April 19, 2014

Do Your Work … or else: Conveying the Importance of School to a 10 year old

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So, report cards came out last week. I wouldn’t have even known report cards came out if it wasn’t for Valentine’s Day. I always get excited to look through the Valentine’s the kids bring home from their class party. He handed me his bookbag since he was otherwise preoccupied (i.e. eating his party candy.) As I searched for the bag of cards I felt something inside the lining of the bookbag. I remembered there was a hidden pocket in there so I found my way in. I pulled out the familiar brown envelope and he ran to his room. 

Music S, PE G, Art G, Health S. Good, good! Then I looked at the actual class grades; Math F, Science F, Reading C, Virginia History D, Spelling D, Language F. Umm…what the heck (only I didn’t say heck.) Along with the grades was a note saying he doesn’t do his classwork, instead he day dreams and loses focus. That’s always been an issue – we thought that was what the medicine was for. He has potential, grades would improve if he would just do his work… It’s the same story every year. Every Year

John and I talked to him about the grades and asked why he isn’t completing his work. “I don’t like it, I don’t want to do it.” Yea – that was his answer. Completely fed up and out of options I came up with an idea. An idea to give my son a taste of life as someone who didn’t succeed or even try in school. John doesn’t like the idea, but again – out of options here.

My idea is to create a world where he can only consume what he could afford working at a minimum wage job. No television, computer or video games since he wouldn’t be able to afford the electric bill for all of that. No desserts, eating out or fancy foods since those wouldn’t be in his budget. I’m thinking Ramen Noodles and fruit – bananas and maybe apples since they’re cheap; vegetables too of course. 

He’ll wake up early to go to work.Work being housework – sweeping, mopping, folding laundry, cleaning windows – you know, grunt work. He’ll go to bed early because he’s wore out and has to get up early and do it all over again. 

Now – this isn’t a permanent plan and would only be on the weekend. I know it may sound harsh – but this is the only thing I can think of at this point. I’ve exhausted every other idea to no avail. 

Have you tried an experiment like this before? Do you have any suggestions on how to convey the importance of school to a 10 year old boy who happens to have Asperger’s? Please share any feedback in the comments.

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