried. I cried because I could see how much my boy was hurting and I could not figure out what to do to make it better.
Then it came to me… his real problem was organization. Jay was getting upset not because the material was too difficult, but because he did not know what to do first and he felt well as I said before OVERWHELMED! I needed to teach my boy some skills. So I got busy. I rearranged my whole office and set up a special area for him. I moved a dry erase board in and divided it up into sections. There was a DUE TOMORROW and a DUE LATER chart. Then a different part has dates for up coming tests. And in the corner had today’s activities. I put several signs up on the wall such as “Remember to Breath… getting Angry doesn’t help!” and “Reading Break ONLY after you finish a subject’s homework and you have erased it off the board. 10 minutes then back to work.” And of course there was “YOU CAN DO THIS!”
When Jay got home I explained to him our new routine. First we put all the things he needed to do on the board in their proper place. Then he decided on what to do first. He spread out and without any arguments got down to business. Here is how it went.
Math came first
Not sure how he does what he does… he estimates the numbers and does this prime thing… but he always gets the right answer! Whatever works is what I say!
Finishing Math means he gets to do this…
Which means he gets to pick one of these…
and do this…
But he was very mindful of this…
When the timer went off he did not complain he started his Spelling! Let me repeat this because this truly is an amazing thing… He went on to the next thing on his own without any tears, arguments, even stress people!!!!
And when everything was all erased off his board he looked like this…
We have done this for several days now and here is what Jay said to me recently:
Jay: Mom I think this new method is very effective!
Me: Why do you think it is so “EFFECTIVE”.
Jay: Well no meltdowns! When it is written out like that on the board it really doesn’t seem like that much to do. I like erasing it off when I finish something too. It gives me a sense of power!
And there you have it folks. I have some how been able to give my boy some power, some control over things. For a boy who spends so much of his life having to conform, having to go with the flow, having to change the way he naturally wants to do things… well that is huge! I am not sure if this method will work for anyone else, heck I am not sure if it will even work for Jay tomorrow. But for now… we both have a sense of control.
P.S. This worked so well that I set Gracie up with her own space downstairs. She loves it too. My thinking is the more organized they are now, the better off later!
What strategies are working in your home? Please share!