Friday, November 7, 2014

Working out the kinks

Our main challenge with Andy is working through the trauma left from school. Anything that looks like a test results in a huge panic attack and screaming shutdown. If he gets anything wrong, he freaks out. Even the fear of being wrong can trigger total melt. The pressure to be right, all the time, and test test test has totally crushed him.

We need to understand the risk it is to learn out loud, to learn on paper, to leave the proof that we did not know this, and open ourselves to the scorn of any witness. This can be harder with people you want to impress, to be perfect for, to have be proud of you and pleased with you, and think you smart. The shutdown we see is extreme, and we need to find answers.

For math practice, we have found Prodigy. Although we will continue to work through our workbook so I can instruct him, this game is fabulous for practice and clean-up. They have a parent side to see what he has done, where he is doing well and where he is struggling, etc. It works kind of like Pokemon, where you cast spells in little challenge battles, and you have to get the math right for the spells to work. Then you build up money you can spend on cool stuff for your character. Andy is totally hooked.

This week, we are going to experiment with some workbooks to go with our hands-on activities for history and science, wish more short reading passages for him. Getting my kids to read is like getting a stick from a beaver. A mean beaver. With a headache. And he really wants that stick. Keeping it short for now increases the chances of him 1. reading it and 2. not shutting down even looking at it. Joey could read War and Peace if you gave it to him one sentence per page. Andy is a little better. You can give him a paragraph- as long as you don't ask him any questions about it.


So bright workbooks with short reading passages, covering grade-level material. Let's see if that works for supporting the program. I'll keep you posted.

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