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Literality and homework...

(8 Posts)
madwomanintheattic Thu 22-Sep-11 17:48:58

ds is 9 and the jury is still out wrt as/asd/odd/adhd just a bit quirky/ einstein so we'll ignore him <sigh>

so dh and i spent about 45 minutes last night trying to explain to ds1 that because his teacher gave out two maths worksheets for homework, and said that they had to do worksheet 'a', and they didn't have to do worksheet 'b', that she meant they could do worksheet 'b'. (particularly if they did worksheet 'a' in about 4 seconds). he spent 45 minutes arguing that they weren't 'supposed' to do worksheet 'b' because she said they didn't have to. and seemed to be terrified he was going to get into trouble for doing worksheet b)

not 'supposed' to, but they 'could'. we said.
'no,no, we aren't 'supposed' to. we don't have to'

it went on and on. with him getting more and more distraught, and dh and i trying to work out how to rephrase it so that it made sense to him. but as it wasn't what mrs x said, it didn't help at all.

short of getting the teacher to rephrase how she hands out homework and optional additional homework (that you can do) is there any way i can explain this to him?

it doesn't help that he never writes his h/w down in his agenda, so we have to rely on him remembering in any case (and he'd left his agenda at school <sigh>. but he was distraught and crying that he'd get into trouble if he did both.

and on worksheet 'a', there were a list of questions followed by the instruction 'show two equations for each'. so ds1 insisted that he just had to show the equations, but didn't have to answer the question itself (which was obviously the 'solving the equation' bit - so in effect three parts to each question. but because it said 'show 2 equations' he was adamant he wasn't allowed to write the actual answer down.

we haven't really run into this before - it's a new school, so i'm guessing he's a bit stressed about following the instructions precisely etc, but i'm wondering whether to discuss with the teacher. usually they get him get away with not doing stuff because they theoretically know he can do it, but i'm getting concerned that this approach isn't helping him in the long run... and sort of think we need to work at this before the secondary phase. and starting in a new school seems like the right time?

how to explain nuances in speech? and help him decipher real meaning?

y5. just started middle school, so back to being the youngest in the school.

or do you think we should just back off?

gailforcewind Thu 22-Sep-11 23:02:32

I'd begin to work on it now tbh but its a tricky one isn't it? My ds,yr 5 also, takes everything literally (dx AS /ASD).Recently asked for homework to write half a page on something and cut an A4 page in half ,wrote on it till he got to bottom of page and finished in middle of a sentance cos ' teacher only said write half a page '! Its very hard to know how to explain nuances of speech. I do think school should be aware of this and may help him greatly as a result. It might help you also with coping mechanisms for secondary school as this may present as a bigger issue when he does go to I dread the changeover to as I just cant imagine how it will go. We have this all the time and our lad,like yours, is fine accademically also. Sorry not much help really- good luck!confused

tabulahrasa Thu 22-Sep-11 23:28:43

Well how hard is it to say - I'd like you to do both worksheets, but if worksheet A takes you a longer than <insert time> to do, don't move on to B....?

If she wanted the equations solved she should have put that.

The thing is, it doesn't matter how much you explain it - if she's not said it, he'll not have it that you know what you're talking about, well that's my experience anyway, lol.

I'd send in wee notes, one saying that he got extremely upset because he thought he wasn't allowed to do both sheets, could you make sure he understands the instructions next time please and one saying that he find the phrase show the equations a bit ambiguous and if you're using it interchangeably with solve could you please explain that to him.

but I'm in a nippy mood, lol

madwomanintheattic Fri 23-Sep-11 00:28:23

thanks both grin tis obv a new teacher and we haven't met yet, guess it might be time to pop in and say hello... can't really send in notes as he just forgets completely to hand them in. (even the really important ones for school trips that he's reminded me about every half an hour since receiving the form lol. as soon i've done my bit and signed them he forgets all about it. i assume becasue the teacher says 'get your mum to fill them in', and not 'get your mum to fill them in and BRING THEM BACK'. )

<am loving the half a page. i can see that happening here, too>

tabulahrasa Fri 23-Sep-11 01:34:32

Oh I attach notes to the homework blush

<is a pita parent>

madwomanintheattic Fri 23-Sep-11 02:18:25

oo i hadn't thought of that! <dim>

thank you! blush

gailforcewind Fri 23-Sep-11 22:26:23

Madwoman,we have exactly the same problem with forms that need to be filled in and sent back. What works for us is that ds has quite a large pencil case and I always put the form/letter in it after he has done homework and the next day its obviously the first thing he sees when he takes out pens etc-dont know if your ds needs to take pens etc in a pencil case or not but it works really well for us. Also forgot to say that I also attach a note to homework or else put a little letter in pencil case for teacher(if i dont want ds to read it).

wraith Sat 24-Sep-11 23:19:44

hrmm non delineated commands fun.

you arnt supposed to is a command and your ds is right in his understanding dealing with literlaity is a challenge id speak to his teacher after this

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