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Friday, January 8, 2010

Learning the beat of his drum is not like mine

Today was casual Friday at school. I wore my footie PJ's and he wore his PJ's. BONUS...the teachers lounge offered GREAT coffee...and the student was…well…not happy about his math work or writing assignment but we both survived. Other than math and writing today was a good day. He was attentive, cooperative, and getting it! I’m really starting to see what struggles and difficulties JD has not yet learned to work around or overcome. This will be a terribly difficult process since I’m a sequential learner and he is a visual spatial learner. It just reaffirms that public school was “leaving him way behind” and home school will be the best decision our family has ever made.

Today’s devotional was about Elvis and all the lifetime awards he earned. Then, it moved to three people from the bible who did an outstanding thing and didn’t earn an award. But thank God we have the bible to teach us about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They stood firm to the belief that their God could save them but even if he didn’t they would never worship another god. Then into the fire they went. Do you ever feel like you’re being thrown into the fire? Well I do. But no matter what that extra person is walking around it with me, and I will always come out unscathed.

Our 40 days of Purpose Driven life reading was about knowing our purpose on earth to give us meaning in our lives, to simplify our lives, to focus our lives, to motivates our lives, and prepares us for eternity. We were all made for a purpose. We might struggle with what to do with our gifts and talents but we do know our main purpose is to love God our creator.

My favorite part about today’s reading is at the end of the chapter when Rick Warren tells us we will all face judgment one day. This part intimidates me a bit but it is also what drives me. What will be my response when asked, “What did you do with the gifts, talents, opportunities, energy (What?! Where?), relationships, and resources I gave you?” I can only hope I am using all of these resources correctly.

Math has always been my WORST subject. I had to attend summer school and special classes in the third grade just to pass math. JD passed me up in math when he reached the third grade. Today’s lesson was not difficult for me, but you would have thought I grounded JD from ever touching Tater again, the way he behaved during our lesson. We (he) had to add and subtract long numbers today. Ex: 1,234,567,891 + 987,654,321. JD refused to write anything down to figure it out. He tried unsuccessful to retain the numbers in his head again and answered them incorrectly. He got so frustrated and started sighing very loudly and ignoring me when I said, "That method may not be working for you YET." I tried to calm both of us down by saying, “Breath, it’s ok.” He absolutely hates being wrong. But I wanted him to see his method was not effective. I told him, "We're a team, you and I. It's going to be us together through all of this. You've shown me you're way. Can you TRY to learn my way too?" I finally pulled out the graph paper and had him write each number in it‘s own “prison cell“ for neatness. Then when everything was lined up horizontally he could clearly solve the problem. This also enabled him to have room for those pesky carry over numbers. When asked how he liked math today he responded, “Hated it.” Apparently, it was too much writing.

Computer keyboarding was a short lesson today because the math quiz too long. (He scored 100% by the way.) There are many web based typing lesson games out there but JD showed me a website back in November. It’s called “Dance Mat.” It has the student type what is shown on the screen and they can also see the keyboard on the screen. The main rule the characters teach is for the student not to look at their fingers. Today he practiced only the home row of the computer keyboard. The lesson went well and he liked it. I took three typing classes in Junior High and I still look at my fingers. Ugh! I tried it after he did and wow do I feel stupid. When you miss a letter the computer button you were suppose to touch talks to you. The “L” key kept saying, “Click me.“ I started talking back by saying, “I know I’m trying to find you without looking at my fingers!“ Jonathan calmly said, “Don’t you like how she says it so quietly? That way it doesn’t embarrass you.” (Oh he’s so compassionate and full of delicate feelings. It makes me wonder how many times he’s been embarrassed in public school. The mama bear in me just wants to bust out of the den and…well…we won’t have any of that. After all I’m a Christian.) JD is very confident in computer keyboarding. (Whew! One more subject he likes.) It looks like a great contender to follow the dreaded math lesson.

After we finished keyboarding I dictated three letters of “thanks” for him to copy in manuscript. There is minimal writing in my curriculum but he will need to retain this skill for…um…life! So I figured, let me put purpose to this lesson. Jeff walked by during this time and JD said, “Hey there’s the lunch lady. What’s for lunch?” Funny story goes with this statement. Jeff asked JD, “What’s my position in this school?” JD replied, “You’re the lunch lady, and um, the JANITOR!”

We were suppose to edit and rewrite a journal writing today but since the only journal writing we did was absolutely beautiful I opted for him to write three letters of “Thanks.“ So I dictated and he rewrote. This was a painstaking task because he HATES to write. But the bait to accomplish this task was finishing it up quickly so we could go to the Pope AFB gym to play racquetball. He was not attentive to this task at home but he was able to write one letter in the car on the way to my VA appointment and he wrote the other two. While we were in the VA office. I have observed that when a task seems too labor intense that JD will shut down. He slams on the brakes and that’s it. Now if I could just install anti-lock brakes in him there would be a lot less drama. JD will make some excuse, IE bathroom break or water break, to avoid writing. He also tends to hurt himself in some form or fashion to delay the assignment. So many hurdles to help him through. Ugh.

We did a really quick health lesson today on strengths and weaknesses. He was not particularly cooperative with the reading portion of the three slide presentation. (It was really more like three paragraphs total.) We worked through the frustration level again and concluded the lesson with listing five strengths and five weaknesses. This lesson builds on establishing goals to overcome those weaknesses and building on those strengths.

We opted not to do the spelling test since we did not devote study time to learn them. What with Jeff in the hospital and all.

Our last activity of the day was a friendly game of racquetball. We don’t know or care about the rules of the game. We just smack that ball all over the place and avoid getting hit. He loves it when I become part of the wall to avoid getting hit. We have played three other times before this one. Today I said, “Take all the day’s frustration out on the ball. AND he did! Before too long I usually end up being the voice of the ball talking to JD, saying things like, “You can’t catch me” or “Oh yeah, I will come get you.” Of course I always add accents. This was a great activity and we shared many laughs together. (Now, if only I could figure out how to incorporate math or writing into a game of racquetball.)


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  2. Thank you so much for taking the time to blog...I love this!