Monday, June 26, 2006

First day of our summer schedule...

Today was the first day of B's & my summer schedule. Yesterday we created the new weekly schedule form, with the time laid-out in time-line fashion, from left to right, & the days of the week top-to-bottom, as B's psychologist recommended. This is all part of the effort to help B relate better conceptually to time, which is a pretty important life skill. After we made the form on the computer, we counted the number of weeks we'd actually be using it & printed out the forms we'll need. Then we made a file of the activities we want to do this summer:

manga drawing
weaving on the big loom (my floor loom)
hiragana (japanese written alphabet) practise
wiring an intercom set from a kit
continuing last summer's bionicle story
going to the library
typing practise
creative writing

...and printed it out. We also began our list of books to read over the summer. We'll start out together reading (alternating reading chapters aloud to each other) the first Artemis Fowl book. B has wanted to read Artemis since last summer, but I thought they were pretty violent for a 9-year-old... B was delighted to discover that the library on the 3rd floor of his school (where he'll move up to in September) has the Artemis Fowl books, so I decided to do a pre-emptive strike :) If we read them together, at least I can explain the violence as it comes up & make sure he's okay with it...

Our final task yesterday was to take our brand-new schedule & plug activities into it. B had a fencing lesson today & has a playdate on Thursday, which we recorded, plus we'll go grocery shopping Thursday morning... Then we put it all up on the fridge.

This morning the first thing B did was check the schedule :) We began with a hiragana practise session at 9:00-ish (around my doing the laundry & answering a phone call) which went very well. I'm hoping to replace the hiragana chart on the dining-room wall with the katakana chart by mid-July, so that we can begin learning that alphabet, too. Today, I got out the flash cards I made last summer & we put them out on the table as B identified each letter (using the chart on the wall to assist him). Then I asked him to spell words by pointing to the letters. He was getting pretty fast by the end of 40 minutes :) We had to get ready to go to fencing right after. B hadn't had a lesson for a couple weeks, but he still had the head-knowledge, even if his body was taking it's time remembering. He never once got frustrated, though, which was very cool. Next stop was the anime store, where we discovered that volume 7 of Hikaru no Go is out, & which solved the issue of what B's solo quiet reading book would be. After lunch we had 1/2 hour of solo reading & 1/2 hour of reading together, then we got out the intercom kit & had another go at it. B & I tried to make these 2 years ago, but it was way beyond B's patience level at the time, so I put them away. He had a frustrated start this time, almost as though he was remembering the last time, but with coaching, B came around. I had him undo the old wiring & I took charge of re-wiring the difficult bits. B also got out his battery tester & wire strippers & put them to good use. We worked happily away & didn't stop for a snack until 4 pm. During snack B played his current favourite cd, Dr. Demento's Greatest Hits... We found it at the museum of American history, & since I was a big Dr. Demento fan as a teenager we decided to get it. B, of course, finds it hysterical, although he needed a lot explained to him... he did **get** the shaving cream song by the end of it, & really likes Tom Lehrer's Poisoning Pigeons in the Park, The Fish Heads song, & Weird Al Yankovic's Yoda. During B's free time today he watched all of "Star Wars: A New Hope" in bits & pieces. C recommended that B try watching "Star Wars" as a distraction from tic-inducing thoughts & it really seemed to work, since B didn't have a major "tic attack" until after dinner. Although the OCD thoughts are still pretty overwhelming to B, we've decided not to increase any medication until we're absolutely sure that other methods, such as distraction & scheduling pretty tightly (so he is constantly focused on projects), don't work. If today is any indication, the scheduling works very well.

This week is our shake-down week, summer-schedule-wise. Next week he begins a week & a half at computer camp, before we return to our own scheduled activites. So far, so good. B fell asleep very well this evening & today felt really satisfying to me- it certainly went like the wind! Tomorrow we begin the day by baking. We've decided to bake cookies every week, so dad won't have to take store-bought cookies to work :) Plus, we're beginning a new activity of B helping to make dinner, which will happen twice a week (about all I thought I could handle, to begin with :). Onward...!


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