Monday, July 27, 2009
My children, like many who struggle with attention challenges, are very bright. This may not be the first impression they give, but they are smart in many ways and have learned to predict and anticipate adult expectations at times. For example, when my children have been to a friend's house or basically any activity where they've been out of my sight for five minutes or more, they know I will ask them what they've been up to. (I think of it as my "homeschooler hover"!) I noticed that over time they began to develop certain default answers they fell back on when they'd been in Sunday school or at AWANA. Even if they hadn't been paying attention, they managed to come up with some general answers they hoped were close enough to satisfy Mom's inquiring mind. If I asked them about the Sunday school lesson and what they had learned that day, they would respond with "Jesus?" When asked for a bit more detail they would add, "God? The Bible?" all with a hopeful expression on their faces, a questioning intonation, and a clear wish that their guesses would be accurate this time. I have to give them credit for selecting default answers that have a good probability of being correct given the context. It's a strategy I encourage them to use during schoolwork or test taking. I've taught them to utilize context clues, prior experience, and choose what seems to be the best answer based on what they know. By offering me their default answers, I'm going to recognize that they are generalizing a strategy rather than focus on the fact that they weren't highly attentive and are just taking their best shot at a response. Hey, they're going to be right some of the time, and they are trying!