One of the banes of student life has to be homework. Even the Monster, who’s in a specialized school, gets homework on a near daily basis to reinforce what he’s going over in class. It’s rarely very much, and it is appropriate to what’s on his IEP, but it’s homework nonetheless.
So, let me start off with the depressing-to-me part – I usually feel like R’s homework is actually more rigorous than the Monster’s. Despite the four-year age gap between them, R clearly outstrips his brother at a lot of things (and no, this isn’t the first time it’s come up). R reads beautifully in English at a level well above his age, is getting the hang of basic math, and things of that ilk, while the Monster is still having trouble doing addition on a number line and is working on sight words.
(And that ignores that homework is one place where the Monster’s getting ahead of R – it takes pushing and prodding R to get his homework done, whereas the Monster can, by and large, be sat down with it and will just bang it out quickly so he can go back to playing.)
In the area of life-skills, he’s been working on learning telling time, and when he has the worksheet put in front of him to match 6 analog clocks with their digital times, he’ll get it done in about 2 minutes and simply be done with it. To me, that’s really kind of incredible (I honestly can’t remember when I learned to tell time, much less that to be honest, I don’t think the Monster himself has a sense of time yet) that he can do it, and he’s so-far not made a mistake on it.
But this morning… we realized we forgot to do homework that was requested by the teacher through a website. Having 10 minutes till the bus arrived, I pulled up the website and sat down with him to work on… sight word identification. The game was to listen to the word read by the computer, and choose from the four-to-five options presented as to the word that matched. I ran the computer, and all he had to do was tap the right word on the screen for me to choose it.
Now, reading with the Monster tends to be hit-or-miss. He’s got a decent-enough vocabulary when he chooses to use it, but most of the time when we try to get him to read, he starts taking guesses at words rather than really reading them. It makes the exercise of even getting through a basic reader something akin to having a tooth pulled. So I’d not had high hopes of going through the exercise… and then the Monster surprised me. I’ll be damned if he didn’t get most of the words right, and on the first try, without much hesitation. Even some more confusing words, like being asked for ‘these’ when both ‘these’ and ‘those’ were options on the screen.
I’m not saying my kid’s going to be writing for a major metropolitan newspaper any time soon, but it’s definitely progress from where he was a year ago.