Blogging to you from Boiling Springs, NC, the day of the kick-off to the Charlotte Mason Conference . . .
Monday, we did the fifth RDA appointment (think assessment) with our consultant by phone. In fourth RDA appointment, we identified our objective, "Use pointing, nods, and head shakes to share what Pamela sees." We hope Pamela will discover that she has valuable observations to share with us, like the crunchy magnolia leaf from last week's walk. For her to make that discovery, we built a very tight frame around the activity, nature walks. The frame had to be tight enough to help her feel competent in her role as the initiator of communication between us. I think we started out with a tight enough frame because Pamela knew exactly what to do and showed much confidence on our walks. I also think the objective was not too easy because, whenever we walked home from the park, we would take turns pointing out anything to each other. Without a frame, Pamela did not know what she should share and waited for me to slow down my pace or shut down and then wildly pointed to anything that would make me happy.
Now that Pamela is ready for more challenge we can loosen up the frame of the walk. We started out with choosing very concrete things to spot: trees, cars, birds, flowers, chimneys, etc. Everything we chose were nouns because Pamela's first words were mainly nouns. In this phase of the plan, we will focus on attributes: colors, sounds (loud or quiet), size, silly things, things that fly, etc.
We will increase the level of thinking too. Before, we used to make a list of what we might see before we left the house. Now, we will make the list as we go! If Pamela struggles with the transition to attributes instead of nouns, I can always tight up this part of the frame by making a list before we leave. I think she will be able to handle this variation. Once Pamela masters this phase, we will pick more nebulous attributes like weird, unusual, interesting, etc. In real life, we do not call joint attention to every little thing, but to something unique and different.
Some elements of our walks will not change. She will be the observer, and I will be the recorder of what we observe. We will still spotlight the importance of our work through math lessons the next day.
Then, our consultant asked me if Pamela found anything so interesting that she would enjoy being the initiator of communications. Pamela's interest in sorting and bagging pictures came to mind. This admission may shatter any credibility I have with my scrapbooking friends, but I am one of those people with tons and tons of disorganized photos in shoeboxes. Chin up! I have a feeling Pamela force me into getting a scrapbook makeover as we work on episodic memory. Let me bask in chaos a little longer . . .
We came up with the idea of picture sorts. Pamela will grab a fistful of photos and I will too. Then we will each pull out some that interest us. Pamela, who loves geography, might pick photos from our two years in the Shumagin Islands, while I might pick pictures of Steve. When finished sorting, we can go through Pamela's selections and she can point to what caught her attention. Then I can show her my photos and point out what caught my eye.
The other big tip which our consultant tells all of her families . . .
BLAB LESS! BLOG MORE!
MAKE BLOGS, NOT TALK!
Ahhh . . . the sound of silence . . .