Jamie’s new regime was, unfortunately, interrupted in the first week when he woke up in the earlier hours of Tuesday with a nasty stomach bug; fortunately it proved to last for little more than twenty-four hours, but consideration of infection risk required me to keep him off for another two days after that, so he was only actually in for Monday and Friday of this week. This also, annoyingly, made for a delay in the find-a-different-school endeavours, as I actually had appointments to look round two places on the Tuesday (after a morning of phoning around local schools on the Monday) and of course had to postpone them so that I could stay home with Jamie. (They are now rebooked for this coming Monday, along with a third who rang me back with an appointment a few days later, so it will be a busy but hopefully fruitful day.)
Other than this, the trial regime has been an almost unqualified success.
There have been some problems, which was only to be expected; he still has as-yet-unmedicated ADHD, and no-one was expecting him to turn into an angel overnight. However, the problems now are on the level of ‘shouted at teachers and called them stupid when he got frustrated with his work, but teachers managed the situation by reminding him he could ask for a five minute break if he needed it’ which obviously isn’t great, but is a massive improvement on ‘spent half the morning running round the school attacking anyone who tried to head him off from anything too destructive’, which was the kind of thing that was happening before. He’s been actually getting his work done. On Friday, he managed two decent-length pieces of written work – a letter on internet safety and a list of facts he’d looked up about the Battle of Britain – which is excellent for a child who hates written work so much. He’s been getting on well with the TAs, who love his cheeky personality (and are very impressed by how well he does maths!)
Part of the regime is that he now has homework, for the first time in several years; I wasn’t sure how this would go but in fact he’s done very well so far. It consists of one Maths and one English task given out on Wednesdays (or Friday this week, because of him being off, so it’s annoying I didn’t realise this was going to be the case or I’d have asked for them while he was off and we could have got them out of the way before he went back – oh, well) and handed back on Mondays, and spellings to be learned for a test on Wednesdays (which I assume will also normally be handed out on Wednesdays, but that hasn’t quite been specified). This week, his English was two pages of questions on plurals (there isn’t too much to write per page as it’s fill-in-the-blanks stuff with lots of spacing between questions) and his Maths was speed-mental arithmetic. I suggested to him on Friday evening that it might be worth doing some of his homework then so that he didn’t have it all to do on the weekend, and he sat down and did the English (though I had to help him a lot as he didn’t seem to have done plurals before), and he did the Maths this morning. It was only a few minutes for each so it was fairly manageable, but being willing to sit down and apply himself to get it out of the way is unusual for Jamie and such a great sign.
I do hope this lasts; but, at the very least, I now feel much better about the idea of speaking to head teachers on Monday trying to sell them on the idea of taking my son. We’ve seen how well things can go, with the right environment. With the hope of medication on the (distant) horizon, I’m feeling much more positive about Jamie’s schooling than I’ve done in… goodness, practically since he was in Reception class.