8+ hours of homework a day: Hello, I... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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8+ hours of homework a day

Marin_Mom
Marin_Mom

Hello,

I have a 7th grade son who is in a rigorous online school. He has about 2-3 hours of school a day and then works on his own for about 8+ hours. Even though he is getting used to it, I am worried that this is unsustainable and he will burn out as his workload will only get harder. I have spoken to the school and they agree that it's too much but haven't adjusted anything. It is up to us to ask for workload reductions but it feels slightly discouraged. We do the Pomodoro technique (take lots of breaks) and try to time-box assignments. Other than that I'm not sure what else to do. He is a pretty fast reader, so I'm not exactly sure where he can be more efficient. He just seems a bit slow overall. Does anyone have any suggestions for time management or how to decide where to reduce the workload in his classes?

Much appreciated!

17 Replies

When you say you are suppose to ask for a reduction, is that written into a 504 plan. The time spend should be equal to in person learning. If he shows mastery at 5 problems he should do 5. A teacher should help with the reduction so it is not put on you guys.

I would write a letter and drop it off at the school and get the coordinator involved.

Burn out is very serious and an can impact his opinion about school work in the future.

If you do not have a 504 plan start there. It helps to get a letter from the person who gave him the diagnosis and present that to the school.

Good luck

Thanks so much!! He’s in a private school so there’s no formal 504. They seem pretty accommodating but of course it’s up to me to make sure it’s all happening. His neuro psych is thinking a full neuro testing might help figure out how to better support him. Do you have any experience with that?

Yes, I have read over a few of these reports. You may consider a private professional evaluate your son and have them give you advice. There are a number of academic assessments that could answer questions for you. There are medical model assessments and educational assessments. Of course both are helpful.

Yes, it will be up to you to "lead the ship" for the school. Most struggles that kids have there could be some way to help with this in school.

Good luck.

You are smart to get ahead of this now, because you’re right, it will get worse. I found my daughter up half the night trying to finish homework when she started high school. Do you or he have a sense of what assignments tend to take him a long time? That would seem like a good place to start to figure out where it would be most helpful to ask for reductions. For example, for my daughter, it’s generally writing assignments that take her an exceptionally long time, but very detailed assignments can too, because she is a perfectionist. We did neuropsych testing and found that while she is gifted, her processing speed is on the slower side. We were able to request in her 504 that assignments be streamlined as needed, so she can show competency of a concept in a shortened assignment. For example, if there’s a math assignment with 50 problems that are all basically the same, she can do a smaller number to illustrate her understanding. Good luck trying to figure this out. It sounds like the school is willing to work with you on this, which is good!

Thanks so much! He did an IQ test that showed the same as well. Slower processing speed. Writing can be slow, for reading sometimes I download the audible book instead, and his math is very problem based so that takes a lot of time too. I think you're right, we need to push for the workload reduction. I'm curious, did you feel that competency was sacrificed at all because of the workload reduction? Also curious if it impacted the way the teachers grade. Thanks again!!!

We put the 504 in place at the start of this school year, and because of changes in the school model (we are hybrid or remote, depending upon COVID numbers locally), I don’t think she’s taken advantage of the option to reduce the workload. Assignments are all due at midnight now, so that naturally precludes her from staying up until 2 or 3 to finish things. She’s still spending too much time on homework, but she seems way less stressed about the workload than last year, when she was having panic attacks, so I’m leaving things be for now. She doesn’t really want the accommodations (she has social anxiety, so the idea of being singled out for her is worse than spending more time doing the work), but I feel better knowing they’re in place if she needs/wants them. And she’s indicated that she may take advantage of extra time on standardized testing (especially if it involves writing), which I’m not sure she would be eligible for without a 504 plan in place. As far as competency, judging by some of the longer assignments I was seeing last year, I think the students could easily achieve competency by doing shortened versions. Many of them just became repetitive after a point, anyway. I suppose how the teachers grade would depend on the teacher, but if the accommodations are formalized in a 504 plan, legally they can’t grade differently. But those are good questions to bring to the school counselor, if there is one, or whoever the 504 coordinator is at the school. Sorry I can’t be more help!

