Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Self-Esteem

Our first mission when we began homeschooling was to rebuild Z's self-esteem. Our school system and years of bullying had pretty much deflated his ego. This was heartbreaking to us as Z had always been a cocky little shit!

We needed something that he could succeed at while we were putting together a curriculum and gathering materials for him. Since we had recently purchased a new computer, L suggested that Z rebuild our old computer for homeschooling and personal uses. With very little guidance from L, Z reformatted the hard drives, installed a writable CD drive that we had laying around, and installed HIS hardware (lego cam, digital camera and game controllers). L also guided Z through cleaning the interior of the cpu. Z then installed the software that he wanted on HIS computer and he was ready to fly. The only thing missing was a printer, which we ordered online. When the printer arrived, L was at work.and Z was antsy to install his new printer. Against my better judgement, I let him do it. Within an hour Z had unpacked the box and instruction manual (no small feat), hooked up the cables, installed the software, loaded the ink cartridges, ran a diagnostic test, and was happily printing his digital pictures. I was amazed!(So much for my "better judgement".) He couldn't wait for Dad to get home from work so he could show him his handiwork!

The other thing that Z was enthusiastic about learning was cooking. Unfortunately, in our society, cooking is becoming a dying art. We long ago decided that no child of ours was going to think that home cooking was something thrown together out of a box, bag, or can. The first day that Z was out of school he made omelets and fried potatoes for dinner. After completing this meal, he astutely came up with the idea that the most important part of making a meal come together was the prep work. He's become quite skilled at peeling and cutting vegetables. His pot stirring technique still needs a bit of practice; his first attempt at gravy making was a bit lumpy. The most important thing that Z has learned through cooking is that new skills improve with practice. Z amazed his Grandma last week when we went over there for dinner. She was making pizza and Z offered to cut up the toppings for her. Grandma sat down and let Z finish the pizzas. She couldn't believe how well he handled a knife! Now meal preparation goes a lot faster with an extra pair of hands helping.

What's the best part of all of this? We have our cocky little shit back!!

12 Comments:

At 5/11/2005 1:41 PM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

Excellent!

Cooking is indeed a lost art, as is baking. Pilsbury is doing no one any favours in my opinion. Z is learning real life skills that many kids don't have the opportunity to learn these days. Bravo to you, and Z!

This all sounds very Montessori. The next step might be, once he feels he's very confident, to try to have him teach his techniques or recipes to someone else who doesn't know them. This is something Montessori really believes in, that a child has really mastered something when he/she can teach it to someone else. And it would be a great confidence-booster, too; if he's a cocky little shit, as you put it, he'd probably love to show off!

 
At 5/11/2005 2:05 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Great idea!! Exactly the kind of suggestions I'm looking for. Next time he has a friend spend the night, they can make omelets for breakfast.
You're right about Pillsbury too. They actually have a MIX for the lemon bars we were discussing last week!

 
At 5/11/2005 3:16 PM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

Geez. Is nothing sacred? It's not like that kind of stuff is hard or time consuming to make, either.

 
At 5/11/2005 3:56 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

You think that's bad; how about Crock Pot Helper? Or better yet: Go Tatoes(2 fresh potatoes packaged in a little box w/instructions for microwaving a "perfect, steamy, baked potato")Smuckers also has frozen pb&j sandwiches with the crusts cut off(of course)!

 
At 5/11/2005 8:13 PM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

I have heard of the frozen pb&j sandwiches, and I just cannot believe how low we have sunk, and how low the producers of these atrocious items have sunk , too. Crock Pot Helper is utterly absurd.

And people wonder why we have an obesity epidemic, and a potential childhood diabetes epidemic. If you are too lazy to make your own pb&j, or if you cannot be bothered to make one for your child, you are a sad, sad excuse for a human being.

 
At 5/11/2005 8:34 PM, Blogger Lynda said...

I am glad you stopped by my place so I could find yours. Man, doesn't it seem weird that people just don't cook anymore? We do and we love it. Congrats to you and Z finding an excellent way to interact and learn.

