We were so discouraged about my daughter and schoolwork last night. It had not been a good day and we were feeling really defeated.
This morning we had an idea. Maybe my daughter would be more willing to do her schoolwork if she had her own place to do it. Conveniently we have an underused room. (It's supposed to be my wife's office but really it is the place where we put cardboard that doesn't fit in our recycling bin)
We were able to clear out enough space that my daughter could have a place to work, and it helped. Not a ton, but enough - enough to get her to stay in there for a couple hours doing some schoolwork and some reading.
She was having a pretty good day really until we decided to turn off the TV and she freaked out. Mercifully she was able to calm herself down before too too long, after which we got her to spend a little bit of FaceTime with her grandmother doing science lessons about insects.
We also had another conversation with her teacher, who reassured us that things are actually going pretty well (it doesn't feel like it,) and that things like her being able to calm herself down are pretty big steps. The message from her teacher is basically what we already knew - the academic piece is the least important for her right now, she's already at or above grade-level expectations - what's important is social-emotional development and overall mental health.
To that end we found a few kids books on managing stress and anger that I'll give her tomorrow. It's hard to say if she'll find them interesting or if she'll throw them across the room, but it seemed worth a try.
So we still had the meltdown, but it lasted a little less long than usual, and we made it through the day with an acceptable amount of schoolwork getting done. I'll call that a win. She got to pick what we had for dinner, and she got a pack of cool Japanese erasers as a prize.
(Sadly just now I told her to take a shower and she freaked out again, so...)