Scheduling Homework and the Urge to Battle Zombie Mutants

There is a general acknowledgement in our house that if you can’t find my youngest son, go find a computer and there he will be. This really wasn’t too much of a problem until he hit high school. Then the workload for school became so intense that it really cut into his computer time and the battle was on.
 
How do you get a child who is fixated on computer surfing and gaming to concentrate on his homework, which is all done on computers nowadays. At first we tried not allowing any breaks when he came home from school. RIght away to the homework. This way we figured that he would still be in school mode so there would just be the push towrds the end of the day. Now that really didn’t have too much effect on his efficiency. In fact, the fighting that ensued was legendary. I tried the positive approach…now if you do your homework you will earn "so much time" on the computer to play your games or surf the net. It didn’t really work because he just steamrollered through his homwork, not paying attention and not learning anything. OK, try one down, next…
 
Try no.2: We decide to let him have a small break when he got home from school. We allotted 15 minutes and he wanted one hour. We negotiated it down to a 30 minute break, which if I got distracted and there was no one to intervene for him to break the computer "spell" his break went on until I was able to get to him. So that did not work. Ok, try two down, next…
 
Try no.3: No more postiive behavioral intervention, now we are going to go for punishment. Do your homeowrk or else! More battles, and less homework accomplished. This didn’t last very long, its not hard to really tell when something is just not a good idea. Ok, try three down, next…
 
Try no.4: One of the issues that this child has is the need to control his environment. I guess its a basic OCD/ASD issue. So we thought OK control this. We would look in his agenda everyday and see what he had for homework. If there was actually a huge project he should have been working on, we get an email from his special education teacher so we are  able to work it in. The upshot of this try is that we allowed him to control his own time/world. But the trick of it was that he had to do his work and do it well,or atleast try to d it well.
 
Now, they used to schedule him in school very strictly when he was very young and they of course backed off as he got older . By high school he just had the schedule that all students had .Except we asked the school to have him schedule his free time. Which they did, he did and it went great. On  the weekends it was always somewhat unstructured but he knew when his activities were scheduled. What we realized was that open ended time is really not good for him. He doesn’t know how to function in a time vaccuum. It’s like a black hole, sucking him in while damaging his thrusters, leaving him without the necessary booster power to set himself free of the gravitational pull. So we thought about it and decided to try homework scheduling.
 
Coupled with his desire for control and his need to schedule we helped him schedule his homework. At first he needed some help with the schedule, but eventually he would do it on his own and then show me. If I disagreed with the time management I would discuss it with him. He would then change the times around. It was working really well. Except once in awhile we would have to peek in and make sure he wasn’t taking a net surfing detour. Nothing’s absolute.
 
The interesting thing about the scheduling is that after awhile when he would need to adjust the schedule because he needed more time, say for history, then he would rework the entire schedule himself. Of course, the "break" time when he would "computer" or play on a game system never got touched, but it actually worked out really well. This way, he got to have a say in his day. He got to control his life, so to speak, as any teenager really wants to do anyway plus he was learning independence, time  management and organizational skills. All those pesky executive functioning skills that aspies have so much trouble figuring out.
 
So it wasn’t perfect, but he worked really hard during his finals, over  a period of months. He was able to organize his regular homework, daily review sessions and kill as many atomic bomb created zombie mutants as he could.  Of course now that its summer and there is no homework, there is alot more time to save the human race. 
 
As an aside, I want to know the exact moment in his development that he went from wanting to play Mario and Sonic to battling zombie mutants. It’s like the time I caught him listening to heavy metal when he was a tween. The books never tell you about those developmental milestones. I guess the doctors don’t really want to scare everyone into not procreating.
 
Until next time,
 
From a safer planet Earth,
 
Elise
About these ads

About Elise Ronan

Political independent, US Constitution, Bill of Rights, special needs advocate
This entry was posted in HOMEWORK. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Scheduling Homework and the Urge to Battle Zombie Mutants

  1. Kathleen says:

    My son is almost 13, more than halfway thru his first year of junior h.s., and it is a daily battle…it\’s a constant struggle to get him to do his hw when all he wants to do is play on XBox or on the computer. We try timers, we give him plenty of warning, but he yells and screams, we try time outs, he screams even louder. Makes for much stress in the household. It\’s tough!

  2. Elise says:

    I completely understand what you are going through. The self-scheduling ended up solving some of our problem, giving him some control. The only provblem that arises si when he can\’t turn off his obsession about the Xbox/nintenod/playstation/computer game of the moment. Unfortunately we have had to come to the point where he doesn\’t play undtil after homework is done, and if he gives us a hard time he looses it for the week. It does get very stressful, but after a few times he learned and figured out that he needed to do his homework.One other thing that we found was that he had a very bad sense of how long something would take. He viewed a small assignment as something that would ruin his entire afternoon and evening. We tried to get him to recognize that his sense of time was off as well. Aspies tend to do that and catastrophize everything. The last thing we did was sit with him until he figured out how to work through the homework itself. Luckily our older son was selfsufficient by this time and didn\’t nor want any supervision. Also hubby would work with HSb when he came home from work. Interestingly HSB saw it as a way to sepnd time with his father and rather looked forward to the one to one dad time, even if it was doing homework.Goodluck. I hope your situation resolves itself soon.

  3. Kathleen says:

    Hi Elise, Your son is so similar to mine! He complains about how long things will take, and we tell him that it takes longer for him to complain about it than to actually accomplish something! I think you\’ve hit the nail on the head about having a bad sense of timing. One time, when I was trying to get him to fold laundry (and he freaked over how long it would take), I set the timer for him to see how long it actually took; it turned out to be about 2 minutes. A light bulb seemed to go off. I\’ve always noticed his obsession over how chores, HW, etc. will eat into his playing time, when he is usually allowed a generous amount of time to play. It is a relief to talk to another mom who is going through this; no one else has a clue what it\’s like!Thanks for writing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s