 
At 5/12/2005 11:03 AM, Anonymous mark said...

I have a friend whose son has ts. Computers have been wonderful for him! Because there is always some new challenge and new stuff ot do, it channels hi sextra energy construcively, and has done wonders for his ability to concetrate and stay on task. he has become a 13 computer whiz, even helps his uncle out at his computer shop.

Sounds like cooking might also be something that would benefit him, I'll suggest it to his mom!

 
At 5/12/2005 11:06 AM, Anonymous mark said...

gotta review my comments more carefully...tht should be 13 yr old computer whiz

 
At 5/12/2005 7:33 PM, Anonymous Sagepaper said...

I hope this doesn't get guried, LOL. I envy you your commenters. I've read all your posts, and tried to comb my brain for relevant things.

While I did not have the full-blown versions, I had OCD traits episodically. They thought I might be a hyperactive child, the phrase back then. They ruled that out, however, because I was not symptomatic at home. There have been times, however, when I think I might have had some trouble with ADD.

Sometimes in college I would have to read the same paragraph five times. I learned on my own to try turning the textbook upside-down. That forces you to slow down and actually read. You can't easily skim read upside-down type. If you do get too good at that, there is always sideways. :)

I will write more another time. My husband just called up for dinner.

 
At 5/12/2005 9:56 PM, Anonymous Sagepaper said...

I have problems with executive function. I always have had. I was bewildered through elementary school. Other kids knew about homework assignments that were due, and knew about events that were planned, both during the day and as extra-curricular events. I generally didn't have a clue.

I have always had trouble with losing things, or more typically misplacing them. This has happened so much that I differentiate between losing and misplacing things. If it's misplaced, I will eventually be reunited with it. If it's lost, it's gone.

I can't handle conflicting instructions very well. I freeze up and don't know what to do. This has only been an active problem since I have been married.

My husband often wants four to seven things to be done right now. I take that literally, and shut-down. I am not capable of doing four to seven things right now. I could do them in sequence, or even do a little multi-tasking, but I can't do them all NOW.

I do well with lists. I don't always make complete lists, but if someone else makes a list of what they want, I can organize myself to do each of the items, and get the whole thing done efficiently.

To compensate for my problem of not remembering everything when I draft my own lists, I have created checksheets, kind of like work orders. That helps me think about all the most common things. Often, a listed item will remind me of something unusual that I need to write-in.

I have trouble with task sequencing. In normal day-today affairs, I just accept the absent-minded professor sort of functioning. I don't worry too much if I do three about-faces in a row in the middle of the kitchen trying to get to step one of a task. When it is important that I perform smoothly in sequence, I have no trouble writing out what to do.

I am disasterously inept at keeping my own calendar. This is so bad, in fact, that I no longer do it. My husband's office manager keeps my calendar, and sets all appointments for me. She even heads-off things I might forget.

For example, she set an appointment for my dog to get his teeth cleaned, and had the vet's office make a note in the chart that I am out of monthly heartworm preventive. I was relieved and bemused when she sent me an email about it. I had already forgotten all about the heartworm medicine.

I don't know if there is anything useful from my techniques as an adult. I will try to remember things I did as a kid, but the truth is I did not function very well as a child. I'll keep combing my memory, though.

 
At 5/13/2005 3:54 PM, Blogger SME said...

Way to go, cocky little shit! Since Z. won't try my spinich omelets, maybe he can whip up a breakfast for us the nex time you visit.

 
At 4/04/2006 5:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi tshsmom,

Iv'e been looking for great content like this,
it's hard to find some times ;-)
Your post Self-Esteem was an awesome read!
Thanks!

I'm building an article site on food.
( LOTS more than just a cooking site! )
I have all kinds of articles so far,
like kid cooking , just as an example.
If the mood strikes you, stop by, K?
I'm at: http://www.letscooktogether.net
Maybe we can talk about swapping some content :-D

Thanks again for the read!!
Brad.

 

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