March 6, 2013

Homeschool Idea

A dear friend of mine recently had her ten year old son diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, which is in the Autism Spectrum disorder.  We have been working together with her son even before he was officially diagnosed because we had been meeting weekly for the past two years in a mini co-op.  Her son had been having problems in math for a long time and she had switched curriculum two or three times in the past three years trying to find one that suited him.  One day, she made a comment that he preferred to do the math in his head, even if it was long division because he hated writing out the numbers and had difficulty in lining everything up.  That sparked an idea for me:  if writing was the problem, why not eliminate that distraction in some way and get him to focus on the math, not the writing.  Being a nerd, I immediately thought of a computer program to help.  We pored online over different programs, some free online and some expensive voice recognition software.  Generally, we decided in terms of programs, you get what you pay for. Then, a sudden inspiration was dropped in my lap:  why not just get a ton (literally) of those plastic, magnetic numbers, enough to do long division or hairy problems?  Later, when he takes algebra, they can buy the letters.  Then maybe make the exponents, parenthesis and operations out of foam or clay and put magnets on the back.  Instead, she and her son took sheets of foam and cut out the numbers and parentheses and had him write out the operations and exponents by hand.  She bought a magnetic white board dedicated to math and a roll of magnets that they cut up and glued to the foam.  Below are pictures of what it looks like (sorry that it is on its side--technical difficulties):

But the results are even better:  his math scores have improved dramatically and, within a week of starting it, her son, the one with Aspergers Syndrome that doesn't really like being touched, HUGGED her and thanked her for working on the solution to his problem.  So I am putting up there as a resource for homeschooling moms, teachers, or anyone with students who struggle with writing related problems like those in the Autism Spectrum and those who have dysgraphia.  I also have this on my Pinterest site.


Stephen said...

Love the creativity! What a great idea.

tandemingtroll said...

Thanks, Stephen! It is amazing how God can inspire two determined moms. Interestingly enough, the boy creates beautiful calligraphy and can line that up with no problem.