Saturday, 12 May 2012

Don't judge a book by its cover! OR All is not as it seems!

Measuring the hen enclosure
I came home from ferrying the children around today and to my consternation realised that my autistic son who has Aspergers syndrome had spent virtually the whole day on the X box with his friend playing their new Minecraft game. He was so engrossed he had missed his lunch and forgotten to drink the drink his sister had given him.
Having extricated him from his game I suggested he leave screens for a while and we ate tea as a family and spent the evening together. At bath time I was talking to my son about his brother who had walked 36 miles in a sponsored walk that day. Although he had just fallen short of the full forty miles it was his personal best. His previous longest walk being 16 miles for his Duke of Edinburgh."Oh" said my son. "He did more than half again then". I asked how he knew and he explained he had been doing maths all day in calculating the amount of bricks he needed to build his Mansion on Minecraft.It transpired that he had been practising his number bonds to help him calculate more quickly and discovering that his building looked more ascetically pleasing when it was symmetrical which meant using even numbers rather than odd!
My son has always felt that maths is his weak point and he commented that "he supposed everyone else his age would already have worked their bonds out". I pointed out that whilst they would have been taught to memorise them at school a lot earlier than him they would not have fathomed out for themselves how to achieve the answer they needed and that the whole point of home education was to learn for yourself how to do things when you needed them,
We then discussed John Steinbeck and the book that his elder brother is doing for GCSE. I explained that this was an example of something the government insisted children be taught although it may not be relevant to them in later life. I explained that I had been looking into the historical context of the book which was set in California in the 1930's.My son immediately told me about The Depression, the fact that it was the run up to World war 2 and that Roosevelt was the president. We also discussed the effects of the industrial revolution on the farm workers. It seemed that my son already knew more than his elder brother about the impact life in the 1930's had on the author without him opening a revision book or writing an essay.Yet again his general knowledge dumbfounded me! What could have been regarded as a wasted day at first glance had borne much fruit!

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