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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Opportunities Knock at the Strangest Times

So tonight, while NOBODY was sleeping, I decided to pull out the art. I've been promising Kira for days that we would do art, but I've not been well and haven't felt like dealing with any art time. Since I haven't set up my art center, she can't do art without a high degree of involvement from me.

Well, I took a nap this afternoon when Randall got home. I didn't get up until 6:30 - which turned out to be a good thing because Risa decided to have a very late night. It's nearly 1:30 in the morning and she finally went to sleep about an hour ago.

We tried to divide and conquer by sending Risa to bed with Randall while Kira and I spent some time sitting on the couch with for a bit of one-on-one school and art time. We did some finger painting - Colorwonders style - and then began working through a new workbook about the different countries across the world.

Near the end, we came across a page with different types of crowns. I decided - at 9:30 at night - that making crowns was a good idea. Please do not ask me why I thought this would be a good idea. I really do not know. However, Kira had so much fun making her crown (with help from me), and Angel - the 18 yr old - even had to join in and make a crown of her very own.

Well, after our crowns were finished, I sent Kira off to bed with Randall and I took Risa - who decided that sleep would be optional tonight - and she got to make herself a crown, too. She also got to finger paint and use the Colorwonders markers. She prefers the markers for some odd reason. Great fun was had by all.

Then, of course, the son-in-law felt that he could not be left out of all this attention getting. So, much to my surprise, he approaches me with an Algebra book in hand and asks if I would be willing to help him out a bit. Now, understand that he dropped out of school in the 9th grade and has been incredibly resistant to any type of learning.

This was a HUGE surprise and I'm still reeling from it - not quite sure what has come over him. One thing I have learned, though, is that you take these opportunities when they come, no matter how inconvenient they may be. You absolutely can not refuse to offer assistance - even at midnight - to the willing learner.

So found myself sitting on my sofa teaching orders of operation to a suddenly enthralled 20 yr old boy who swears he hates math. Much to HIS surprise, he had fun playing with my coke bottle tops and working out Algebra problems with the help of a bit of manipulatives. He even declared that he was taking the book to his room where he would continue to work on this newly developing skill.

I know that if I had refused, he would not have returned tomorrow and if I tried to engage him tomorrow he would have balked. By ignoring the inconvenient time, I was able to teach him in a way that he fully understands and in a way that left him feeling capable and intelligent - not stupid, as he was so often declared to be by those who should have been teaching him in grade school. Perhaps now he realizes that learning is possible for him and can also be fun instead of boring drudgery.

Now I'm overly wired and still awake from my late nap. I'm also buzzed by my previously mentioned teaching accomplishments. I figured now was a good time to share my thoughts, even though it is late and all my readers are probably sleeping - unless you happen to be in Australia. I'm not sure what the time zone is there - but YOU might just be awake.


"Lisa" said...

I am a little overwhelmed at all it takes to be a good parent and I don't have children. I don't know if I have the patience to stay up teaching at midnight. I need my beauty rest.