In the Mood for Maintenance

April 8-9, 2015

I have to admit that I didn’t teach Robert anything new in the last three months. Those were rather difficult months.  Each of us got sick with either bad cold or flu or both.  Five weeks in a row, we got snowed in so bad that there was not even possibility to go skiing.  Then in March, Robert and Jan went skiing to Killington Mountain in Vermont three times to use six tickets that were given them by Robert’s grandmother.  It is a long way to Killington and requires staying in the hotel. Moreover, ice dams formed on the gutters of our house and caused  leaks that required extensive repairs.  They are not finished yet. A lot of  unpredictable obstacles demanding that we change plans and adjust to the presence of different crews of contractors. Well, I was exhausted and unable to seriously plan Robert’s lessons.  So I was in a mood for only  reviewing and reteaching, believing that maintenance of skills doesn’t require much effort on part of a teacher or a student.  It should be almost mechanical and easy.

During the last three months we did mostly very light/easy work and we both settled for maintenance of what Robert already knows or ALMOST knows:

Adding and  subtracting different amounts of money presented in decimal forms. Multiplying and dividing costs of items by whole numbers.  Operation on fractions with an emphasis on leaving the result in the simplest form.  Changing units of length, weight, and capacity.  Gallons, quarts, pints, cups and ounces still need a lot of hands on practice.  Robert and I need to cook more to get a better grasp on those amounts. Somehow, the abstract form of changing units (by dividing or multiplying) doesn’t result in understanding of what those units represent in the real life.

We continue with reviewing/ relearning third grade vocabulary words.  As always we do a lot of language exercises but with an emphasis on practicing what is easy.  If Robert has difficulties saying a sentence, I don’t ask him to correct himself  but I cut the sentence  short by disposing of unnecessary words or changing the  sentence to two or three phrases that are easier for Robert to repeat.  I use the ideas from Articulation Curriculum Super Pack as a starting point to give me general direction but then I adjust problems to Robert’s abilities and all his interests/experiences.

The sentence, “Fred eats fresh fruit on Friday.” I replace with, ” I eat fresh apple every day. I ate apple last Friday.  I like fresh fruit. Mother likes fruit. She like fresh fruit. ”

Yesterday, we completed all exercises from Speech Improvement Reproducible Masters.  I asked Robert to repeat after me all three words containing a specific sound (at the beginning, middle or end.)  Given Robert’s problems with short memory, I am pleased that he can do that now. To my  Robert really liked those tasks that required repeating the same sentence structure with only one word changing. The sentences were relatively easy and were accompanied by funny drawings.

I began using  a new workbook Comprehending Descriptive Language. Although the book is new, the skills are not. I am supposed to read two adjectives and Robert should follow with circling the picture of the proper object.  Except, I make it more challenging for him.  I ask Robert to repeat after me those two adjectives and follow with an appropriate noun.  Saying three words in a row (two adjectives and one noun) demands Robert’s attention, memorization, and flexibility needed for switching from remembering two words to chosing the third one.

We almost finished the Evan -Moor Reading and Understand Grade 3.  Yesterday, we read the story of Daedalus and Icarus. I was not eager to read it.  I was apprehensive of Robert finding that Icarus fell to the ground and died.  Robert, however, was attracted to the story by  a drawing of two people flying.  So we read it.   However,  we didn’t talk about the story.  It was almost 8 PM and Robert was tired. He wanted to finish answering the questions, take a bath and go to bed. So I didn’t tell Robert how I FELT about the story and I didn’t ask Robert about his feelings. Mistake!

I have to rethink the goals and methods.  Working only on  maintenance of previously acquired skills is never successful without teaching new things that would connect all concepts with new ones.






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1 Comment

  1. S

     /  April 11, 2015


    I just found the blog and am really enjoying it. It’s a wealth of information for a dad like me with a newly diagnosed little guy.

    I was wondering if you would consider installing a plugin that allows readers to read in chronological order?

    The blog reads great that way, but it’s a lot of work to go to the beginning of each month, through multiple pages, and then to the bottom of each page.

    Keep writing, you’re helping me out and I really appreciate it.


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