Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sam Working Independently....One Step At A Time!

Yes, summer has finally reached Wisconsin however Sam's home program and schooling continue year round. While everyone else is celebrating the end of school, Sam and I celebrate moving some of our schooling outside. A change in environment can do wonders!! Sidewalk chalk can make math, a treasure hunt, and reading enjoyable again. Since Sam is with me 24/7 I often dream of Sam working independently on his school work. I dream of doing some housework on my own...quickly and without the constant repetition of each step we are working on. I think it's good to have dreams but with a child who is prone to stimming behavior and struggles with auditory processing...independent study will be a process in the making.

We have found some things Sam can do independently like build 100+ piece puzzles, build really cool structures with his trio block sets, play games on the Ipad, browse Ben's 4 wheeler and Bronco Builder magazines, play with play-doh, and before hip surgery play basketball and ride his bike. (STAY TUNED FOR WHAT I HOPE WILL BE AN EXCITING UPDATE ON SAM'S RETURN TO BIKING).

However, academically Sam usually requires one on one assistance. I think part of it is because he isn't as excited about his academics and he likes doing the easy not doing it. Even Ipad educational apps require one on one or he tends to just tap away until he gets the right answer...not really investing the time to think about it....unless of course Mom is sitting next to him requiring the thinking process to occur and you can imagine how popular that is.

Soooo I have to work with Sam's strengths to have any success. One of the best investments I have ever made for my homeschooling efforts is a triangular easel magnetic white board. I originally purchased it from one of my favorite stores The Learning Shop but I see it is manufactured by Copernicus Ed. It can be used on the table, floor, outside and in bed. Sam loves magnets and the white board is viewed by Sam more positively than paper or worksheets. I get my various magnets from The Learning Shop, I make some myself and I buy some from Ebay. To work on Sam's reading and comprehension I write sentences that he reads and then chooses the proper magnet indicated. This reading does not meet the resistance reading from a book does. Here is Sam working with me on this exercise.

Soooo...I decided to do a test run and see if he could do this activity independently. I am not a blogger or a parent that only shows the best of the best. I think we all learn from the process and I think it is important to show all aspects. I mean we all have to start somewhere. So here is Sam's first attempt on his own.

Not bad for a first attempt. You can see how things fall apart but I think we can expand on this.

Now another area that I had originally had Sam working on his own was writing with the videos. However in closer review I realized that Sam loves the videos but doesn't necessarily follow the instructions, she talks faster than Sam can process and write so I have begun to supervise the writing portions of the video. Here is what it looks like when he successfully listens to my auditory instructions. I do wish however that I could tell you he retains my instructions and can continue to write the letters on his own...but I haven't seen that yet.

Another area we have been working on is reinstating chores. Hmmmm....this was a challenge with the limited mobility due to hip surgery but here are some examples of what we came up with. Sam still loves to fold clothes with the Flip n Fold and he is still the best sock matcher in the greater Milwaukee area.

Sam also is the best of all 3 of my children in sorting and putting silverware away....

....while sitting of course!

I have also found him to be a wonderful glass putter away (yep that's a technical term)....while sitting of course!

My next idea was having him help me prepare the flower box on our deck. Either he's really intense about this or possibly he has found another way to stim. Shovel dirt, watch it drop, and repeat endlessly...or rake dirt one way and then back the other way and also repeat endlessly. Yep if it doesn't seem right it probably isn't and this chore a once a year chore. So I guess that stim won't be repeated for a while. Sorry Sam!

Another fun independent chore...playing ball with Buddy.

And they both look happy after this one!

Each day I'm encouraged by the steps Sam takes toward independence. Some days we seem to be moving ahead with gusto and then some days we just make it through and other days we take a few steps backward. But our progress is slow and steady and he and I work together through the good times and the bad. I never need to look very far for encouragement because if I stop to think for a just a moment about what Sam works through each and every day...the hip pain, the hearing issues, the processing issues, the fine and gross motor issues, the speech struggles and yet he continues on, he smiles, he laughs...he keeps on. What do I have to complain about??


  1. So hard, but I love good glass putter awayers! And it looks like that dirt may keep him busy for a while! Might be a good babysitter for a break!LOL

  2. You are such an inspirational person and parent to us all. We could all take a lesson from you!! I know it can be hard at times and you need a break! We share a lot of the same stresses so I can really relate to what you go through daily.