Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lemon Aid

Today was our first parent teacher conference since the Rooster started kindergarten, and I'm determined to make some lemonade.

Lemons: The Roo is not making any measurable progress in math. We understand that he struggles visually (poor kid likely had double vision until he was 3 and had eye surgery) and spatially, and that math uses the same part of your brain that relies on those visual/spatial skills. We also know that the lemon doesn't far fall from the tree, because Roo's parents are writers for many reasons, including math avoidance. On the other hand, we also know that, for all his pragmatic and conversational challenges and his mitigated echolalia, our boy does have a lot of verbal skills. He has a gargantuan vocabulary, was born with a book in his hands, and his ADHD virtually vanishes for as long as you sit down and read to him. Therefore...

Lemonade Recipe: We are going to squeeze math into every activity we can for the foreseeable future. But we're going to do it with a spoon full of sugar. Nope, we are not signing up for Kumon or tutors, we aren't buying flash cards or drill and kill software. I'm going to approach it from the Rooster's strengths and interests. Today I picked 10 library books about numbers. To Roo, who already spied them and insisted I start reading, they are books about bus rides and chicken pox, but they also have counting, evens and odds, and problem solving in their story lines. On the car ride home today when the kids wanted me to sing Jingle Bells again, I got them interested in the inchworm song instead. (Two and two are four, four and four are eight...) Our beloved ABA helper, JT, is in on it, so when he used Roo's token economy system tonight, he said things like, "It you already have two tokens, but you need 3 to get TV time, how many more tokens do you need?" I have buckets of ideas about creating math based audio stories, and some web 2.0 tools that might help me craft my own games and stories...

Like most mamas presented with a challenge facing their offspring, I'm ready to leap into action, perhaps starting off with more ideas than useful, perhaps a little more gung-ho than necessary.

But here are some of the sweetest things about the lemons on our plates right now:
1. My boy's teacher sees his biggest problem as MATH. Huh. I'm too terrified of the deities these days to tell you what I expected her to say about his many issues, but I will say this: I will gladly take MATH being his biggest challenge, if you catch my drift.
2. Literally within two minutes of wondering what math tools might best serve my son, I happened to glance at Google Reader to see that This Mom had written about the curriculum that works for her son. Stuff like that? Wow how it makes me want to drink a toast to the This Mom, the Internet, the blogosphere, and my special needs community. It didn't matter so much whether or not that math curriculum would be the right one for us, it mattered that I had a cyber friend to turn to, and a seed of an idea where to begin my search.
3. You know what? Who needs a third. Those two are sweet enough. I have some other numbers I need to go work on right now, to make lemonade for the Rooster.


Suzymom said...

it's a bit early maybe, but when my daughter had a hard time learning how to read the clock, I only let het watch TV after she had looked up in the TV-guide what would be on at that time (so she had to look at the clock and compare that to the time-indications in the Guide). As she really wanted to watch TV, she got at least some practice every single day.

Anonymous said...

Look into TouchMath (google it) it's literally changed my son's life. I've also written about it quite a bit on the blog.

pixiemama said...

Math? Seriously? Sa-weet!

Math we can handle. Math we can do.


jess said...

oh honey, i love this. love it!

we use a lot of manipulatives for math - physically handling something is much easier for our girl than abstract language. (works for her mama too :))

Anonymous said...

love it! make that lemonade, sista!! the site living math has TONS of great ideas for bringing, or rather, NOTICING the math in everything!