After returning to school, Little Ham was able to re-assimilate and is back to his friends and social circle, and doing well in school.
Meanwhile, Hamslice entered highschool as Grade 9 after 1.5 (ish) years out for the pandemic... initially he did OK but then we noticed that his sense of self was eroding. His depression flared up and he was nearly unresponsive. He walked around slouched over, he was unable to look people in the eye, and his face was a mask without emotion.
In January, after agonizing over how to help him, and realizing that the HS was unable to provide support because they were dealing with the vestiges of the pandemic (teacher absences, COVID protocols, so many students out sick or quarantined) that he was left to fend for himself in classes with little to no content and a student body that was un-socialized and savage to someone who is not neurotypical.
Hamslice described students following him throughout the school day purposefully bumping into him over and over, and teasing him.
We were at a critical junction, and realized this may be a life or death situation. At this point we decided to try homeschooling.
We withdrew Hamslice in January 2022 and he is now with Mom in the loft above the garage working through Khan Academy with additional tutoring support through Outschool.com
Hamslice's immediate response to homeschool was to sit next to Mom and watch cartoons overlaid on top of his lessons. He put in headphones and was lost to the Internet entertainment machine for about a month.
Mom noticed that his demeanor was not improving, which was both concerning and aggravating, because she was well aware that he was watching cartoons all day. At a breaking point, she tore the ear phones out of his ears and there was a lot of shouting and threatening to return him to school if he didn't stop watching entertainment videos. There was punishment, and he was put under extreme supervision to ensure that he did not watch non-educational videos.
His reaction was surprising -- he was grateful. He described the online entertainment content as "like cocaine" and he didn't want to be so addicted but didn't know how to stop. He said "I needed help"
Fast forward a month, and he is back to watching cartoons over his educational videos, but now they are tiny in the corner of the screen. Mom hit another breaking point yesterday and chased him around the workspace, swatting him in the head. Today his screen is mirrored onto a large screen TV so Mom can see everything he sees. all day. No surprises.
Reaction: More gratitude.