Posts Tagged ‘kitchen table’

Just Another Bump in the Road

October 14, 2015

Mother's Day 2015 014

I have been noticeably missing from My Sister’s Jar for two months….well, at least I noticed I was missing. We have had another bump in the ever bumpy road of our lives, but we carry on, get back in the driver’s seat and plead for God’s help once again.

It was May when our little Colombian princess was tested at a reading specialist and several (meaning more than 5!) different learning differences were detected. This was an AHA! moment for me as well as a WELL- DUH! moment mixed together. I assumed some of the difficulties were because Nora has only been speaking English for four years. This didn’t seem to apply at all once the road blocks to learning were identified.

I believe I have mentioned on here before some of my frustration teaching my own children who can’t seem to remember what I’ve taught them, and don’t really care that they can’t remember, and just want to go outside and look at clouds and dig in the dirt. I handed over Nora’s math teaching to her two older brothers for several months at the suggestion of our principal, my husband. It saved me from the desire to bang my head on the kitchen table when there was no recall of ANYTHING she could do yesterday.The boys didn’t seem to mind re-teaching carrying, borrowing, multiplying with zeroes over and over and over and over and over again. I did mind. It is a weakness of mine, as a homeschool mom, to want my children to learn and retain and move ahead, especially in phonics, reading and math.

With Austin, now 19, he was shown the letter F for 63 straight days of my ever-loving-homeschool-teaching-journey. He finally read the blinkin’ English language when he was NINE. That’s almost TEN. You know, three years before being a teenager. There weren’t any learning differences. He was just a late reader. (Insert mother justification….) He designed and installed our backyard sprinkler and drip system when he was also nine. He’s a smart kid. I kept the faith that God would touch the brain inside that hard, blonde head… and He did! Thank you, Jesus. It still brings me to tears when I relay the story of the first time in his life when Aus read… anything…it was a sign at Sequoia National Park, “Do not feed the deer!”

Back to the Colombian princess. When I heard the phrase “auditory processing” I wasn’t sure what it meant, so of course I googled it. Lo and behold, and what to my wondering eyes should appear, and good golly why didn’t I remember this… a website popped up of a lady WHOM I KNOW!  Oh yeah, she teaches on learning differences. She gave me great suggestions ten years ago when I was trying to get Austin to read C-A-T without the far-and-away look in his big blue eyes. Here is what I discovered: MAGIC! There were 16 symptoms listed for people who have learning differences in the area of auditory processing. Nora has all 16! WHAT? (I pride myself of being an overachiever too!)

Nora is attending reading classes with a specialist who understands left brain/right brain connections that need to be established. The “reading class” consists of physical activities outside to help cross the mid-line of the brain. School has taken a decidedly different look this year, with WAY more focus on my part, which has introduced me to a new level of exhausted. From 9:00 p.m. to midnight was MY time to get my work done. Now I’m dragging through dinner and looking at the clock longingly at 7:30 p.m. without the energy to get anything done. But God knows what He is doing. None of Nora’s challenges were made apparent until Austin was graduated from high school. The Lord knows what we can handle and what would throw us head over heels into the loony bin, and obviously teaching Austin and Nora (the new way) together was beyond my capabilities. And I am thankful we learned about all this when we did!

So as I start each new day, as a homeschool mom, around 8:30 a.m. or 9:30 a.m., I remind God that these are really His kids, and I need His help once again to leave my bedroom and teach them how to learn, how to love God and how to succeed in life! I could not do this on my own! And that’s a fact, Jack!

Math the Colombian Way

March 19, 2012

(This picture has nothing to do with this post…. but it’s cold outside, so I picked a snow picture!)

Math is different around the world.  I’m convinced of that.  My husband was taught math in Canada and he DOES NOT do multiplication the way I was taught here in the good ol’ US of A.  And he’s not converting from metric either; he simple learned a funky, three-step process to do the facts, and I merely memorized them.  On occasion, I do use my fingers for the nine’s times tables, but that’s only really late at night. [You know… hold up your ten fingers.  Bend down the number you are multiplying by nine.  Read the tens and ones with the remaining fingers.  I.e.  9×4  Hold up your ten fingers.  Bend down the fourth finger from the left.  There are three fingers standing on the left (tens = 30) and six fingers still standing on the right (ones = 6)  Hence, 36.]  But my dear husband’s process has you subtracting and adding numbers up and down from the number you started with.  And you’re supposed to remember all these numbers as you go.  Too many steps for my little brain.

Today, at the kitchen table while teaching math to the little Colombian princess, I was assuming that Colombians learned addition differently than I did.  Here are the equations and her answers:

15.   5 + 4 =  24

16.   3 + 8 = 27

Get it?  I didn’t.  For a LONG time.  Finally I explained that it was a pre-test and I didn’t expect her to know how to do those problems yet.  THEN I SAW the DOTS.  She draws little dots and counts them.  For the first problem, she drew 15 dots, 5 dots and 4 dots.  She counted them all and wrote the correct answer!  SHE WAS INCLUDING THE NUMBER OF THE PROBLEM!  Hahahaha!  And she DID know how to add them ALL!  So after we got it all ironed out, it was smooth sailing.  Colombian math is just like USA math, but probably not like Canadian math! (If I can help it!)