## Friday, February 29, 2008

### Leap Year: Then and Now

Pamela has been anticipating today for a very long time. Not long after the last February 29 (in 2004), Pamela fell in love with calendars. Her interest started with figuring out Roman numerals because movie credits always list the year that way. How did she figure it out? She googled it, of course! Before long, Pamela began googling calendars and became interested in the fourteen kinds of calendars: seven common years and seven leap years, each starting on a different day of the week. Then, she began googling the Chinese astrological signs and memorized the years that go with the twelve animals. She often carries around a Beanie Babie rat because 2008 is the year of the rat!

Then, I began thinking about how far Pamela has come since the last leap year!
• In 2004, Pamela was working her way through Making Math Meaningful Level 3, and now she is halfway through Level 6. I recently discovered she can multiply a single-digit times a double digit in her head.
• We did nature studies by watching the birds and animals at a local lake in Minnesota and now we watch critters in our backyard here in Carolina.
• In 2004, we were heavily involved in a wonderful homeschooling co-op, but I floundered how to implement Navigating the Social World, which was too behavioristic for our needs. Today, we have been happily making strides in applying a lone ranger version of Relationship Development Intervention.
• In 2004, we were stalled in our program for language therapy because the computer died and were still practicing the repetitive sentences and questions (page 9), which was at the beginning of the second unit of language. Pamela had learned (in a nutshell, six basic sentences and questions with no action verbs). Now, we are at the beginning of the third unit of language and Pamela can communicate her thoughts very well!
• Most conversations centered around very repetitive, high-interest topics in 2004. Now, Pamela still falls back on old favorites but can also converse about a variety of things.

Sample Conversation from 2004
Me: Lady has some spaghetti. What does Tramp have?
Pamela: Tramp has some water. Where is Tramp?
Me: Tramp is at Lady's house. What color collar does Tramp have?
Pamela: Tramp has a red collar.

Sample Conversation from Today
Me: "What are we celebrating today?"
Pamela: "Today we are celebrating leap year."
Me: "What are we going to do?"
Pamela: "We are going to a Mexican restaurant in Sumter."
Me: "How many people are going?"
Pamela: "Five people are going because Baby Alive is coming."

Pardon the quick rabbit trail, but this picture of Baby Alive and Tiptoe shows off a BEAUTIFUL dress that a fellow RDI/CM friend and blogger gave to Pamela for Valentine's Day. Penny's very talented mother sewed this adorable dress! Pamela did some Snoopy dancing and victory lapping when she opened the envelope with this dress.
• Pamela kept a journal in which she used very simple, repetitive language in 2004. She made many grammatical and syntactical errors in her writing. To show the difference in her writing, I went through her old journal and discovered something startling! Unbeknownst to me, she has gone back through her old journal to make corrections! Talk about owning your learning!
This example shows how much Pamela has progressed in personal pronouns. When speaking, she occasionally talks in the third person--she always talked in the third person back in 2004. Notice how she corrected "We" to "I" because the card game she is talking about is Solitaire on her Dad's work laptop! If you click the picture, you will see a larger version and should see other corrections she has made to the original.You can see how Pamela inserted missing words with proper editing marks! I also see signs of erasing.Pamela made major revisions here--look carefully for the gray smudges. She fixed everything from past tense to noun-verb agreement, incorrect pronouns to spelling errors.
• In 2004, Pamela could not do typed narrations of a book one chapter at a time. I will close with what she wrote about Chapter 2 of Miracles on Maple Hill. I made no corrections, so this piece, written at a fourth grade level, is pure Pamela:
Mr. Chris is wearing some overalls, pants, and, sweater. He is riding an orange tractor. Mrs Chris is wearing a white apron and the shoes. She has a house. The house has some trees, grass, mailbox, front porch, and porch. Marley has a broken car. Mr. Chris sees an orange tractor. Mr. Chris and Marley are driving an orange tractor. They feel happy. They are eating and washing. Marly, Mr. Chris, Mrs Chris, and Joe are in the kitchen. They are eating some food. They are washing some dishes. Sugar camp has some syrups, trees, snow, and cabins. Mr. Chris is going to sugar camp. Marly is going to Grandma’s house. Marly sees Grandma’s house. The house looks old. Marly feels sad. Marley is going home. They feel happy. Grandma’s house has some trees, grass, broken porch, and small house.

Betsy Brock said...

That was a wonderful entry on your site. I love reading about your daughter! She has come so far! It gives me hope and determination to keep plugging along with my boys!

Jen P said...

Thanks for visiting my site! Look forward to reading more about your family. Looks like Pamela has come a long way. Kudos to you. I grew up in the carolinas by the way.

Niffercoo said...

Tammy, I have tears in my eyes reading this! I love reading about Pamela's progress! I find it especially interesting that she is going back and making corrections to her journal. That is absolutely amazing! You are right, she truly owns her learning, and isn't that what we want for all of our children? Her narration was fantastic as well! Great job, Pamela (and Tammy!)! Jen

Anonymous said...

Going back and changing her verbs to the correct answer! Wow. That's better than passing any standardized test! True learning. Inspiring post!Sincerely, Diane G.

Prince Andrew and the Queen Mum said...

that is so incredible. I love to look back and remember! you are an awesome mom and teacher!

walking said...

Pamela is a terrific girl and her persistence is fabulous. She keeps me on my toes by surprising me!!! She gets credit for not giving up on me, always willing to try another nutty idea.