Thanks so much and good luck to your daughter!! It’s a private school so no 504, just me staying on top of everyone. Do you have any experience with neuro psych testing? We are wondering if that might provide more insight into how to support him. :)

Got it. Yes, we did neuropsych testing for my older daughter this summer, and I hope to be able to do it for my younger one at some point, too (we just did a more streamlined ADHD assessment for her, just to get the diagnosis). I highly recommend it for helping to better understand your son’s relative strengths and weaknesses. The neuropsychologist also provided a detailed list of suggested accommodations in the written report, which was super helpful. And you may be able to use the report to secure additional time for testing on the SAT/ACT in the future (we just got approved for this, yay). If you did IQ testing recently, you may have to wait a certain period as that is part of the testing, and it’s not considered to be reliable if it’s repeated within a certain time frame (I think it’s two years). Or maybe they would do it but not give you the FSIQ, I’m not sure. But they also do other tests that look at executive functioning skills, which is key with ADHD. It can be very expensive (prices can range from $2500-$6000 for a full battery of tests, depending where you live), but you can often get insurance to pay for part of it. There can be long waiting lists, too, so it’s definitely worth calling around to different places. The school may be able to help with some recommendations, or his pediatrician. If you have other questions about testing, or want to see some of the accommodations suggested for my daughter to accommodate her slower processing speed/anxiety, please let me know—I’m happy to share.

Yes I would be interested in knowing what other accommodations are available beyond extra time, extensions, and workload reductions, if any. Thanks again!!!

These were the neuropsychologist’s recommendations. Hope they help.

-Extra study period during the day to allow extra time to start (and even complete) homework

-Fifty percent additional time on exams given slowed processing speed and anxiety

-A quiet testing area where she cannot compare her pace to that of peers (and the format of the test itself). The goal is to provide a stress-free place to demonstrate learned knowledge

-Access to notes/power point presentations/handouts in advance of lectures to provide a chance to review the information ahead of time. Given slowed psychomotor speed, taking notes may be challenging, therefore scribe services or access to classmates’ notes is recommended.

-Audio recording classes may be helpful to allow listening again at a later time

-At school, having a trusted person to check in with on a daily basis or throughout the day is suggested.

-Multimodal learning will be helpful as she will benefit from both seeing and hearing (saying aloud) information several times when studying

-Movement or pacing can be helpful with learning and retaining information, as well as having an outlet to reduce anxiety/stress. She is encouraged to move around when preparing for an exam.

-Dictation software is recommended for lengthy writing assignments

Wow thanks so much! Have you found a good dictation software?

She is just using the built-in speech-to-text function on her school iPad, but Dragon Naturally Speaking is a popular dictation software that has been around for a long time.

My grandson is in a collegiate program in high school. Last year he really had a hard time managing the homework load but this year he seems to have gotten things under control. Most classes he is making B's or C's but to me that is fantastic for a kid with ADHD and anxiety issues. He does have a 504 which gives him an extra day to finish assignments. None of the other students know about his 504. It is just handled quietly by the teachers.

SuZQ154
SuZQ154 in reply to anirush

504's are awesome!

As moms, we worry about our children's educations right now, and to some degree rightfully so. On-line learning, the lack of one-on-one instruction and interaction with teachers and other students, and the social isolation which the pandemic has required-they all are unknowns on how they will impact our chilren, academically and socially, in the long run. When I start to worry about this, I try to remind myself, "God is in control" and do what seems reasonable. Love our children, give them encouragement, and be available when they need help. Also, be in contact with the teachers when it seems necessary.

You are doing a great job staying on top of you son's education:)

Marin_Mom
Marin_Mom in reply to anirush

Thanks for sharing! Does the 504 allow him to reduce his workload? What other accommodations does he have?

SuZQ154
SuZQ154 in reply to Marin_Mom

In 504's, often it is written that a student can have extra time and a reduced workload. Teachers must accomodate.

Touching base with the teacher may help on many levels. You will be able to get a better feel on her, the situation, and your child. You will get a better sense of the teacher's personality, commitment to your child, competency, and willingness to work with you. You can get a better sense of how the 504 is being implemented, if your child is being helped by it, if it should be modified, etc. Also, the teacher will know you care and may be able to share insights about your child of which you may be unaware. The teacher may be able to give you pointers, outside of the 504, on how you can be helping at home, too. Maybe most importantly, you will feel better as a mom that you are doing as much as you can as a parent. For me, again, I try to remind myself, "God is in control" and do what I can that is reasonable:)

You are a great mom!!

He is not allowed more than one homework assignment at night. He also goes for individualized tutoring after school with whichever teacher he has problems with. They have something at his high school called A days and B days so they have each class every other day. But he gets an extra day, which turns into 2 extra days because of the schedule to get even class assignments handed in.

My grandson is a slow reader and usually has to read out loud to understand a subject so you are lucky there.

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