Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Homework!

The kids started school, and the first night means one thing for parents: Homework. Two schools worth of Code of Conduct, Syllabuses and Bus Rules! Yay, gotta love that!

Chef Junior's teacher is shaping up to be the most creative that we've seen for either child. She sent home a blank white bag (similar to the one she gave the kids). He was instructed to decorate the outside with his name and pictures that show things that are important to him. The inside was to be filled with three or four things that are special to him-to show WHO he is. (Gotta love this: she said no video games unless you plan on growing up to make them-she would have gotten a kick out of Gameboy)

We talked about his choices and the bag ended up being filled with LOTs of pictures. Pictures showing him camping and traveling (he loves to travel), pictures of him at the beach in California, making his favorite meal (with recipe) and a patch from cooking school. Cub scout stickers.

I love how she made a craft project the homework. It got him to really think, much more than an essay ever could. Now that's right up my alley, the creative thing-I don't think Ed would have enjoyed this one as much. It is really looking like she is a non linear teacher, and she'll have them use critical thought instead of rote dittos and reading. Kind of like my favorite elementary teacher who had a piano in the classroom and had us singing every day. (I still remember those songs, btw)

Gameboy seems to have the right placement, thank God. Two teachers are instructing him for four subjects in a block, and two other teachers take over for math and science. They have a point system in place, and it has five levels. The reward is to go to mainstream classes when you're consistently at level 5. This is wise.

As he gets older, Gameboy notices more and more that he is different, and he's trying in his own awkward way to be like his peers. That's where I think scouting has helped him. Once he sees the other students going to different classes each period, it may spur him to work on the behaviors.

Last night, he had one page of homework, in which he filled in the blanks regarding the class Code of Conduct. Later on, he had a meltdown about his restriction from games (He'd stolen his brother's gameboy and was hiding under the bed and playing it). I used that page as a springboard. Do you touch other people's possesions? Are you respecting mom or dad when you disobey? What does good behavior bring you? A brainstorm struck: we copied the homework assignment and I'll be retyping it as house rules and placing it on the fridge.

He's reaching out in other ways. I know he feels affection and love (though to what degree, I'll never know). He sees that his brother is sometimes OVERLY affectionate and is very generous with the hugs and kisses. Chef Jr insists on some 'snuggle time' every night before bed.

In the past week, Gameboy has come up and told me he loves me unprompted and allowed me to kiss his cheek. Last night, HE asked for some snuggle time. It's awkward and uncomfortable (he's 90 pounds and solid), but I would never say no to something like this. He is out of his element school wise, and is attempting to balance himself with things that he knows comforts others. It seemed to calm him, and for once, I didn't hear him playing with stuff in his room for hours after bedtime.

I find myself stopping to think about how his mind works a lot more lately. Middle school can be the catalyst for GOOD change in him-but I've got to put myself in his shoes and think like an 11 year old, like an aspie and like a kid who wants to fit in. In that respect, there's going to be a lot of homework for me this year.

It's probably good that I do blog, as this is all practical information that I will use when I become a teacher. Not if, but WHEN. A plus of going back to school now is that I've got two teachers right in the house to help me learn!

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