The past year was difficult. We started the year doing pretty well and then things started to slip. Teachers called to say that assignments were missing, not once or twice but regularly. We tried punishments, no trip to the river if you don’t turn in your homework. There were tears and tantrums and in the end. Nothing short of constant supervision made an impact.
At the same time, there was some teasing happening in class.
Nothing that could be called out by a teacher, all very subtle, but our boy was getting excluded and mocked for pulling out of math class for extra help. He started to recede. No more chatty “Kathy” on the way home from school, he shut us down when we asked about the day. Dinners were a waiting game to see when he’d blow up, or if he’d just sit in silence.
And then, quarantine happened and we were responsible for all of the discipline and all of the education for a month before school got back up and running (and that was a long way from what it normally was!)
Friends started to fall away.
Not all of them but certainly a few disappeared. We could tell he hated getting on zoom and, unless we were watching, he’d mute the class and play a game in his lap. We had to supervise, every moment. But we both work, so that was impossible.
We added online math tutoring, we read every night before bed but the teachers still said he was not doing assignments, not keeping up.
Speaking of assignments, before quarantine, books got left at school and homework at home so much that we considered buying a duplicate set of all his textbooks to keep at home.
How did we go from a happy child to this? And how do we get back to a place where school is fun?
We tried adderall (disaster) and exercise (many failed attempts) and then we found the attention arcade games. It was tough at first, he didn’t want to do anything regularly but the games are fun and eye tracker makes him feel like he can do magic. Within a week he was playing without too much prodding. Within a month he was doing homework and the teachers reported that he was speaking up on the zoom calls and participating in the discussions.
It’s like exercise, we have to do it regularly.
We stopped when school ended and I can tell we’ve regressed a little. It’s summer so we started doing twice a week just to maintain all that he gained.
For him, it must feel better (we don’t get a lot of reporting on emotions!)
For us, it feels like a light came back on. The anxiety and seclusion are gone. We have high hopes for the 5th grade in the fall. We’ll keep at it. The games don’t get old and he loves beating his high scores. I can’t recommend the games enough if your child has attention issues.