In a word, it was AWESOME! Elwood and I have established a bit of a routine, but nothing that inhibits spontaneity. He is interested in many subjects, but as you will see, is especially enamoured with technology.
On Tuesday, our first day together, we decided to try to make an old mini laptop with a broken screen serviceable, again. I also own a very old flat screen from a desk top I purchased in 2001 when I went back to college. A few years ago, we threw the tower into the hazardous waste bin, but saved the screen. I have used it to play movies from my laptop, so there are two screens and kids can crowd around both sides. It has definitely come in handy over the years.
So Elwood hooked the old laptop to the old flat screen monitor and it worked! Only the broken screen was in the way. So, we decided to take the broken lid/screen off the laptop. Elwood took out his screwdrivers and proceeded to take the back off the computer. Then he got stuck; the frame around the back wouldn't come off. He said we had to take the hard drive out...well, I wasn't comfortable with that...this is a working laptop after all. We decided to call the Computer Mechanic the next day and see if he would help us. In the meantime, we looked at the Khan Academy website (very cool, look it up), drew part of a mural, made microwave popcorn with a regular brown paper lunch bag, walked to the library (it was very cold) and talked a lot. Yes, we found plenty to keep us occupied and happy.
On Wednesday, we called the Computer Mechanics as soon as they opened and he told us to walk on over. Eric (the Computer Mechanic) started taking apart the laptop, (yes, he did need to remove the hard drive among a few other things) and talked Elwood through the whole process, explaining each part and its function as he took it out. After about half an hour, he was able to take the lid/screen off the body of the computer. Then it was Elwood's turn to put it all back together! He also told us that he would be building three computers next week and Elwood would be welcome to come and “help”/watch. The kid was pretty happy! How do you top an experience like that? Well, he came back to the Center and signed up with Khan Academy and proceeded to find a computer programming tutorial. And then my friend, Noel, showed up and did a spontaneous keyboard/music lesson with him (he told me the day before that he would like to learn how to play piano). Yup, another amazing day under his belt.
Thursday was a bit more mundane. He noodled on the keyboard and on the Khan Academy programming tutorial, watched the amazing Sugata Mitra Ted Talk, created a vocab list, finished a Suduko, made more microwave popcorn, and watched a VSAUCE You Tube video (something else he showed me. VSAUCE does really cool videos that are sort of science based stuff). Oh, we also took a walk to the Post Office with plans to continue to the SLU Book Store, but turned around after checking the mail because it was too COLD.
I can only imagine what next week will bring!
If you know of anyone who would like to join Elwood and me in this grand adventure, please send them our way.
I am considering starting an after-school program, because we are open till 4:00 and the local schools get out around 2:30. If you know someone who may be interested in something like that, pass on our info.