Friday, June 1, 2007

Once in A Blue Moon & Summer Reading

Mystery solved!

I understand now why Bruce suddenly decided that we are ready to redo the flooring in the whole house.

It was sheer lunacy! That's right. Last night, May 31, 2007 was one of those relatively rare lunar events. It was a blue moon. N. tells me that a "blue moon" means the second full moon in a month.

Have you ever heard the phrase "once in a blue moon."

Getting a husband to actually suggest that "maybe now we ought to do the floors" is a "once in a blue moon occurence.

Today is one of Bruce's 9-80 days.

At Sandia, certain jobs, especially scientists and technical staff jobs, can choose to work 80 hours over 9 days--thus having every other Friday off.

Bruce is taking advantage of his 9-80 day today by touching up his paint jobs on the rocking Adirondack chairs that are destined--finally!--for the front porch. They look pretty good, don't they?

N. has also started to do something rare on the Blue Moon. When we made our weekly library trip yesterday, he signed up for the summer reading program they do every summer.

He has not done that before. Generally, although he reads, he has not been interested in the summer program at the library. I am not sure whether it is the weekly programs they have for teens--such as a class on fractals, a talk about wolves, etc.--or if he likes the prizes--or if he just feels that it was too school-like in the past, but he signed up! He did clarify that he could read what he wanted for the program, though. He remembers the forced fiction reading of his elementary years.

Whether he reads in the easy chair by the window, or in his reading spot in the "jack" pine out front, he has really taken to the idea of making a "life list" of worthy books and recording a certain number of reading hours a day.

At any rate here are the books for this week:

The Legend of Thunderfoot by Bill Wallace (fiction)

Marlfox by Brian Jacques (fiction)

Three Among the Wolves by Helen Thayer (non-fiction)

Talking to Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (fiction)

The Complete Guide to Fly-Fishing Second Edition by Tom McNally (non-fiction)

Isn't it interesting that left to himself, N. has actually chosen three fiction books?

Throughout the year, my policy has been to recommend certain books but to leave N.'s reading choices to him. I don't want to be told what to read and when. Neither does N. However, our read alouds are mutually chosen, and often have something to do with what he is studying. Over the years, his free-reading has mostly been non-fiction. For our read-alouds, I have chosen a lot of fiction to balance it. Fiction, especially novels, can be difficult for kids with AS. They have to be taught to think about character development and motivation and the purpose of conflict in these books. I think that by allowing a liberal use of comic books and graphic novels, which have an iconic formula for emotions and motivation, plus reading aloud to him with expression and stops for discussion, N. has moved from needing the formulaic illustration of these elements to using the verbal descriptions written in novels.

So now he is choosing to read the novels independently because he has developed understandings that he didn't have before. And he has done it relatively effortlessly, whereas the worksheet and drill approach they used in school simply made him hate the idea of reading fiction at all.


christinemm said...

Hi Elisheva,
I had not yet blogged about that issue of the censored post from the Carnival of Homeschooling. I have plenty to say but was too busy back then to polish my blog draft to publish it.

First, I now can't find the blog that was the source of the problem. I remember reading it back when it first was published but now it looks like the blog was deleted. It was School of Thought, wasn't it?

I linked through from the CoH at The Lilting House and it goes to a dead end.

Also I was curious where did you see that the HomeSchoolBlogger is not going to host the CoH anymore?

If I had your private email I'd tell you a story but as of right now I'm keeping quiet on it on the blogosphere. So if you want to hear it email me by emailing me at my email address which is inside my blog profile!

Melora said...

Yay Bruce! Those chairs are beautiful, and look comfortable as well. I am really looking forward to having porch chairs someday. (Does your porch face your hillside, so you will be able to sit back and admire your terraced slope?)

How wonderful that N. is excited about his summer reading! T. was pretty pleased too when I told him that he would be able earn a prize (the girl at the checkout desk said she thought it might be a book!) in addition to the computer time he is already earning for reading. Sounds like N. has a good list (though the only one I've read is the Patricia Wrede book) with a nice mix of fiction and non-fiction. I'm impressed that he plans to make a list direct his reading to worthy books. I've always meant to do this, but never have.

We choose our read-alouds together too, and T. has always vetoed anything that looks history related. Maybe he will outgrow that?
I think that your approach has allowed N. to come to appreciate fiction. Well done!