I am hesitant to post this for a number of reasons.
Firstly, I am not sure what I am doing. Secondly, I don't know where all this is going. Thirdly, although we do a lot of activities together, this just never turned out to be one of those "homeschooling" blogs where moms will post every detail of the teaching they do with templates and links. I mean its great they do that, because thank God there are great ideas out there for us to get inspired, but it just takes too much work.
But we are doing something we never did before. It may not lead anywhere, but so far we are enjoying ourselves. We do claim on our header that this blog is about homeschooling so I will post some homeschooley type things once in a while. Who knows it may help someone out there or inspire them.
Those of you who have been following this blog from the start, will know that many old posts have gone missing, and the video links are broken. Since I started hijaab I have deleted hijab-less videos of myself. I video tape a lot still but can't be bothered to dress up for them just so I can post them online. In this video I sat down to work with K right after I finished praying so I decided to keep my prayer outfit on and it worked. Alhamdulillah.
Also loyal readers over the years, who might remember some of my older videos (although they have been removed) might like how things have changed around here. Things get better, and I guess if you keep working at it, the relationship does eventually become less of a fight. Sometimes. Video tape your journey, for yourself, it can become your biggest inspiration.
So we are doing this online reading program called Headsprout Early Reading. K learned to use the mouse only a few months ago, but he is slowly mastering the use of the computer. He also knew all his letter sounds before we started. I am not sure what will happen when we get to words with silent letters and vowels. We may have to stop in the middle and continue when he is developmentally and receptively ready to take that kind of instruction. Who knows. AllahuAlam as they say (Allah knows best).
So here is the story so far.
K can join some letter sounds and is learning blending. Who would have thought eh? Alhamdulillah.
We have to do a lesson a few times to move on. You have to be mindful to sound out big words like "feels". He is finding it really hard to do that. Mostly its automatic behavior and relying on rote learning that gets in the way of K's processing. He knows how to join sounds, he knows the sounds, but to stop, sound out, join and then comprehend it as a word he recognizes, like feels, that is just too hard for him. But we are going to keep going until it fails.
He is a very rule based kid, duh. He has autism. But reading and comprehension has a lot of exceptions to the rule and we will deal with them as we encounter them.
He is also very mindless and resorts to mindlessly giving answers (without listening to the question or spending any time thinking about an answer). Teaching mindfulness is a work in progress. It is very much a developmental thing in this house and a case of tireless practice. But he has shown us, slowly that he can slow his body down enough to think, even if for a second and he has shown us in various ways how capable he is MashaAllah.
So here is a book of "sounds" we made together.
They are sounds he already learned from the online program and I wanted him to find them in words. So I gave him sticker letters and asked him to stick the sound on the paper. For the two letter sounds I gave him only those two letters and he "spelt" them correctly. Next time I will try to get him to pick from a bunch of letters and see if he can spell the sound correctly. For instance give him f, r, a, n and ask him to spell the sound fr and see if he can do it.
The pictures were placed on the table, three at a time. I sounded out each word in the picture and asked him to pick the picture with the sound he just spelt on the paper. He got all of those right without having to think about them too long.
InshaAllah as we progress we will try to do this without visuals i.e. listening to words and picking out sounds that he has learned.
We practiced some blending with magnetic letters.
He sat through it all because I promised him that we would do headsprout reading on the computer after we finished. But you can see he is engaged and enjoys the activity regardless of the prize in the end. And really thats all that matters to me at this point. That we enjoy doing stuff together and gets lots of smiles.
Here is the video:
You can see when I ask him the simple sound of ee, he says "ull eeeee" because he learned to sound the word "lee" and did not even bother to think that there was no l there. That is the mindlessness I am talking about.
Also whenever we work with K, we do high probability teaching. I am not doing any ABA in this video. But I scaffold things for him and give him the answer and then test him again to see if he was paying attention and remembers. This is the only way to teach him because he is motivated to stay in activities in which he feels competent. He repels failure and the smallest breakdown or challenge takes him to the dark side of uncertainty and then the behaviors start. So we try to make sure he is successful most of the time. It takes a lot of scaffolding to do that. I also have to make sure I do things quickly and move to the next thing quickly.
I also don't bother to think too much about my instruction and making sure I always ask the right way. I have to fix that, but he deals with that pretty well. At one point I point to "fran" and instead of saying "sound out that word" or "read that word", I say something like "whats that sound", which doesn't even make sense! But he is OK with it Alhamdulillah, he knows what I mean.
You know what I love about this video the most and what shows that he is actually thinking when he joins the sounds? The fact that he moves the letters both ways - to the left and to the right to complete the words. This isn't rote. And who cares if he isn't perfect. For me his natural and flexible behavior and level of comfort is the real prize.