February 26, 2008

New Strategy (& a "young Nevin" story)

As important as the curriculum, as important as learning style, as important as teaching style........ ultimately...... we often crash into motivation!   Soooo......  we have started a new strategy that will hopefully tap one of Nevin's most motivating things.   Movies/cartoons.

Now....... you need to keep this under your hat....... we have cable tv.   We have the Disney channel, we have the cartoon network and Nickelodeon.   But........ Nevin doesn't know it.   Shhh...... we've had it for a few weeks.  I have carefully taken those channels off of our TV's so that no one will accidently scan past those channels and let the cat out of the bag (because if Nevin knew we had them..... all he'd have to do is enter the channel numbers on his remote).

In the negotiation phase of deciding to get extended cable, Kevin swore on his life that we would never tell Nevin we have it.    In the past, those channels became a huge source of conflict.  Nevin would grow roots into the floor in front of the TV and it would take nothing less than a chainsaw to remove him!  Plus, he of course, wants to watch all of the cartoons that are not "approved" by current "ruling authority" of this house.  (And believe me...... there are many, so many, it was hard to keep the "not approved" list current.)  Thus it was easiest to just not subscribe.

So, on to our new strategy!!   We now have a DVD recorder with a hard drive....... so I have it set to record the approved things from the "non-existent" channels.  ;)  Then I copy them to DVD's (I found a GREAT deal on 100 DVD's...... with an instant rebate at OfficeMax).    If Nevin were to watch them from the hard drive, I think he might figure out that we have those cable channels.    

So we now have a huge stack of 30 minute DVD's that Nevin can only earn by doing school!  (I'm so proud of myself, I can hardly stand it).   The number of DVD's  he earns are dependent on the number of "sessions" of school we have in a day.  

Today was our first day.   So cool.   Before this new strategy, I had to be very creative in transitioning to school work and then keeping him engaged, in order to get lot's done.  Sometimes it felt like our time was just too long, but I knew I'd have a hard time getting him back, if I gave him a break....... because he would consider school "finished".

But now....... he earns a DVD and gets to take a 3o minute break watching the cartoon.   Then he comes back and wants to do another session of school so that can earn another DVD break!  WooHoo........ we got so much done today!    

Hopefully he doesn't figure out a "work-around".   Like when he was little, when I thought I was so smart and foiled his  "escapes".    

alert: ** young Nevin story**
First, a little background.  When Nevin was little, he was a RUNNER.   Anyone who knew Nevin when he was little, knows exactly what I mean.   He never stopped and would frequently escape from the house.   Everyone (especially all the kids) in the neighborhood, knew that if we put out a "Nevin alert" it meant we couldn't find him and we needed to search.  The neighborhood was wonderful, everyone would drop everything and head different directions to find Nevin.  We learned to not search the house first, because he was so fast....... we needed to get outside and search the perimeter to see if we could catch a glimpse of his "dust" so to speak....... because if we spent any extra minutes in the house looking...... he would be long gone (and experience proved he was not usually in the house).   In Nevin's mind there were no limits...... he would run, enter strangers houses, garages, etc.   He didn't usually have a destination in mind, it was the "journey", the "run" that mattered.     In fact, that's how we knew he could hear, because if you saw him "on the run" and called to him, he would speed up.

So on to my foiled "smartness"  :)    We owned every childproofing device available at the time.   And we had resorted to installing locks (the drop hook latch type) at the top of each exit door (and interior door, for that matter).  But with two older siblings playing inside/outside...... it meant I was spending my whole day answering the door...... "I need my doll..... I need my toys..... I need to go to the bathroom...... I need a drink.....  etc. etc.).    Sooo, I got my brain working and I had a brilliant idea!   We had Nolan.... the next shortest person to Nevin..... come to the front door and had him stretch on tiptoes and reach as far up as he could...... and THAT is where we installed the doorknob on the screen door.    Now, I knew that Nevin could figure out how to move a chair to something out of his reach (that's how he got the car keys and tried to start the car at three in the morning..... but that's a story for another day), but we lived in a split foyer and I knew he wouldn't be able to get a chair moved to the landing to get to the high door knob.   I was SO proud of myself....... dilemma solved!    I watched smugly as Nevin went to the front door and tried to reach the knob.   He showed every resemblance to an olympic jumper..... except..... thank goodness his feet didn't leave the floor yet (and I duly noted..... NOT to work on jumping).   Then, he "gave up" and came back up the stairs.   I was actually quite surprised that I didn't hear any fussing about it.   .................Then, I noticed him coming down the hall............. with his sister's baton in his hand......... still confused, I watched as he went down the stairs, used the baton to push up the latch and wave at me as he went out the door!!     Sooo...... for a few years, all "long" things were outlawed in the house.  No batons, no tennis racquets, no baseball bats, no yardsticks, etc.   

So..... I wait..... and hope that Nevin doesn't figure out a "work around" for our latest strategy.

p.s. I'm sure there were many people; mailmen, salesmen, etc. who puzzled over a front door knob that was installed two feet from the top of the door! (in fact, if you visit, you'll see the remnant of filled holes where it used to be installed.)


Amy, a redeemed Sheep said...

I have said it before and I will say 100xs more in the future...YOU ARE BRILLIANT!!!! Brilliant, I say! BRILLIANT!!!!

Oh, the memories of Nevin the runner. Whew! He was F~A~S~T!!

New Teaching Mom said...

That is an awesome idea, Laurie. I love the way your mind works. I wouldn't have thought of that in a million years. And for the younger Nevin running days, that is hilarious!

Renna said...

I concur with Amy, you are brilliant!

And it would seem you need to be in order to stay one step ahead of Nevin! ;-Þ