Not so Lazy (After All) Week at Home

February 4-5, 2015

It is harder and harder for me to continue with this blog. It might be that since Robert goes to his Day Program every day and is 8 hours out of the house, I do have less opportunity to observe him and teach him.  It might be that the fact that he comes home happy every day, makes me feel less needed and thus less invested in teaching him and explaining his ways of perceiving the world. It might be that the recent times have been relatively hectic and thus I had less time to record our learning/teaching time together. It might be that I have forgotten the reasons I started this blog and became disconnected. Not exactly that.  Recently, our hours of studying together became haphazard.  It is not much continuity there.  But then, Robert’s learning was never a simple process of accumulating knowledge and skills. Mostly because, I didn’t know how to teach him. There were times when good advice from teachers and therapists could put me on track for period of time. Sadly, never for long. There were great curricula, that engaged both of us for a period of time, showing directions and offering some tools. But they were more like short segments or vectors than  a never ending geometric ray.  As soon as we hit a bump, we jumped from one approach to another.  Then, we tried again a year or two later.  So lately, we have not done anything radically different from what we had done before.

Robert stayed the whole week at home. There were snow days and sick days and again snow days.    Robert mostly slept and watched movies on his IPAD.  When he felt a little better he kept learning with me.  Surprisingly, he didn’t seem to mind one little bit.  Maybe because he considered his tasks to be easy and more reason to glow with pride than to struggle with understanding.

1. We returned to the old curricula: No Glamour Sentence Structure NO Glamour Question Structure. We completed them 4-5 years ago.  But this time it went much more smoothly. For each section Robert grasped a pattern of words from just one example and easily generated proper sentences.

2. We returned to Daily Geography Grade 4. Only a few stumbles there and they all were related to the sections I had omitted during the first approach.

3. We worked on reviewing operations on whole numbers, fractions, and decimals. I didn’t use the old Momentum Math program but instead I presented to Robert loose pages from the old edition of 6th grade Everyday Mathematics and a few other workbooks. Since Robert could very well subtract a mixed number from the whole number I went one step farther. I asked Robert to do all the operation in his mind without writing them on paper.  For instance: 6- 3 1/4= 5 4/4-3 1/4=2 3/4 (The numbers in bold are the whole numbers, the rest are fractions). I asked Robert not to write the middle part but keep it in his head or/and say it aloud. That went pretty well.

4.We went back to copying the same drawings, we did a couple of years ago.  Robert still struggled with oval shapes (too flat or too round) especially when the arches ended with a sharp corner. This time however, Robert after making two or three copies tried to draw the object from his memory.  He remembered most of the parts but those ovals didn’t come well.

5. We jumped to a higher level science workbooks and textbooks.  We both stumbled there.  I didn’t know how to introduce the concepts so we both struggled.  In the end, I just concentrate on the meaning of new words and not on the whole processes.

6. Cursive writing with an emphasis on a capital letters we neglected years ago.  I am still baffled by the fact, that Robert can copy even such letters like capital G but cannot copy a simple contour of a body of a fish (without fins or a tail).

7. We did a few History Pockets in the past. The last one, Ancient Civilizations,  Robert completed just before he joined his Day Program.  Since at that time, Robert was still at home, we had lots of time and could finish each of the six packet in one day. This week,  I hesitated with starting Colonial America.  It had difficult vocabulary and addressed events that Robert probably couldn’t grasp. So we worked slowly in three afternoons. Moreover, we didn’t follow instruction exactly and instead of a pocket we made a folder. I was very surprised when Robert decided to take the completed folder to his Day Program.  I was surprised because in the past, Robert has never wanted to take History Pockets to school.  I soon learned that it was his Case Manager/Instructor in the Day Program who read Robert’s note in which he mentioned that he was learning about 13 Colonies and who asked him about that. Robert, who hardly can explain anything with his own words felt obliged to bring the whole folder and show it to the Instructor. Moreover, not a week later, Robert rushed with next pocket about first settlements completing it in two days and again taking it again to his Day Program. He wanted to show off.

Showing Off!  Robert!!

It has never happened before.


For the first time in his life, Robert was not only proud of his work but also  wanted to share his accomplishment with those who appreciated it.



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1 Comment

  1. Claudia Rosenfield

     /  February 23, 2015

    Maria, I am so glad to hear that Robert is enjoying his Day Program. I think of him often and am happy to hear that all is going well.


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