I have other more serious posts rolling around in my head but today I wanted to update everyone on school. I really hope that I do not jinx it!
He started online school on January 23rd and overall we have been really happy with that decision. I do not miss getting calls from the school about how he is refusing to do work. I do not miss him being upset by the other kids or by the teachers. I do not miss having to pick him up from school early. I do not miss arguing with him about getting up in the morning. I do not miss emailing the teachers to explain what he was stuck on and how we can now move him forward. I do not miss so many things. But like anything it is not perfect. But we are working on it!!
I have recently posted about the sleep issues and also the issues with getting him to work. I had tried schedules in every form. I wrote them on a piece of paper, I wrote them on a board. I would tell him. We would agree on a time but the end result was always the same. The time came to do school work and he would have an excuse to not do it. His friends and him were working on some project in MineCraft or there was live streaming on YouTube. Basically he did not take the schedule seriously. I am guilty of that as well.
He would also fight sleeping at night. This past Wednesday (I think it was Wednesday) was awful. I had thought that we were going in the right direction as the few nights before he had been going to bed at 2AM and getting up around 12. He even commented that he was feeling better with that sleep schedule. Wednesday night was horrible. I think I went to bed at 12 and then woke up at 2 to make sure that he was in bed. At 4 he came and got me (or I woke up, it is kind of a blur at this point) and we had an interesting conversation.
He told me that he couldn’t sleep and he wanted to get up and play video games. I tried to convince him that he needed to sleep and reminded him that he had to attend a mandatory virtual class at 1PM. He usually does not need to attend classes at a certain time but these were mandatory because he had not completed certain assignments. He did not like these and probably helped the cause along as well. Anyways back to the 4 AM conversation. He kept insisting he would just stay up. Finally he says “Mom, I threw away my sleeping pill. I took my other pills though” What?!?! Oh man. He tells me he really wants to play his video game. We then discuss how he needs to do school work. I even convinced him to take the second part of the Geometry test that he was avoiding.
He was avoiding the Geometry test because the question was worded differently from class and wasn’t listening to my rephrasing. I did get rephrasing of questions on his IEP for when he takes his graduation tests because he definitely needs it.
During our discussion of school he said that he wanted to go back to regular school. At 4AM with no sleep I am not sure how we had any lucid conversation at all but it was a conversation that needed to happen. I asked him why and he said that he wanted an actual teacher to teach him. I explained again that there are actual teachers and when we listen to the course connects there are actual teachers teaching the classes. I know part of his problem is that he gets bored during some of the course connects. This was an issue in “regular” school as well. There I would get phone calls about how he was reading a book during class.
The 4AM conversation continued with him telling me he wanted a teacher but no other kids. We then discussed how he doesn’t like a lot of teachers either. Right. So then I re-iterated that I can teach him but he needs to actually pay attention and put in effort. He can not be playing video games. I reminded him that he needs to do the work or I am going to take video games away completely. I have taken them away in the past but I haven’t recently because he plays them while I am at work. Again he has to do his work to get that privilege.
A few days prior to this I had told him I was going to put him back on a behavior chart. This had seemed to work to get him to do his work without arguing. He used to be on a behavior chart but then he graduated off of it.
Sorry if this is going round and round but I wanted to make sure included everything. After that 4AM conversation I decided we needed to make a couple of changes.
He had been resistant in the past but I decided to put in a schedule and be mre strict about it. First and foremost he takes his pills at 11PM and everything off at Midnight. If he takes his pills he will sleep for the most part. I have found evidence a couple of nights that he was up foraging for food but he seems to be sleeping better for the most part.
I had tried different methods of scheduling and none of them really worked. We are now tracking his schedule on a lovely app for the iPad called iStudiez Pro. (Anyone else find it amusing that they want to sell it to students yet spelled it cutesy?). Although I could only figure out how to schedule classes I did figure out to include sleeping and video game time as classes. He can now visualize that he has sufficient video game time during the day. Eventually I can put this app on his phone and sync them but right now we are just testing it on the iPad.
I have scheduled school time and I am planning to make it more like school. I had planned this before but he was resistant to me explaining things. I took the Geometry lessons from a couple of days and condensed it down for him. He was very happy with this. He hates listening to that class. It is a tougher class but he doesn’t need it explained 10 times with 10 examples. He just zones out or gets irritated. Some classes he is still doing the recorded classes but at least now he knows I can be his teacher.
I also decided to download a behavior chart app for the iPad. I chose iRewardChart and customized it for him. This seems to also be working out well. Currently he does not need to earn the video game time but I do have it in there as a reward so he can visualize this can happen. Although I am at work during the day I can easily enforce no video games. I have been amazed in the past when I have taken away games and he got home before I did that he actually listened. I know this because he would call me to ask if he could play games. He is really a great person.
Last night we had great school time although he did try to keep pushing the schedule back. I am guilty of letting him push it back a bit. At bedtime I tried to get him to take his pills at 10:30 because I wanted to go to bed. Sheldon looked at the clock and said “It isn’t time yet, I am on a schedule” “Yes, yes you are, remember that tomorrow when it is time to start school.” He smirked at me. He took his pills at 11 PM and had everything off by 11:05. Oh how I hope this continues….