Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Lesson 13 -- May 20

Has it really been 13 lessons??? Wow.

Jacob was so so awesome today.

First, I printed out all these words and taped them on the wall in our basement.

Second, I told Jacob which word to go get.... and he had to go figure out which one it was.

So he was running and up and down the stairs A LOT.... lots of activity is great for his mind to open up.

He only got two wrong...... BIT (instead of BIG) and then another word I can't remember, but it was only one letter off. So he did great!

The best part is, he didn't get discouraged when he got those two words wrong. THIS IS GREAT!

Finally, when he brought a word upstairs, I had him make the word out of playdough. He loved that. His letters were pretty creative looking and had lots of personality.

With only 10 minutes left and about 8 words left, I had him bring up all the rest and HE had to sound each of them out to me. HE DID SO GREAT!!!!!!!! I was impressed!

We also made up a few sentences with the words, like: My dad is so big.... and I bit the fat cat.

Jacob is progressing well! His confidence is building and his ability to remember letter sounds is building as well.

Lesson 12 -- May 18

We had a great day today!! Jacob is really picking up things quickly.

We reviewed all the phonics of A-J and then added the letter K.

Since I was on vacation last week, we took today pretty slowly and just reviewed to get back into the swing of things.

1. Most every lesson, I have Jacob fill out an A-Z sheet like this. I switch up the letters to see how he does. He does pretty well! There are a few letters he forgets, but overall he gets 80% every time.

2. Most every lesson I also pick a letter and make a sheet like this. He circles that letter. Almost 100% of the time he gets 100% of the letters.

3. Today Jacob REQUESTED that I write the letters on the driveway, say the sounds, and he ride over them with his bike. Yep, he wanted to do this! Love it. He got them all.

I read an article yesterday about ADHD kids needing to move their bodies around in order to learn. I certainly think this is the case with Jacob. It totally opens his mind up when he is moving.

4. Later we played with the Bananagram letters.... we made a few words with them, but he got sort of mentally stuck, so we just made piles of each letter. He liked that a lot.

Lesson 11 -- May 6

I thought I took pictures of this lesson, but I guess I didn't!

Jacob had so much fun today.

We added the letter J to his phonics learning.

So now he's got A-J.

My backyard was already a mess, so I added some items that started with the letter J and he had to go find them.

the Joker

He found them all pretty easily!

Then we took a few items and wrote a story about them and drew pictures. Basically, Jacob and the Joker jumped out of a jet. It was awesome.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Lesson 10 - May 4

Jacob was so so happy today!

He got to ride his bike to our house, which was awesome.

Here is what we did:

1. We talked about the Avengers movie. Jacob was so animated talking about it. I said, "Isn't it cool that the story came from a comic book?" That gave me an idea... stay tuned for a future lesson about comic books.

2. We reviewed the alphafriends song... sounds of the letters A-I again.

3. We played a matching game with the letters A-I. Every time we turned over a letter, we had to say the SOUND. He loved this game. We played it twice. I think he let me win the second time.

and now for the amazing part...............

4. JACOB READ ALL THESE SENTENCES!!!!!!!!! I'm not kidding!

The method -- take two sheets of white paper and cover everything except the letter Jacob is sounding out. When he gets the sounds of one word, show just that one word.

(He must be eating gluten free crackers as he is doing this. ;)

Repeat until he has sounded out each word, then show two words at a time.... then the whole sentence.

Basically he gets distracted and overwhelmed  when he sees too many words and letters. So covering them up helps. I explained this concept, and how it's totally fine to do whatever helps you.

After each sentence I said, "JACOB YOU JUST READ THAT!!!"

He was pretty proud of himself.

5. Jacob was so excited, in fact, he wanted me to video tape him reading them again, so his mom could see.

But once I turned on the camera, he got shy and his brain sorta closed a bit, and I could see it in his face. He suddenly couldn't read anything and was starting to go from a 0 frustration level to a 1, then a 2, and then a 3.....

(alert, alert!)

So I said, "Ok we are done. You are frustrated and that's ok. We are taking a break."

6. His anxiety came down immediately and he was fine. Instead, I read him a book about Polar Bears and some of our Calivn & Hobbes book that was sitting around.

I told him he had done GREAT today and had read those sentences.  He got to ride his bike home.

Lesson 9 - May 1

Today was pretty horrible.

Jacob came in a bad mood. He didn't want to do much of anything.

On those days, I just need to DO NOTHING. And be ok with it. Because sometimes Jacob's mind isn't open to teaching, and if he can't or won't open his mind, then I can't push it.

