One of the benefits of homeschooling is that we have time for things like therapeutic riding. Matthew loves riding horses (he's ridden with Kiwanis during summer camp), and while he is on the horse, he is calm and focused. The goal is for him to eventually ride independently with this stable, Saddle Up Riding Club. Here are some photos and a short video of his first day riding Flip:
After reading about the benefits of using Legos for children with autism (primarily social skills building), I decided to try to incorporate Legos into some of our lessons. This week, we were studying Florida history, so after discussing the Spanish settlement at St. Augustine and the eventual colonization of Florida by the English, we specifically studied Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest stone fort in the United States.
Using photos, we studied its rooms, shape and structure as a team. Then Matthew -- with help from me -- drew a simple "blueprint" of the fort on graph paper, measuring the different dimensions for the various parts of the structure. We brainstormed for the parts we might need -- and all the while Matthew was proclaiming how it was "impossible" to build, because he "knows Legos" and we couldn't make the shapes we needed.
We started to build the basic outline using Legos, and Matthew completely melted down. It was "impossible" and he didn't want to start because he would be frustrated because we couldn't do it. It took nearly half hour of alternating between wheedling, cajoling and ordering before he would even sit down to try.
Once he got started, however, it was amazing to watch the enthusiasm. He kept to the scale of the blueprint when building the base, then built up the main part of the structure and included a jail, weaponry and sleeping quarters. The entrance is arched, his idea. We really didn't have pieces to build up the jutting parapets, so we made their general shape at the base and then left them alone. At one point, something we were doing wasn't working, so we brainstormed for ideas and he came up with the change we eventually used to finish the building.
Here's a photo of the real fort, followed by photos of Matthew's attempt:
This morning, he told me that he is "really proud" of his fort.