As some of you know Madison has been homeschooled for the last several years. Math skills have always been challenging. Honestly, its very easy to lose them when your world is orbiting art and storytelling for hours and hours each day. And its not an attention deficit, its a deeply embedded perseveration that brings a tremendous amount of joy to her. A dilemma where conventional treatment would tell me to shut it down and "force" it for the sake of getting her through the motions and expectations.
Aside from reviewing math basics with colored mediums like pencil, marker, etc, and crafty fun workbooks like Kumon, I've relied on commerce to help review basic math skills. And I've prioritized this skill because more than wanting her to learn high school level math, I want her to be able to handle money as best as she can, and not be taken advantage of when I'm not around, a problem so many people on the spectrum are subject to. Right now, for example its not realistic to traditionally teach her "algebra" and injecting letters anywhere near numbers as a drilling practice. To Madison, letters have no business in math. "No a-b" she says. And she rejects word problems as an exercise. What she doesn't realize is that business transactions are basically word problems, but we'll avoid such language!
I want her to be able to go into a store or for a cup of coffee or tea, and check out on her own. I want to give her some more independence. Handling money is so important. Receiving money at comic cons and vendor fairs and being able to give the correct amount of change back is a life skill she'll always need. All, still a work in progress. We practice while going shopping for art supplies but frustration I commonly come across is the way in which cashiers rush people through, often saying "Can I help you" or "Next" to the person behind Madison....as they are handing her change. They haven't even completed the transaction! Very irritating...but I hold it together! The good thing is that a couple of staff members at some stores recognize Madison, or just kind of "know" so they do give her some time to gather her money and hopefully calculate the correct change. Honesty, a majority of the time she can't, but she can at least go through the motions of the back and forth conversation, using her coupon on her phone and handing over a sufficient amount of money. But then there are some that just push her along and seem cold. I guess that's retail! But, we go back because she likes those stores.
We often go to Blick Art Materials in Paramus NJ. They have the best supply of Copic markers, ink refills and pencils. Madison is very good at making her lists, (of course) complete with her numbered shades and needed nibs. Copics, for example are each anywhere from six to 9 dollars each, and sometimes they're discounted when you buy 4 or 5 at a time. So, this one time, we're at Blick, and the employee unlocks the marker case, and for about 15 minutes Madison is PILING markers and ink refills into her basket. And I'm cringing because I know Madison has a certain amount of cash with her and I REALLY want her to do this transaction on her own. But I'm sitting far away, but just close enough to see her because, you know..... I don't want to hover and have her tell me to "get over there!" We get to the register and I'm expecting to pay the remainder or use my card for it all. The total was pennies above the cash Madison had in her pocket! I'm thinking it was either dumb luck or she calculated that somewhere between New York and New Jersey on the ride down there! Either way, she showed me! That hasn't really happened again, but we've come close.
If you've ever watched The Office, its like Kevin calculating the cost of an obscene amount of pies perfectly. If you haven't, Madison highly recommends it!
And now we're off to specifically buy Yarka Saint Petersburg 36 Count Watercolors. Cash in hand....wish us luck!