Monthly Archives: June 2010

The beauty of silence …..

There was a time when I used to observe a young man in our youth group ,just out of curiosity.

Because he was so different from everybody else . Always had a smiling face and the most simple ways .

I always looked for his face first in the group and was bored when he didn’t turn up. But we never talked . I had a good rapport with every body else in the group but not to this person.

Why ?

I don’t know …

Once then, we all went for a camp . But this young man didn’t come for some unknown reasons .  His friends waited for him till the end .

When we came back he was there at the railway station to welcome us .

I wanted to tell him that we missed him at the camp . But thought it wouldn’t be important .

He appeared to be very happy to see his friends . They decided to hang out for a while and I went home with my father and life moved on.

A few days later , he proposed to  my parents . While we had gone for the camp he had gone to talk to his parents ( 🙄 from reliable sources )

Since then, for ten years now  that man has been surprising me , every day of my life . And I loved watching him evolve into my best friend , a dynamic husband and a loving father .

My better half ,  My love. Happy Wedding Anniversary !

Springtime by Pierre-August Cot . One of my favourite paintings . Lovers caught in spring time forever ,and nothing else in this world matters.

Edited to add , on June 11 ‘ 2011

Today Pearl asked us if it is our B’day today . She is not yet familiar with anniversaries . I told her it is . Because before , we were just two different persons . “WE ” was born only on the day of marriage .

Tooth fairy visits our house ..

It has been two days since Ruby has taken out one of his milk teeth . This time he wants a 5 Rs coin for his teeth and wonders if he will get even a 50ps for such a small teeth. It was one of his canines .

hmm… The tooth fairy will have to keep that in mind !

But he didn’t keep it under his pillow. I thought he threw it away and has grown out of fairy tales.

Then, yesterday I heard him whispering to Pearl that he is going to keep the tooth tonight for the coin followed by a ‘ don’t tell anybody ‘.

I concentrated hard on my stitching work and made mental notes.

As soon as Ruby went out of the room , Pearl came to me and shared the top secret followed by the ‘ don’t tell anybody. ‘

After that without even a moments break , I heard her giggling and running to her father . Of course, top secret !! ( 😯 I am not going to include her in the secret arrangements for Ruby’s b’day next month !   )

Now the Fairy is the only person who doesn’t know about it .

In between , the whole thing slipped out of my mind . By midnight we had a power failure. Ruby got up and checked for his tooth but couldn’t find it !!

ohoh!! The tooth fairy had other important things in her mind !

I asked him to go to sleep and not to check for the tooth in between . No foul plays ! 😮

In the morning luckily tooth fairy remembered about the sweet tooth waiting under the pillow . But couldn’t find any 5 re coin and settled for a 1re coin.

Ruby  got up , found the coin and came to the kitchen .

” What do you have there ? Did you get the 5 re. ” I asked him

” No, It is a 1 re coin .  Mother, 🙄 You get only 1 re coins. That is the rule , you know ?  Isn’t it a wonder that it was not there when I checked in between ? The fairy needs the exact time to change the tooth into coin . After all she has to take the tooth to some place and make a coin out of it . May be she has a factory for this ”

‘ hmm.. the fairy will give gifts only to kids who gets enough sleep . 8 hrs !! No more no less ! ‘ ( After all the 1 re coin was not wasted !)

Teaching a gifted child with LD …

When I started surfing the net to learn how to guide my son through his school lessons , I stumbled on many sites on parenting and homeschooling dyslexic children. As I have very poor short term memory I gathered every thing I found useful and started to work from there .

First standard was a complete mess . I used negative strokes to reinforce his memory  . Because I always thought he was too lazy to do any thing .

Later I learned how easy it is to teach the child with postive strokes and consistency . Over the two years we have developed our own way of learning school stuff .

Before going further I want to tell you when I was a student myself I was not at all the day to day learning type. I relied mainly on the study holidays for my marks. But for my son I had to change every thing .

