Wednesday, September 07, 2022


I've been reading a lot about how to manage ADHD because, well, we still haven't gotten Benjamin diagnosed but we're experimenting with methods on managing ADHD symptoms, anyway. Just like I've never been diagnosed as a migraine sufferer, but when I've gotten migraines I, uh, treat them like migraines, so I limit exposure to light, have some caffeine, et cetera, etc. etc. 

So, I was reading about video game therapy for ADHD. Studies (such as this one) seem positive yet...inconclusive. But, I did read some anecdotal reports from adults with ADHD, who treat themselves to a dopamine-generating activity prior to switching to a task that requires concentration. The dopamine rush they receive from, for example, playing video games transfers to the next task. 

That's a pretty harmless thing to try, so we figured we could try it. 

It helps that his math is a video game platform this year. We splurged for the online version of his math program, thinking it would save me from slogging through math with Benjamin quite as much. But it took him a month to get through the first unit. And at that rate...ugh. 

So, yesterday, we sat him down to play Minecraft first thing in the morning, which he, of course, thought was amazing. When his timer went off, he immediately switched out of Minecraft and onto Beast Academy. And then he spent two super-focused hours doing math. He finished about half a unit, earning very good marks. And I just was floored, honestly.

We did the same today and he once again did excellent work. I told him that we will keep "trying" this for as long as it's working. But the minute it stops working, we can try something else. 

In a similar vein, I'm sitting here writing a blog post rather than doing the writing that I need to be doing, hoping that it will open the floodgates for what I should be doing. Who knows if it will work for me as well as it did for Benjamin? I suppose he has the added benefit of a parent reminding him that his timer went off and he needs to get to work doing other things, while I...will simply continue writing here until I feel I'm finished...which might be a less effective method.

I should also note that when Benjamin took the unit test, he scored two stars. But the next level didn't unlock for him, so we figured he simply hadn't passed. Because I had selected the "sequential" learning method, which meant that as he completed one section satisfactorily, the next section would be available for him. So he took the test again...and didn't answer half the questions...and scored, like, one star or something. So we studied and he took it again. Two stars. Studied some more. Two stars. Studied some more...

Finally, Benjamin came running up to me yelling, "I got three stars! I got three stars!"

"Awesome!" I said...because that's got to be good, right? "Did it unlock the next level for you?"


"What? How?! Why?!"

I had scoured the FAQs and instructions pages to find out what a passing score was and when/how in the world it would let him move on. I knew he knew that material forwards, backwards and inside out. Why wouldn't it just let him pass already?!

We put it aside for the day. And then later on that same day (September 2) I got an email, informing me that Benjamin had taken the test for Unit 1 (no duh) and that he had received two stars (the first time he took it, on August 31). It then goes on to tell me:
Earning 1 star indicates proficiency in the chapter and readiness to tackle the next one.
Earning 2 stars shows a more advanced understanding of the chapter's material.
Earning 3 stars is a sign of mastering even the most difficult concepts in the chapter.

Oh, and, uh, by the way, parents have to hop on the system to manually unlock the next unit for their child...which explains a whole lot. 

Honestly, that email would have been way more helpful on August 31 than on September 2 (after he'd taken the darn test 5 times; poor kid)! 

He'd done just fine the first time (and just fine is fine by me), but by the end he did amazing! And he's super happy to be moving forward (finally).

1 comment:

  1. Yay, glad that is working out for Benjamin! And I'm glad you took time to blog because I seriously thought about sending you a message the other day saying that I needed some new posts to read. :)