Monday, August 16, 2010
Greek Mythology - or is it "miss-ology"?
A few years ago I did a unit on mythology as part of our homeschool curriculum. We learned about Greek mythology as well as mythology that originated in various other parts of the world. Although I found some of the stories to be kind of creepy at times, there's no question that it held the interest of my children. Still, when you have struggling learners even interesting materials tend to be remembered more in general terms than with specific details. My daughter, Beckie, who has AD/HD also has working memory challenges. Allowing her to draw some of the mythological characters helped her to keep them all straight in her mind. She's very creative and artistic, so drawing appealed to her and was a good challenge as she attempted to sketch some very unique creatures. Children with learning differences often struggle to generalize information they have learned. Admittedly, there's not a high need for generalizing information gleaned from Greek mythology so I didn't worry about it too much. I just wanted my children to have a basic understanding and a frame of reference when mythological characters were mentioned in literature and other media. I also taught my children about foreshadowing in literature, so one day when I was reading aloud to Beckie from a non-mythology book I paused and asked her a question about what was read. She made a good prediction about what might happen later on in the story, and I asked her how she figured that out in hopes that she would respond that she recognized the foreshadowing that had just occurred. Instead, Beckie proudly announced, "I'm Cyclops!" I was baffled for a minute, and sat there in stunned silence trying to figure out where that answer came from. Since she does not have one eye in the middle of her forehead and is actually quite lovely, to describe her as "Cyclops" clearly didn't fit. I could not recall that Cyclops were known for recognizing foreshadowing, either. As I rolled possibilities around in my head, an idea struck me and I asked Beckie, "Do you maybe mean 'psychic'?" and she laughed and said that was it. She couldn't recall the term "foreshadowing", so pulled up a word that sort of fit. I love my Beckie for not being afraid to give things her best shot. She's confident and can laugh at herself, even as she boldly attempts to answer questions that she does not have a precise answer for. Let's hear it for all the children like Beckie who try and try again, and who don't let mistakes prevent them from offering their answers and making contributions.