  • Every day he is given enough time to play , to watch TV ,  to read books and unwind . The study time is kept the same every day . ( one – one and half hrs ) Every 20 or 30 minutes depending on his concentration , he can take a break  for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • The key point is to start from day one and be consistent . That is the best and easiest thing to do . Child will also be relaxed and confident . ( The last thing you would want to do to a LD child is stuff him with new lessons on the  day before exam . He will surely black out. )
  • I keep two rough note books at home . It helps me to save time and write questions  or check answers while Ruby is doing his work  . That way I sit with him through his study time.
  • I write every possible question down on the rough note book . We answer them once in detail . Then for every revision he goes through this note. Then we do model tests .
  • I note down the spellings that are difficult for him on the side page and the clues we used to memorise it so that we can check it further just before the exams. As he is basically a pictorial thinker we rely on pictures a lot for reinforcing what has been studied.  If he has difficulty to remember notes we draw pictures in different colours on the side . Rather than artistic skills we concentrate on personal clues and jokes that will make it easier to remember .
  • Once Ruby wrote one word answers to paragraph questions . That is one another trait of dyslexic kids. To the point answers with no explanations . So we make it sure that he knows how to answer the same questions for different marks. For essay writing we follow this technique of answering ‘Wh’ questions related to the topic and writing the answers in a para. Then giving an opening and closing sentence.
  • Other than for very important ones we don’t concentrate on spellings . The spelling lessons are given differently for a lesser level. ( he takes resource help from school )
  • Basically we divide our every day study time into two. One half for learning the day’s portion and doing home works if any . The second half for revising what was learned the previous day . Then 15 minutes for doing some extra work ( out of syllabus . like spelling lessons , cursive writing , puzzles, abacus . alternates it through the week )
  • Saturday Morning – revise the week’s portions and works for the next week.
  • Saturday evening and Sunday – Free .
  • We see to it that we are thorough with the given text book . Line to line . boxes and tables . Even the captions of pictures . ( important especially for CBSE ) . May sound silly . But I have seen that many students who are good in studies  score poor because they are not familiar with the text book.

By saying thorough I don’t mean to mug it up.

This need not be done consciously. Let the child read the lesson completely including all the exercises everyday while it is being taken . ( first day it will take more time but lesser after wards )

  • Then a quick glance after one or two weeks . Once a month . ( This is how our brain works . First revision with in 24 hours . Second revision with in 7 days . Subsequent revisions within 15 and 30 days resp.  With every revision the time taken and effort required will be less .

This is not the only thing we do . As he is very interested in reading I gather books based on his classes for extra reading . We surf net . He can follow anything he is interested in to the level he can take it. We do experiments at home . He is a keen observer .

Having said all these I want to tell you I am not one  of those Moms who always want their kid to come first . I have seen those types and I despise them . I don’t have a competition with any of his classmates or anybody else. I have seen my child’s paper written wholly in mirror writing , like in some alien language  with full of red question marks . When he goes for his exams I can only pray that his brain is correctly oriented for the day.

My aim is not to torture him with his lessons so that he would get good marks . My aim is to get him better of his disabilities . The only thing that I compete with is his future. I don’t want my son to suffer for his disabilities . I want them to be properly taken care of so that he can be proud of his abilities . I want him to be confident , competent and educated enough to pursue his favourite career. Whatever that might be when time comes .

Fourth grade has just started . We will have to improvise our schedule as we move on . May Almighty God lead us through !

Edited to add on June 1st 2011:

What I learned from fourth standard .

1. Read the text . All subjects and languages . Every day till the chapter is completed and revision test taken . word to word . exercises , meanings , grammar ,  every thing .

2. Make it a point to do all the exercises in the Maths text book along with class whenever the text book is send home .

3. Identify which teacher teaches with a vision and in an organised way . Then concentrate on the other subjects more.

He learned to answer correctly even if the qns are twisted . So we skipped the question writing part to some extend .

Fire flies in my bed room .

Yesterday night when I switched off my bed room light I saw a fire fly blinking near the kids’ bed.

