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Monday, February 21, 2011

My son hates school, but he's writing a book

I'm amazed, I'm speechless and shocked!  And, these adjectives just touch the surface of my emotion.  I have a 10 year old son who absolutely hates school work.  Getting him to sit down and read a history book or finish a math lesson is worse than pulling teeth.  He can spend - And, I'm not exaggerating in the least - 3-4 hours arguing and explaining why he does not need to do traditional school work.  Meanwhile, his 9 year old sister has finished her work for the entire day.  Yet, he's still debating the merits of never doing school work and why it is unnecessary.  So, you can imagine my shock when the following happened.

Last week, I sat down with my son and asked him what his perfect school day would be like.  We talked for quite awhile as we discussed what makes him excited about learning and what squashes it.  We came to the conclusion that, as is typical with the rest of his borderline asperger personality, that it's the transition he has difficulty going through.  He doesn't like to jump from one thing to another until he is completely prepared and ready.  On Monday morning, even though we all know it's coming every week, it somehow comes as a surprise to my son who has difficulty transitioning from one event to another.

When he was a toddler, I lived this transitional difficulty many times as we would leave a playground or leave a toy train table set up to entertain children in waiting areas, libraries or stores.  I learned very quickly that I needed to tell him something like, "Make the train go around the table 3 more times, and then we're leaving."  Or, "go down the slide 4 more times, and then say bye bye!"  This worked well.  So, how could I apply this to school?

We decided that Monday would become our library day.  Every Monday when he wakes up, instead of quickly transitioning into school books which he hates, we would make a trip to the library where he could pick out books he has an interest in reading and exploring.  Since the first Monday fell on President's Day, and the library will be crowded with off-school children, we went to the library on Friday last week.  To my amazement, I have not been able to pull my children away from their books and DVDs that they picked out that day.  But, there's more.

My son read some Magic Tree House Books over the weekend.  He became very absorbed in these books.  He became so absorbed that he is now, on his own, writing his own Magic Tree House-inspired book of his own.  He understands it has to be his own words and his own ideas, so there is no plagerism issues.  And, he has come up with some really fun ideas.  He has made a cover for his book and written a larger portion of the first chapter.  To top it off, this book is based on facts.  He is currently, as I type, researching facts about his topic from other library books we picked up that day.

I'm very excited and told him I would self publish it when he is finished.  So, my 10 year old is in the process of writing his first novel all because I sat down to ask what would be his perfect school day.  I will not give away too much of his story line.  I will say, it's inspired by the Magic Tree House books, and it's about his youngest sister's favorite animal.