In many ways, Jacob is teaching me many lessons.

In church yesterday, we talked about perfectionism, and how it hurts us. I almost started crying, thinking about how Jacob thinks of himself as less than others because he can't read. But Heavenly Father really really loves him and would love him forever even if he never learned to read.

BUT... that doesn't make day to day life super easy. Maybe all it does is give us hope that all things are possible.

All that said... here is what happened during today's lesson:

1. We listened to the alphfriends song to review the sounds of A-I.He wasn't too interested (he usually likes it).

2. We spent a lot of the lesson outside on the driveway with sidewalk chalk. I wrote some sentences and tried to get Jacob to sound them out.

He was very resistant and just wanted to play and draw pictures. Sometimes I can coax him into sounding out words slowly, but today it wasn't happening.

It got to the point where I was extremely frustrated because Jacob wasn't even willing to TRY.  I excused myself and took a minute inside to gather my wits.

3. I came back outside and we were both frustated. He wanted to go home. He sat on the couch and cried and said many things....

"I wish words were never invented."
"I wish I could just stay in my room all the time."
"I pray everyday that I can read and it doesn't work."
"I wish I could just be a farmer so I wouldn't have to read."
"Everyone learns everything faster than me."
"I come here and go to therapy and it's not working."
and on and on.... 

I thought I had seen him frustrated before, but now I saw him practically on the bottom. 

Jacob was really in a bad negativity cycle. I know that cycle. They are really hard to come out of. He needed some time to stew and let his mind swirl until it could let go a bit. So he laid quietly on the couch while I attending to my two kids (who are usually asleep or quiet when he's here, but were needy just now.)

Seeing Jacob like that just broke my heart.

4. Finally I sat next to him and hugged him and said many things....

"It is so hard."
"I love you almost like I love my own kids."
"I will not give up on you, but you have to promise not to give up on me."
"It is so so so hard, and I'm sorry. It's not fair."
"Your mom would do ANYTHING IN THE WORLD FOR YOU."
"You are a special, special kid. You bring a strong, wonderful spirit to our home."
"This is not your fault. This is not your fault. Jacob, this is NOT YOUR FAULT." (repeat 10x)

Sometimes it's ok to hit bottom, because you realize --- I'm still alive down here, people love me, and I'm ok the way I am, and there is hope for the future. And you can only go up from there.

Jacob walked home. I was emotionally drained. But I still can't even fathom what he goes through on a day to day basis. 

Lesson 8 - April.... ?

We had a short lesson today.

We went over A-I of the alphafriends, listening to the song on YouTube.

Then we headed outside!

I had taped each of them (A-I) on the ground.

Then Jacob got on his POGO STICK!

When I said a sound, he would hop over to that letter.

It was hilarious.

He got every sound and letter combo right!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Lesson 7 - April 22, 2015

Jacob did so great today! 

1. I had him circle all the letter A's in this picture.

 He got them all.

 2. I had him do two fill in the blanks for the ABCs... the first one is the same as last lesson, and the second one is a new one with more blanks.... again his retention was extra good today.

3. We went over the song and letters of the Alphafriends that he learned last time, A-E. He remembered them pretty well.

4. We added F, G, H.

Fifi Fish
Gerdie Goose
Hattie Horse

5. One big thing we talked about with ALL the letters was how our mouths LOOK when we say the sounds. For example, when you say APPLE, for the A sound your mouth opens super wide. So I said a few things without making sound to see if he could guess. He could. He thinks reading lips might be a good skill. :)

And we said the sounds A-H while eating crackers! It was quite hilarious. But also a good visual. When you say CALLIE CAT you spit out crackers. It helps you remember how the C sounds.

6. Break time.

He got to dig in the dirt again. That's his favorite.

7. Using my Bananagrams letters, we spelled out some words and had him sound them out. He did great!

cat, bat, fat, hat
beg, bet

8. Then we went outside and threw the tennis ball around using these (what are these called?). He loooves these. He asks for these every lesson.

So today I held up a letter (The Alphfriends print outs of A-H) and he had to say the SOUND while he threw the ball, and then I said the same sound throwing it back.

It was fun!!! He got them all pretty quickly.

There are many letters he gets mixed up: Dudly Duck and Girdie Goose -- maybe because they are both birdlike? Also B and D and P but that is really common. We talk about how close each of them are, and that eventually it will happen -- he WILL learn them.

I told Jacob about 10 times how he did a great job! 
But he replies with, "No not really." 
And I say, "Yes, you did great!" 
And then he smiles. I hope he is gaining some confidence.