Emiko and I finished the basic project book that came with the Arduino. The problem was that she was good at following the diagrams but had no idea what was really happening and wouldn’t be able to do anything other than follow them. So I found Exploring Arduino which goes through similar projects but explains in detail the circuits and programs. The explanation of voltages, currents, resistance, etc. went ok, but then we got to the programming. She had a very difficult time putting into practice the concept of a variable. I tried every way I could to explain it, but she didn’t and each with each attempt my voice got louder and louder. She teared up and was clearly frustrated and while we got through the exercise it wasn’t the best session we had ever had.
The next morning I kept replaying the events and what I remember most was that I had turned something that she thought was interesting and fun into the exact opposite. I really didn’t want her to lose interest in something because I had turned her off. I texted Erin to have Emiko call me when she was awake. When she called I apologized and she forgave me. I told her how sorry I was and that I didn’t want my being a bad teacher to prevent her from having fun and learning.
Since then I’ve asked her what I can do to be a better teacher. We’ve also done more projects and learned some difficult circuit and programming concepts. I’m going a lot slower and I’m not so focused on her understanding everything. She’ll gain that as she gets more exposure and if we can keep having fun she’ll keep wanting that exposure.
Me: What do you want to do tonight?
Emiko: Oh, let’s work on the robot! (That’s what she calls the Arduino since we are working toward a robot)
So we worked on a temperature sensor. It wasn’t super accurate, but she made it the readings go up and down by blowing on it. She also learned about Fahrenheit and Centigrade.
Me: Ok, 10 minutes till bed. What do you want to do? (Fully expecting her to ask for 10 minutes of TV)
Emiko: Let’s do the servo circuit!
That was shocking. So happy she is interested. Fun times ahead!
I’m far from the perfect father. I’m sure I violate conventional and new wisdom all the time. I’m not sure I agree with all that “wisdom” so I try to be aware of it, but it doesn’t usually doesn’t affect my day-to-day. However, there are some areas in which I know I need to improve. The number 1 is yelling / raising my voice. I have done this since I was a little kid. When situations frustrate me I raise my voice and after a certain level of frustration it turns to yelling.
I think I’ve made some strides in this area since Mari was diagnosed with Autism. It made me realize how it didn’t really help any situation, but it is such a long engrained habit that it is tough to break. One strategy that has helped me is to hug whichever girl I’m frustrated with before talking to her. I learned this strategy as a way to reset Mari when she was having sensory difficulties and it also works with Emiko, likely because it calms me down as much as anything.
Mari is a couple years from lessons but she learns by watching big sister.
This is the second time Emiko has swung her new clubs. First time at the range. She struggled a little with the length and weight, but should be fine by the beginning of summer. She still hit some good ones.
She was trying out the new putter as well. She was lining up each putt without me even reminding her.
Mari was just having fun and enjoying the sun.
Emiko and I worked on goals for this week. We went through her goals for the year and she picked out 3 to focus on this week. I then had her three measurable results to accomplish.
Flossing this morning turned into an opportunity to look at plaque under the microscope.
We also looked at some grey hair that did not belong to dad.
We finished her first project which was a blinking LED. I told her how to wire up the breadboard and she did that.
Then she uploaded the code to the Arduino. I explained a little bit about what was going on and let her experiment with changing values in the code to see how the blinking of the LED would be altered. Once we figured out what values did what, we commented the code.
When I got home from work we broke out the Christmas presents. Mari looked at some of the prepared slides under the microscope and I showed I her how to place them for viewing. Our plan is to look at some new things under the microscope every day.
Emiko and I broke out the Arduino. We read some basics about circuits and familiarized ourselves with all the boards and components. I downloaded the software and tomorrow we will do our first project.
I did a little more work with Emiko on goals. I didn’t have her do SMART goals, but I made her be a more specific in some cases and to think a about what it would take to accomplish some of them. We also agreed that we would review our goals every Sunday and plan to make progress on some of them each week.
I worked with the girls this afternoon on some goal setting. We all listed as many things as we could think of that we would like to do in 2014. Here is Mari’s list:
I love that she tries to spell words even if she doesn’t know them (ninga). We’ll correct them later, but just getting down what she wants to do was important today.
Tomorrow I’ll share Emiko’s list.