Murphy's Law can suck my middle finger. I had just hit the publish button for my "Morning Miracles" blog when I received an email from Xavier's teacher requesting a meeting. It seems that he is having difficulty in paying attention in class. We set up a meeting for January 19th, and I emailed Xavier's Special Education teacher, asking if she could please join us, to which she agreed to.
That afternoon when I picked Xavier up from school, I mentioned the email, and asked him if there were any areas he was having trouble concentrating on. "MATH" he yelled from the backseat. So I told him that we were going to sit down that day together, and I would not leave his side while he did his math homework. I would be there to answer any questions and help him. I would not DO it for him though.
So we got home, and going through the mountain of paperwork that always arrives on a Monday afternoon, I saw one possible issue that could cause focus issues in class. Xavier is starting to learn long division. And the teacher is showing the kids multiple ways on how to do it. Now. For a normal kid, this would probably work just fine. But for a kid with severe ADHD, the more possible ways to do something, the more confusing it can be. It clicked why he was having issues. And frankly. reading the explanation the teacher sent home made my own ADD kick into high gear. I couldn't follow it at all.
So I sat down and showed Xavier how to do division the way *I* do it. And after a lot of questions, it seemed to click. So we grabbed some paper and pencils, and sat down to get to work.
This kid focused his ass off. I will give major props to him after this day of homework. He didn't lose track, he didn't get up a lot. He sat there with me by his side, and worked hard. Even knowing this, it took him 3 hours to finish 1 1/2 pages of homework. 3 fucking hours with the both of us sitting there, working on long division. He never lost focus. I, on the other hand, started daydreaming about alcohol around the 45 minute mark.
Finally by 7:30 I had had enough. Even though we didn't get to any of the other homework, I sent Xavier off to play for the last hour before bed. I wrote a note to the teacher, explaining the situation and letting her know I was totally ok with him not finishing his homework that night. She wrote back the next day to let me know she agreed and was cool with it as well.
The following day I called my friend Sabra, both to crow about Xavier's ability to sit and focus, but to also bitch about 3 hours of long division. She gave me a great idea on how to make it easier. You flip the paper sideways so that each number has it's own column and it's easier to see. I tried it that afternoon. With the combined efforts of having it starting to really click for him, and the sideways paper, we cut it down to 45 minutes.
Xavier has an IEP that allows for his homework to be scaled down if needed. We haven't used that yet, but I think I'm going to bring that up at the teacher meeting. While I want Xavier to succeed, I also want him to have time to play too. I'll update after the meeting