Monday, August 23, 2010

To Post or Not to Post . . . the POW

I have been debating whether or not to share the POW, or plan of the week. My military friends already know that acronym. To my civilian friends, I resigned my commission in 1995 to homeschool the kids. You can take the girl out of the Navy, but you can't take the Navy out of the girl.

I left you hanging on how our first week of school went. FANTASTIC! Many sweet moments that I will treasure in my heart. Many "aha" moments when something clicked for Pamela or a new idea sprouted. Many hours of slogging through books and things and papers and pencils and markers. We even managed to soak up some fresh air.

I was a bit nervous because last week's POW looked way too ambitious. In fact, I am reluctant to post it because some families with autistic children might feel inadequate. Others with brilliant aspies heading to MIT in a few years may snort at our slow pace. Please do not feel guilty because each child is a person with her own mix of scattered skills, his own strengths and weaknesses, her own enthusiasms and meltdown triggers, his own ability to self-regulate. Each family has their own circumstances that makes what I am posting impossible or a total joke. A couple of people want to see the POW, which is the reason for this post.

Pamela learned to be a good apprentice many years ago. She enjoys a Charlotte Mason approach because of the short lessons. Last week, her most common exclamation was, "It's short!" Most of her lessons are ten minutes long (book readings), except for mathematics (forty-five minutes) and science (thirty minutes). Some--like poetry, singing folks songs (Spanish and American) and hymns, listening to Spanish stories, or copywork--only last five minutes. In less than five hours, we surf through a wide and varied curriculum. Because she transitions well and highlighting accomplished lessons spurs her on, she presses onward and upward. I shared our first day and narrations last week. We ended up accomplishing everything but a rained-out walk and one pear experiment that is still in progress. I call that a win for us!

Pamela is twenty-one years old and is able to live up to the ambitious schedule I honed for her over the summer. It has taken us MANY years to get to this level of learning!

. . . When she was six years old, the sight of a pencil launched a nuclear meltdown.

. . . When she was ten years old, ninety minutes in the morning and ninety minutes in the afternoon zonked us.

. . . When she was twelve years old, listening to her read aloud was more painful than sitting in a dentist chair.

. . . When she was fifteen years old, she could not put five words into a sentence with correct grammar if her life depended on it.


Di said...

OH WOW - you are AWESOME.
Way to go Tammy and Pamela - truely motivating :-)

Stephanie said...

This is really a tribute to your persistence ... yours AND Pamela's.

The Glasers said...

Di, truly, I stand on the shoulders of giants in the autism world and the homeschooling world and have a team of friends whose collaboration have helped me get a better grasp of things.

Stephanie, Pamela is such a patient, persistent girl. She may never go as far as others, but she has put all she can into her education. There are some straight A students who never accomplish that.

MasterpieceMom said...

I like the setup of the planner with it broken down into minutes. Very nice!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post, and especially the parts about what she could do at earlier ages. My son is 5 and I am trying to get him to follow my lead, but so far no luck. So it made me feel better to read about how different it was in the beginning. Do you have any tips on how to get them to want to be an apprentice? Or, in your opinion, is my son too young to start? Thanks so much for all this wonderful information : ) Kim

The Glasers said...

Kim, typical children start learning to become apprentices as soon as they are born. In Relationship Development Intervention, you learn how to teach your autistic children to do that. How? You teach them to understand and use nonverbal communication. You slow down and give them time to think. You avoid commands as much as possible to let them think of what to do next.

In fact, since he is so young, you might want to consider making RDI the primary program for a year because teaching him will become so much easier once he is an apprentice. Because we don't focus on force-feeding facts and focus on meaning, understanding, and connections, here are some things my daughter did recently that tells me she WANTS to learn more about her world:

* We finished reading some paragraphs on geography that I had thrown together based on a book we are reading. It was talking about the difference between a picture and a plan. She is learning to draw plans of a room or an outdoor area. I tossed the reading notes in the trash, and she said, "No! I want to keep it."

* I have a schedule but sometimes things come up. Last night it was the harvest moon and Jupiter. I told her I wanted to show her some planets. She gladly headed outdoors and ran down the driveway with excitement.

* She sometimes stops in the middle of a reading to ask what a word means.

* We were reading an exciting moment in "The Tarantula in My Purse" when the police officer was going to shot a crow creating a nuisance. She said, "No! Don't shoot! Don't do it!" and then covered up the page.

* She stood up before I started reading "The Birchbark House" and went to get the atlas. For the next four books, she looked up all the places in which the books were set. After Birchbark, she said, "And who moved from Wisconsin, where Birchbark is set, to Kansas? Laura Ingalls!"

I have blogged our RDI journey so, if you start in the March 2007 archives, you can see what we did and why it has become such an important element of our homeschooling program.

Anonymous said...

Tammy, thank you very much for that information. I'll start reading the archives that you mentioned. This website is a real "treasure trove" of information. I have liked what I have read about RDI, we just simply cannot afford the program. So, what I do, I'll have to just do myself, and hopefully learn from others. I have started "making" him follow my lead some. But it's a real new and difficult thing for both of us.... but I keep trying : ). Thanks again for the insight... and enjoy your homeschooling day! Kim

The Glasers said...

Kim, I did RDI "lone ranger" for 18 months before getting a consultant . . . another resource to give you a head start is the email list, Autism Remediation for Our Children.