Sunday, October 11, 2015

Week 5: Struggles & Successes

After several successful weeks, I have to admit that this one was a difficult one. DJ could not seem to focus on anything, especially not school. The little bit of school that we did accomplish was mostly suggested by me, encouraged by me, dare I say, coerced by me? Ahem, not exactly "follow the child". Maybe I'll do better next week. But here's some highlights (and low points) of what we did do this week.

DJ and I reviewed the first box of the constructive triangles again. DJ likes it a lot because he's been seeing triangles in all sorts of shapes since we started this work.

After reviewing the first box, I presented the second box to DJ. Unlike the first one, where the pieces are color-coded to match and each have a black line showing where to line them up... these triangles are all blue with no black lines.

For each set, you start by making the same familiar shape as in the first box (in this picture, the rhombus) and then slowly slide one piece around the other. When the piece gets to the first tip (as in the picture) you point out that is not a regular shape. Then you slide the piece along the 2nd edge until a rhombus is revealed. Continue sliding to the 2nd point and there is another irregular shape, slide on along the 3rd edge to reveal a rhombus again. Finally slide past the last point and return to the original position.

I admit I had to watch YouTube videos to understand what the heck this was about. But once I saw it, I was amazed at the simplicity of it. Repeat this same task with the square and rectangle and you get trapezoids on the 2nd & 3rd edge before returning to the square or rectangle.

Unfortunately, when DJ tried to do the sliding, the pieces didn't stay cleanly together like when I had done it so he threw everything back in the box and declared he was done. *sigh*

After some cajoling, I convinced him to choose something else and he decided to do the decanomial square. I was impressed that be actually did the first three colors himself. Then he decided to place the pink tower cubes along the diagonal. When he finished that, he had me help him with the blue & purple sections at which point he then instructed me to finish the square for him. Argh! We decided instead to just put it away.

After trying to play trucks & lumber yard with the Brown Stair again, which I wouldn't allow, I suggested that I could teach him to count to 30. He was eager to do this because he really wants to count to 100. But once the lesson actually started, he was frustrated and distracted through much of it. But with perseverance we did make it from 20 to 29. Then I suggested we start at 1 and count all the way to 30. Only to discover he had apparently completely forgotten the words eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen... Ugh! He counts ALL the time during his free play when he thinks I'm not listening.

We decided to take a break for lunch. I tried later in the afternoon to regroup. I remembered my role and encouraged DJ to choose anything he wanted to do. Surprisingly, he chose the life cycle cards and miniatures. He was really engaged with this and matched ALL of the miniature sets to their respective life cycle cards. He even remembered the word pupae!!

The last picture here is the Human Life Cycle card that I made for him using pictures of my ultrasound while pregnant, DJ's infant picture, DJ as a 3yo child, his dad as a teenager, and my husband and I as adults. He's ways felt this was a special card, but it has taken on new meaning as he has learned about umbilical cords and has been continuously asking me to tell his origin story from the first cell, through pregnancy to birth. This is probably because his birthday is coming soon and this is the first year that he really has a concept that birthdays celebrate the day of birth so he's wanting to understand what that means.

The next day, I presented the next lesson of the bells. DJ has gotten really good at matching the brown bells to their white counterparts. This time I put all of the brown bells on the table and had him choose them two at a time, play them and decide which one was the lowest. Through the process of elimination, he (almost) successfully graded them from low C to high C. He did great with the lower tones but as he got to higher pitches he began getting confused. Or maybe he was just getting tired. But the only one he had out of order was #7 - B which he placed between F & G. So when he finished grading, I had him play up the brown bells and down the white bells. He immediately noticed something was off but didn't know how to fix it. So I walked him through moving B up the scale and he finished with a cheer. Whew!

Next he wanted to work with the South America map. I've told him he'll "unlock" the other 4 continent map when he's worked sufficiently with this one. That gives him a huge incentive to want to work with this a lot. Why is he always more excited to do the work he's not ready for than the work that's right in front of him?

Anyway, after building the map outside the frame again while I named the countries for him, he surprised me by wanting to trace the shape of the continent. He went around and around counting each time. I haven't suggested he trace continents since way back when we were using the sandpaper globe and back then he has little to know interest in doing that. But there's no stopping him when it's his idea!

Next, he wanted to hear the story I've been telling him lately of his paternal lineage. It all started when he said Tae Kwon Do is a hard word to say so I began explaining that it is Korean and the people from Korea speak it. That led to me saying that we speak English which comes from England, so of course he asked me if we come from England. I told him the story of his 4th Great-grandfather, Edward, who came to America from Ireland and all of his descendants down to DJ, all but one having the same name as DJ. I didn't expect when I told the story that he'd immediately demand I tell the story again. And again. And again. I told it at least 6 times in a row. And then again the next day and the next. DJ's little absorbent mind is trying to memorize the story word for word and I find it adorable.

Despite some of the earlier frustrations, we did end with a huge success. DJ was not only interested in learning to fold laundry, he single handedly folded all of his own underwear! Whoo-hoo! How long before I don't have to be involved in his laundry anymore? Because I'm counting down the days.

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