Friday, November 04, 2011


Pamela never, I mean NEVER, ceases to amaze me. She read this passage from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s retelling of King Midas and the golden touch in The Wonder-Book for Boys and Girls.
He took up a book from the table. At his first touch, it assumed the appearance of such a splendidly bound and gilt-edged volume as one often meets with, nowadays; but, on running his fingers through the leaves, behold! it was a bundle of thin golden plates, in which all the wisdom of the book had grown illegible.
When she narrated it, Pamela corrected his anachronistic description of the greedy monarch turning a book into gold by substituting the word scroll for book. She knew very well that these stories date back to ancient Greece, which are in B.C. times as she calls them, and that people read from scrolls, not books!

For the past two weeks, she has asked me to pick books randomly, out of chronological order. She turned it into a game by covering her eyes with her hand and asking me to make a sound to give her a clue. When I made the sound, she giggled and screamed with delight. All that changed yesterday for Pamela went back to asking for books in chronological order with a slight refinement of her old system. She inserted a hymn about Jesus between the readings on Caesar andAlfred the Great, followed by a reading set in the 11th century and music by a Baroque composer.

Then, Pamela really amazed me. Yesterday, she made four fascinating time charts in her free time. Starting at 10,000 B.C., she broke up time into thousand year chunks. You can tell what two persons and what great book have impressed Pamela. Once she hit A.D. times, Pamela shifted to century blocks. She shifted to decades once she hit the twentieth century. You can see Pamela's keen eye for the development of her favorite kind of technology. I chuckled when I saw the final block: 2010 - ???? AD.

Did I mention she did this in her free time? The best feedback on how homeschooling is going happens when you aren't homeschooling!

Some find it hard to believe that children can learn to put people and events in proper order when we have several threads of history going at once. In her book addressing children between the ages of six and nine, Mason recommended using a timeline, which we did when our children were younger, or a table of centuries. While we have never done a table of centuries, what Pamela did today looks a great deal like what is illustrated in an article on teaching chronology. I love that Pamela's own brainchild dovetails so nicely with our philosophy of education!

But, even better than that, Pamela continues to make progress in her social thinking:

On Halloween, we delivered meals on wheels in the pouring rain. It was wet and miserable, and Pamela was recovering from a mild cold. A few hours before sunset, Pamela told me to go to Walmart to get candy. Then, she promised she was taking her babies trick-or-treating in 2012.

On Tuesday, our study group was meeting. One of the moms was out in the hall, holding her baby. Pamela smiled and watched them. Then, she walked over to them and held the baby's hand. My friend knew I had brought one of Pamela's babies to show everyone the scarf she had fingerknitted, so the mom asked, "Where's your baby?" Pamela ran off, went to my box of stuff, grabbed her baby, ran back to my friend, and showed off her baby.

And, if that wasn't enough, on Wednesday, I was teaching at our church's afterschool program. Pamela looked in the window of the door to the classroom and all the kids said, "There's Pamela!" She walked into the room, waved her hands, and said, "Hi, kids!" She stuck around long enough for several to tell her their names before she bolted. Fifteen minutes later, one of the boys struck up a conversation with her while he was on his way to the restroom. Someone else was escorting him, so I have no idea what was said. However, there were several exchanges back and forth.

Of course, face blindness (not being able to recognize people by faces, especially if they are in the "wrong" place) did rear its ugly head too. After watercolor class on Thursday, we bumped into one of the ladies from the class in the checkout line at Walmart. We started chatting and, when Pamela came up to us, I asked Pamela, "Do you remember Mrs. X? We just saw her." Pamela looked puzzled and asked, "Is it church? Meals on wheels?"

Oh, well, you can't win all the time!

P.S. About an hour ago (in her free time),  Pamela said, "11th century is Middle Ages. What about 1500?" So, I explained to her that when it was changing to the Reformation and Renaissance. She added, "Yes, and painting!"


Phyllis said...

I am totally impressed!!

Bonnie said...

She is amazing!
Loved reading this. Your writing and life always nourishes me with beauty!

Stephanie said...

I love that timeline! I especially like seeing the things she chose to focus on -- it mirrors her religious faith and love for the arts and all things technological, doesn't it? I'm impressed with her intelligence and her sense of wonder and joy.

You have been such an inspiration to me over the past few years. My Aspergian daughter is now 17, and my family is baffled that she isn't interesting in college and making plans for her future. Aside from my husband and my RDI coach, no one "gets it," I guess.

It's difficult, sometimes, honoring exactly where our own child is on her wonderful journey, and you've been a great source of encouragement to me in that regard. I hope all that came out right. :-)

Unknown said...

This is so inspiring! I know when my own children make these connections I am in awe - and I feel as though I have witnessed a miracle. It truly is as cm writes...evidence of God's spirit at work!

walking said...

Thanks, y'all! Pamela is the amazing one when you consider how hard it has been for her to get where she is today.

I'm sorry about your family, Stephanie. Our kids are on a different timetable. We can be thankful for the people who do get it.

Anonymous, what a wondrous thing the Great Recognition is: we are not alone and we and our children can always ask for help from God's Teacher and Counselor. :-)