Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Focus and Concentration

There is no getting around it; Andy has a lot of trouble with focus. The ability to sit and focus on something is a challenge; the only thing I have seem him sit and focus on is a new TV show, when he really, really, really tired. Even then, he likes to wander about the room.

Andy had the stomach ick last week. In fact, we had it together. The result was a day and half of missed school. The result of that was two thick booklets of worksheets to make up in our spare time. Oh, and we had another sheet to make up because one afternoon all he could do was run in circles around the house screaming about how he wanted winter to stay forever and hated the snow melting. It was a little disturbing to see, actually. Oh, and we had the homework sheets regularly sent home, because what is kindergarten without homework? As if I have nothing else to teach the child outside of school!

So over the weekend, we got started. Now instead of 5 minutes (one worksheet), we had 20 minutes to do each day, and I didn't want to miss too many days and have it pile into 30 minutes. Did I mention those "new TV shows" were only 20 minutes long? How long could I get him to focus on a worksheet?

It turns out that we did better than I expected. I mixed the sheets up, so he wasn't doing the whole math packet one day, the whole language arts packet the next. A little of this, a little of that, to hold some interest and break up the tedium. That he found most of the sheets tedious was pretty clear. There was one about money and showing ten cents over and over again, and the question was, "how many cents?" each time, to the point he'd just scream, "TEN CENTS!!!" before writing it down, in an exasperated tone. He liked a sheet that was a color-by number. The writing he finds difficult and tiring. He is still reversing his Gs, and mixing upper and lower case letters. One of the sheets asked him to write a sentence using spelling words, and he seems to like that.

But the fact that I could get him to complete worksheets in ten-minute intervals, twice each afternoon, was incredible. Amazing. Not easy, but amazing. Whatever his teacher is doing at school, it is working.