# Monthly Archives: December 2009

## Multiplication Board

Multiplication tables were one of our greatest problems in maths. Last year somehow I made him write the tables.

But this year it is problems and also division.If I had not found this post on Tiffany’s Child’s play I dont know what I would have done. With the help of this board and with the help of the patterns I was able to reach his brain at last. Even I dont know the tables correctly. So it is a great relief to see him do it nicely.

I think the basic thing to do easy maths is to learn the tables. Addition tables, multiplication tables and division tables. That is what always keeps me behind.

Siva preparing for his Maths exams.

## Black out !

Exams are going on in full swing and both of us are exhausted. Today Ruby has Hindi exam. Saturday , that is three days before we had written all the question answers, meanings and opposites.

Even though he couldn’t remember some of them I should say I was happy with what he did. I marveled how nicely he is writing with minimum spelling mistakes.

After that we tried to learn the difficult ones. We  made a chart and stuck it on the wall.

I was relaxed. We just needed to brush up the note and text.

And yesterday when we sat down to revise, slowly I realised with horror that he doesn’t remember a single word or qn answer or even how to write the alphabets.

He is blank !

His connection with the note and text has been erased. I could feel the emptiness.

With only 2 or 3 hours in hand I didn’t know what could be done. I abruptly stopped the revision. There is no point in going forward. It will only confuse him further.

What will I do if this happen ? Or what will I need to reconnect to my memory ? That was my question. Then I realised the biggest aid will be a visual stimulus supported by an auditory stimulus.

As students , we have tried this while preparing for our physiotherapy exams. Two or three hours before the exam we will all gather and  some body in the group will read out the important points .

If some one has not prepared a certain portion we will briefly explain the points as small chunks for short term memory,  so that the qn. doesn’t have to be left unanswered. ( STM can store the maximum of 7 chunks for a single point , after that the ability to retrieve decreases ).

Every body is to listen keenly and concentrate on the sound. Each of us  will take turns and thus for each topic we will have a different sound memory.

When it comes to remembering, I think sound stimulus is more powerful than the visual memory of printed papers. Especially if what is in the paper doesn’t make much sense.

So instead of asking Ruby to write the  answer I showed him his books , page by page and read it to him loudly and in a relaxed way with emphasis to areas that were difficult to him. Then I send him to sleep. In the morning also I did the same thing.

Now he has gone to school. Whether he will remember them or not , or will he write them all upside down I don’t know. And he may not realise it.  I can see the blankness in his eyes.

Any of these can happen . And I think that is the most frustrating problem with dyslexia.

I wish him ‘ clair voyance ‘ ( clear vision ) !, let him find the correct orientation of letters. And then he will be able to write and complete the exam.

## You should write, my dear. Other wise they would never know !

When Siva has to write about something he will write about it so personally that it may not at all connected to the main subject in one glance.

I am overwhelmed how widely and how vividly he relates it to his experiences . The problem is he has so many ideas he don’t know which one to put first or how to connect them. And he may come up with some thing not related to it in first sight. ( if you want to know how exactly exceptional child’s thought process goes , see this post by ” child play .)

Last week Siva had a question. What do children do for children’s day ? And his answer is ” I and my sister will play a ‘broad’ game called fairy land. ” Even I didn’t remember the fact that that they were playing it on that day with real candy and lollipops and had a great time. But that would not score marks. They are supposed to write what ever body will normally do or what they are supposed to do.

Today they have GK exams and yesterday we were preparing . I asked him to write about or say a few sentences about holidays.

He stared at me for more than ten minutes. I had to fight back my instinct to give suggestions. Good that I had some home work reading!

Then he came up with this. ” I help my mother in gardening………………..I play with my sister . ( after much prodding ) ………………… Some times…………. we have…………. ice cream.”

I was on the verge of tears . ” Is this how you enjoy your holidays ?

( ” Am I bringing them up in some jail ? “)

patience , patience . I told myself.

I told him not to take the question so personally. Just say how kids enjoy their holidays . Again staring!!!!!!!!!

Now I have almost 10-12 sentences ready in my mind.And is ready to pounce on him.