The child in me was very happy to see it. A fire fly in my bed room ! Ah !

I thought about the times we had spent trying to catch them . The monsoon nights  . The wet feel. the cry of the frog. the screeching crickets .The pond near to the house glittering like Christmas lights in the night . The calm  darkness .

The teenager in me was excited .  I thought of ‘ Njan Gandharvan‘ . The lover who comes by the night as a fire fly . The sweet fragrance of ezhilam pala !

The mother in me was concerned . Would it go into my kids’ ears ? Do they bite ? I will have to check google tomorrow.

After much weighing I decided to hush it out .All this time the fire fly was there . Blinking happily. Content . Not flying.

In the dark I tried to catch it . But couldn’t . It was there blinking. I switched on the light ….

It took me some time to realise it was my mobile in some screen save mode that Siva had changed recently.

And no fire flies  !

Back to square one !

Every thing I had thought during the holidays have been proved wrong .

Ruby has improved a lot . But I had forgotent that LD is incurable. ( Of course it is not a disease . But as it has been said the disabilities will mask the giftedness and giftedness will mask the disability leaving every body to wonder and frown why this boy is acting differently . )

During the holidays we followed ‘hands on ‘ learning . ( I will save another post for it ) . I didn’t nag him for spellings .

But now the classes have started we are back to square one .

His friends are all in other classes as some shuffling was done .  And all my parent network has been broken .I cannot show it out and upset my child . I cannot endorse it that we are in the same boat.

Today he forgot to take the vacation work and tomorrow he has to take an apology letter to school.

I  almost shouted at him for forgetting the worksheet. I was mad thinking that he messed it up in the first class itself . I want him to be in teacher’s good list as I need lot of support from her . ( It is not just that he forgot the worksheet , He is so helpless that one  find it irritating . Why can’t he a be fourth grader ? The conventional Mom in me keep on asking! )

In between he told me the other boy in his class who was also taking resource help has failed and is in third std itself .

My heart goes out for that boy.

Slowly it dawned on me all the tough times we had . How he used to mess up with his home works . How he forgot every thing  . How we have walked together and fought our way out …….

I remembered that I should not expect him to be perfect .  More important I remembered that we should stick together .

New teachers , new friends , new words , new works ….

Ruby is writing every thing jumbled.

‘It will take some time ‘ . I repeat every time I see his book . It will all take some time !

I know this is not one of my great posts . I am feeling so low. I did some back to back reading to console myself and found a comment reply I wrote to my brother in this blog .

He also has the same problem . Dyslexia.  I am posting the letter here .

Dear brother ,

My heart always go out for you whenever I see Ruby struggling . But then we were not enlightened enough .

A few days before I met a parent who has a boy almost of your age . When he talked , I could feel the suffering and helplessness he had felt all through the years. The school had always complained and complained . Even though the parents knew their child was bright, nothing could be done to prove it. It affected the child’s confidence and every thing. They eventually changed the school as he couldn’t take any more open houses .

( Because then LD wasn’t researched like this. Parents didn’t really know what should be done. The school authorities knew even less. )

But they some how got through .The child is  now well educated and well posted. The parent has taken it upon him and is now active in spreading the awareness on dyslexia.

Our mother was also with me. Afterwards she told me , “Without even knowing anything about all this I am glad I have given my son the right support .”

Yes. Now I can see clearly Unni. It was Amma’s unwavering support for you , No matter what any body else told , it was that shaped your life . It was that what saved you.

But Then , I couldn’t understand why she was always so lenient and pampering when it came to you ( absolutely out of place for your age when Sali and I were on our own even from a much younger age ). I couldn’t understand why they were so contend with your ways and never bothered about your marks. I couldn’t understand why she had always believed in you even when we all thought you needed so much improving. I thought she will spoil you . It took me so many years to realise it is the other way round. That You needed all the support and love and care to survive.

And that turned out to be correct stand. That is what every body discovered after all these research. I learned it the hard way though. Hats off to them!