Sometimes, the kid blows my mind

Stroop Test

We’ve been having (yet more) struggles at school. But he’s happy. He goes to school without complaint, and I’m just relieved that he seems happy.

But he’s slipping academically. Still “on standard” for reading and maths (where he used to be years ahead), but falling behind in writing.

At the end of last term we had a chat to his teacher to try to work on some problem areas – one that was mentioned was figurative language.

Now, he’s been reading since he was four and a half, and I assumed he had a pretty good grasp of figurative language, so this was a surprise to me. Nevertheless, I took every opportunity to discuss figurative language where we found it, and also asked him to do a few “busywork” worksheets at about the right level. I still felt he understood the material without extra instruction.

Fast forward to tonight. We’ve decided to only speak in general terms about the events over the weekend in Charlottesville, only that people are being awful, and that he doesn’t need to know the details. He’s a highly sensitive soul, and sometimes he has nightmares over world events, so we don’t tell him everything, all the time.

I introduced him to the concept of cognitive dissonance, and how some people will continue to believe a comfortable lie, rather than accept a new truth that compromises their world view.

I then asked him to do a stroop test. He did really well, but admitted it was hard.

Then I turned the card upside down, and asked him to repeat the test. I asked if he found it easier the second time, he said, “yes, because the abstraction removes the context, and only shows the content”.

So then I freaked out a little. And then I asked…

“Can you think how that test, and our findings apply to figurative language, and why authors use it?”.

“By abstracting the content, the author can express a message that people might not want to see otherwise”.

Boom.

Harry Potter Themed 9th Birthday Party

Harry Potter 9th Birthday Party//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Guests were asked to arrive promptly for sorting into houses. They were then sent in for wand making (sticking washi tape and sparkles on to chopsticks), and then to Professor Moody for Defense Against the Dark Arts (Pin the Wand on a large poster of Harry).

Then they were sent outside to practice Wingardiam Leviosa (balacing a baloon on a wand tip), while waiting for Divination class.

Cheryl made a brilliant Professor Trelawney (albeit without the sherry fumes), and some kids loved her class so much they wanted to do it twice!

While Divination was in session for one house at a time, Brooke ran History of Magic (Harry Potter trivia), and Vish ran them ragged with outdoor games.

We then had snacks and cake and present opening, and finished up with a herbology class, putting Extract of Murtlap and Bubotuber Pus into small jars for potions lessons at home. Preferably in the bathtub!

A wonderful time was had by all the kids, and all of the adults were driven to gin. Thank you to my wonderful professors, and Angi who quietly helped where it was needed and helped everything to run smoothly. I have had some lovely thank you messages from parents, which make all the effort worthwhile (as well as having a happy kid!).