Ok , tell me what all comes to your mind when you think of  holidays ? ” Fun- ice cream – gardening———–  I go to my father’s office. ( ?????? )

Oh God. there seems to be a crack in my  sweet composure . The sensitive mom is coming up front ! How could he ? Is this how I bring them up ? Is this pathetic they celebrate their holidays ? I took it rather personally.

What about the parks, trips, beaches , games, video games ?

” oh yes ! sometimes… when my mother gives me time…… I play video games ! ” He looked at me triumphantly. with joy that he could bring up one more sentence.

But I give up. I am horrified ! What his teacher will think if she sees this ? Some thing as nasty as child labour ?

Almost one hour has gone And I gave up. He has more than 25 pages to cover and has to mug up almost every word.

I winded up  telling him this .

” For the first sentence you write what the word means. You can select any of the sentences you have learned from your old books.  Then Concentrate on the pictures that come to your mind . The next few sentences you write what all are connected to it. Think of the words that come to your mind and make a sentence with each word. ( think what all of us are supposed to do for the asked qn. Don’t think what you did. ). Close the paragraph with a common statement. I love this , or it is important or some thing like that.

I don’t know how much good this will do. Now he has gone to school and I am so much taken up by his answers. Do they really spend their holidays so dryly ? Or is it just one other trait ?

Yes ,I know he sees every thing about the holidays in his mind. But the chain of thoughts are  so never ending he doesn’t know where to break up and make a sentence.

I am stopping this post in mid way without any closing statement . Because I don’t know what has to be done . To break the ice and to help him open up. To break the chain of thoughts and to remind him that he should write more and think less. And teacher would never know he thinks  so much about it and writes so less.

You must write them down, My dear. Otherwise they would never know how  beautiful your thoughts are and how deep you think . ( my eyes are filled with tears ) You must write them down. Some how!

But How ?

## The world of grass hoppers.

I don’t know exactly how many grass hoppers Ruby has brought home till date . Any time he could be found with a bottle for grass hoppers, with even grass for them to eat.

Whenever he goes out he finds out grass hoppers from no where. When we go to the park he suddenly points out the group of grass hoppers and the endless activities that goes on in the ground which we may otherwise not notice. After he gets dressed for school he goes hunting for grass hoppers.

This grass hopper, he claims to have saved from drowning. And sadly enough he could not find its family . They had even put some name  for it which I don’t remember . But I realised it is a bit difficult to take this guy’s snap. Anyways he seemed to listen to Ruby.

Now he pores himself into the book of bugs we got from the Book Fest. He even sleeps with that book.

Right now he is reading the book to his grand mother and she is listening obligingly. 😀

Yesterday he enacted to me how a butterfly sucks nectar from a flower. How the wings move , how it maintains balance and so many other details which obviously he had observed himself.  ( I wonder how they diagnosed him with ADDH )

I seriously think he may take up Entomology for his higher studies. ughh !!! Of all !!!

I don’t know if it is a trait of LD kids, they have a love for the down trodden. In the aquarium his favourite is the sucker , which no body else will notice otherwise.

Anyway now the skin specialist has warned him that grass hoppers may bite  sometimes and he has to be careful.

## Shape Hunting

This was inspired from  Child play’s Shape Safari.

I had a doubt if my kids were up to it. Siva had fallen down from his bicycle and bruised his elbows a bit nasty. Nothing I said would stop his cry.

As photography is one of his favourites , I thought why don’t give it a try. He was crying in full swing and in between the sobs I asked him if he would mind to  come to the terrace and take some pictures of shapes for me.

Suddenly his face brightened.

” What pictures ? ”

” Of shapes. I don’t know.. You will  have to find them on your own. ”

” just like in Mad ( Their favourite show on TV)  ?

” Can I also join ? ” Swetha came forward.

And what happened to the bruise and pain ?

Vanished for smiles and adventure. We did some cloud watching .  Siva captured the  sunset also. 🙂

Swetha’s favourite evening time pass. Watching the birds that are flying back home and that rest on the electric line. It is so high up. If I had another camera I would have taken her picture also taking the snap. She is lying on the floor to get a good view. 😀

I used to have a tough time selecting  books for my kids. But what I do now is just ask them what would they want to read. Or ask them to select themselves. And then I select some more books following the thread , which they may need for further reading . I note down the books and characters referred in their texts and get them later or take print outs from net.

