Still Learning Together

I have neglected writing on these pages.  But I have not neglected learning and teaching Robert.

1. Everyday, Robert is copying pictures of people from a little book   I Can Draw People.  The pictures are very simple.  They are mainly basic shapes connected together  with some extensions and additions.  For last three days, Robert copied twice the picture of a soccer player, added a gallery of spectators, and started coloring. Maybe, he will finish today.  In the past, we spent a lot of time on copying different pictures.  Usually, after Robert was done, he took he drawing to a recycle bin.  That of course is not a good outcome as it demonstrates how Robert treats his artwork.  But then, since  he just concentrated on drawing only one object, there was not much to the picture itself.  It is different this time around.  I hope that today Robert will hang his picture on the refrigerator.

2. Three days ago, we started reading My first Book of Nature, How Living Things Grow by Dweight Kuhn. Every day we spend 5 minutes looking at pictures and reading short paragraphs related to them. There are not many new facts for Robert to learn from this book.  But the great pictures might fill the gap in his understanding of some of the words.  Moreover, bringing together pages about different living things might result in Robert better appreciating of the richness of the nature that surrounds us all.

3.  Every few days, Robert reads two very short texts (one paragraph each) from Power Practice Science grades 3-4. After reading, he answer simple questions either related to the text or requiring additional knowledge.  The workbook is rather dry.  I am using it instead of a curriculum.  I simply don’t know what to teach and this workbook shows me the topics and general direction.  I use, however, many books I bought over the years, as a main tool in teaching.  For instance, before Robert read a short paragraph Structure of the Earth, he and I looked at two colorful pictures (one from a pop-out book The Earth Pack  by Ron van der Meer , and one  from a flap book Amazing Earth by Heather Maisner)

4. We continue with Reasoning and Writing level C . On some days, I ask Robert to just talk and on some days to write, what he said.  At this time we are concentrating on Robert noticing small differences in what people do, where they are, or what they wear.  With the help of those pictures, Robert builds sentences that would first address the difference, and then they would state the main things the characters do. For instance: Robert has to notice that the character X in the first picture (A) has a parrot on his shoulder, and in picture B does not.  That should lead to a sentence, “X has a parrot on his shoulder.”  Then, Robert notices that in both pictures the character A is opening a treasure chest, the fact that Robert  should describe in the next  sentence.  And so on.  It has been a struggle to build sentences that address the differences.

5. And of course, we still work on Saxon Math, level 4, repeating it yet again.  All computations come easy, everything else needs prompts. For different problems, different prompts.  For finding an average of a few numbers in a math problem, it suffices that I emphasize the word, “average”.  For balancing a checkbook knowing interests and service fee, I would have to write on a separate page that interests we add, the service fee we subtract.  Of course, Robert doesn’t know that, as I still failed to practice that skill in his real checkbook.   For Robert to find the estimate of 5 times 78, I would have to start with drawing a horizontal line.  Robert, then, places 70 and 80 on both ends of that line and 75 in its center.  He decides that 80 is a better approximation of 78 and  without difficulties chooses the right answer, 400.  But without me drawing this horizontal line, Robert wouldn’t know what to do.  When he has to find the value of a mixed number A presented on the number line with each unit divided into small parts, I would began counting those parts from 0 to 1.  Robert continues to  find into how many parts the unit was divided and what is the denominator. After that,he doesn’t have problems finding that for instance A = 3 and 2/5. I still don’t know how to make Robert rely on his memory and his own deductions and not on my prompting.

Hopefully, I will learn, and so might he.

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