Now, as a parent trying to get a kid to sit down and fill out worksheets, I dread homework.
I guess I never really understood the extent of Ryan's learning disabilities until I had to figure out how to add -ing to words.
Monday's homework started with reading a nonfiction story about a mother fox and her baby (I learned something new! A baby fox is called a kit!). Fine, that part was painless.
Then Ryan had to complete some vaguely-related worksheets.
Step 1: catch Ryan, get him to stay at the table. You! Hey you, the one bouncing off the walls! Get over here.
Step 2: sensory break. Administer deep-pressure input. Have Ryan walk around the table on his hands.
Step 3: get him to hold a pencil properly. No, a pencil is not a rocket ship. No, a pencil should not be waved sideways in front of your face. Get that pencil point away from my eye!
Step 4: get Ryan to
Step 5: explain the first exercise. The worksheet says "Add -ing to each word. Write the new word on the line." There are five words (help, look, fix, lick, play) and five lines - wide-ruled, with a dotted line in the middle to guide penmanship. I pointed to the first word. "So here you would write, 'helping.'"
After much prompting, Ryan wrote "iG."
We will try again.
I print the word "helping" in small, neat letters, then ask Ryan to do the same; his pencil is waving in front of his eyes again.
I put Ryan on my lap, squeeze him tightly, bribe him with chocolate chips.
He's not getting it. I decide to move on to the next section.
The next part of the first worksheet says, "Use the words you wrote to finish the sentences. Write the words on the lines." There are some cryptic cartoons with incomplete captions, taunting us with those wide-ruled lines.
"Jan is __________ at the cats."
I point to the first drawing. Jan is a ponytailed zookeeper. She is leaning on a railing, smiling at lioness and her cub in a cage. The whole picture is less than two inches wide.
"What's the lady doing?"
No response. Pencil stimming.
I take away the pencil. "What's she doing?"
"Hey, give that back!"
"First let's look at this picture..."
On that whole first worksheet, Ryan managed to fill in one of the ten spaces.
We will try again this afternoon.
And every afternoon for the next 11 years.
Where's my wine?