For my two youngest sons this is their first year back in public school after 5 years of home school. There certainly have been some major adjustments, homework being at the top of the list. To this day one of my favorite things about the home school years was no homework. No homework to keep track of, no make up work after illness, no homework to agonize over when the meds have worn off and the brain just isn't functioning, no homework to lose.
Keeping track of homework, remembering to do it, doing it, remembering to turn it in are all hallmark problems for ADHD kids (and for adults though it wouldn't necessarily be called homework it would more likely translate into work assignments or projects). My son's backpack is probably the stereotypical ADHD backpack. Looking at it I, myself, had to wonder how on earth the child is getting good grades and turning anything in on time.
It's simple his absolute obsession and fear of disappointing a teacher overrides his absolute lack of organization. His anxiety level is intense, it's one of the reasons why we went to home school right before the 4th grade when class size and intensity of curriculum were both going to take a big jump up. Nightly he paces the halls and worries that he didn't write something down in his planner, no matter how many times he reviews it. Clearly organization is a coping skill we are working on but haven't come close to mastering.
This project board about sent him over the edge. Projects with lots of pieces and parts are also notoriously difficult for ADHDers. He had arranged to do the 10 hours of service at our local library, as an avid reader this was a magical place to serve. He had written all the parts of the project up, printed out the blurbs and pictures to glue onto the project board he had painstakingly decorated like a huge book shelf. All he had left was the purple paper.
For days I had suggested talking to his teacher. His response, "I can't. I truly fear that woman." I reassured him as best I could, but, her strong PE teacher personality had him shaking in his boots. I've talked to her several times, truth is she loves him as a student, gets a kick out of his unique personality and intensity. But he still wouldn't talk to he,r convinced that she didn't have anymore of the precious purple papers, not one. Convinced that he was going to fail the entire project without that purple piece of paper he turned to any alternative he could come up with.
He was going to talk to the girl he was supposed to do the project with, who bailed at the last minute, she might have one. She wasn't using hers, he explained, she's failing the class anyways so she didn't do a project or a board. I questioned whether someone who was that disconnected would have the purple paper, "good point," he said.
At my request he braved the backpack and went through one paper at a time looking for the purple paper. I tried to edge in a little organizational time by having him sort everything into piles, one for each class. That didn't work, though he did find half of a white copy of the purple piece of paper. Clearly it wouldn't do, in addition to being ripped, it was not purple.
He came up with a plan, he was trying to enlist the help of his oldest sister to "forge" the purple paper. She could do the forgery on the computer and then we could go to the store and find the right color purple paper and print it out. How is this easier than asking for a new one? It's not, but, he reiterated that he really really fears that woman, so in his mind it's safer.
Board completed, minus the purple paper, never having found the original, no copy to take from a fellow student, forgery vetoed by mom and dad - he took the project board to school to turn it in. Clearly, he was going to have to brave his teacher and ask for a new one to glue on the board.
When he got home from school I asked how it all turned out.
"Oh," he exclaimed cheerfully, "the purple piece of paper didn't have to be on the board."
For your entertainment I have written down some of the fake book titles that my son put on his project board. He and his sister, the one he was trying to rope into a life of crime as a forger, had a great time coming up with them. It was late and the meds had definitely worn off.
Sometimes I Eat Paper Clips - Overcoming PICA
Prunes and Prejudice
Fish - A Complete History
101 Ways to Slay a Clown
Mayonnaise is NOT Marshmallow Cream
Tapping Into Your Inner Dolphin
The Super Guide to Malaga and Beyond
How to be a Lumberjack - Sleep All Night - Work All Day
They Call Me The Rabbit Whisperer
Coping with Alien Abduction and Probing
So You Want to be a Llama Herder
Thank Goodness This is the Last Book by Ima Exhausted
and the banned book: 10 Reasons NOT to Get a Colonoscopy
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