They have developed a habit of looking at the back page to see what all books the publishers have in the same series and collecting them all. Yes, to some extent I give in.

Ruby has a taste for magic and mystery books and fairy tales.  His interests are so diverse   😀 . Pearl has no doubts about anything whatsoever.  She always knows her stuff.

They read and reread to their will .  And they refer back to their books whenever they come across the same words or points. While doing projects or looking for extra points they know exactly in which book and where they can find them.When their favourite cartoons come on tv they take their books as well.

What I found out is ,  it is much easier to buy books than to lend them. The fine I give to the library is costing me a fortune.

Their Aunt's contribution

What Reading looks like at Krishnaleela : Setting up the Library , Our books for the fortnight ,No more Harry Potter reading Nights , Loopholes in Rapunzel , Bookmarks for Swetha The world of Grass Hoppers

The books the kids  select themselves ,they will finish it either from the book shop itself or on their way back home. The books I select for them, they may finish in the next day  or next year. Usually in chunks. Anyway they go through the book and refer back when needed.

## Forgiving Myself !

There are some people who influence you so much more than anybody who knows you.

Even though I knew it already , Siva was recently diagnosed with LD and I had wanted to know if there is some thing more I could do for him.

I would like to tell you about this sweet girl and her superb mother . I came across their site ,  Childs  play a few months ago when I was searching for LD groups. They are from half way around the other side of world but that didn’t make any difference.

The mother and three sweet children showed me other dimensions of learning and more important being happy .I have followed so many of their expeditions and I know she speaks from her heart.

After realising what it is like for my son I have changed a lot . Now a days I work on Alphabets with my  daughter. When I patiently tell her how to write them more efficiently, I see the confused face of my son when he was of her age.

When I guide her through the sleeping and standing lines and when I see the confidence and self respect on her face , I see my son’s imploring face telling me ” this is all what I can do Mother “. But then, I was too preoccupied with straightening  him out I couldn’t see through.

When my daughter’s  class teacher tells me  she  is one of the smartest child in her class, I see the disapproving face of my son’s teacher and I  cringe remembering the words I accidentally  happened to over hear from her on the phone .

I couldn’t help thinking what would be the images in my Son’s mind when he think about alphabets or spellings or his life then . I wondered if he will be haunted with those images all through his life.

You would not believe me if I tell you I have not met in person a single parent who has a LD child.What I understand is people here take it so negatively they will not speak out even if their kid is suffering or getting resource help. It is considered something that is to be ashamed of.

So I thought of asking Tiffani who has  gone a long way with her children. I knew it was a bit personal question but again I desperately wanted to know what it would be like.

Yesterday she let me know something her daughter told her , some thing that only a child can tell  and some thing that every mother who work with an exceptional child would be eager to know.

These are the wise words of that young girl, now thirteen year old , doing home schooling with her mother , brother and sister.

“I don’t think you ever get over something like that, but you get past it. You get through it. And you can accept it. I’ve accepted that I’m not as stupid as I thought I was. In most ways I’m smarter. And some things are still really hard, but it’s not because I’m stupid. I just think differently. And that’s OK.”I asked her specifically what she’d say to you and your worries, and she said:

“Someday he’ll see what was happening then, and compare it with what is happening now, and he’ll appreciate how much you changed just for him.”

Naturalist , your answer is for all of us who work relentlessly with our exceptional kids and who are proud of them. And we will all cling to your words because you have proved with your life that all the effort we are taking is worth it.

I have always wondered why nobody tells you exactly how to bring up a child. And why it is only trial and error.

Tiffani told me some thing more important.

It’s not for him to forgive you, it’s for you to find forgiveness from yourself. it’s no use looking backwards. Do I wish I could go back and have a do over with Naturalist? yes, all the time. But all I have is today, and tomorrow, and all the tomorrows going forward. I can use what I know now to make them the best for my kids and myself. I can be present in her life today, and give her all the love, support, encouragement, and positive reinforcement that I didn’t give her for so many years before. It’s all we can do, and it is enough.

Yes , I realise . I should be able to forgive myself and move on. And may be after so many years my son will tell me how his life had changed.