In Which We Introduce Ourselves – July 29, 2014

I am a mom. My son is 24 and he has autism. He is non-verbal. This blog is about our learning-at-home program.

About 9 years ago, while working with an experienced educational consultant, I was asked, “what facts does your son know?” Seriously? I couldn’t think of any facts that he might know. Every night I read little Disney books to him and nursery rhymes, but facts? I didn’t think my son was either interested in facts or capable of understanding facts. The stunned look on my face provoked the consultant to say, “Your son wants to know facts! Here, read aloud the first two paragraphs of this!”. She handed me an old science textbook, and turned to a page on dinosaurs. I took a look, gulped, and thought, “well now she will see – here comes an epic fail”.

Here is what happened: My son and I sat next to each other as I began to read the dry material. Within seconds, my son was glued to my side, pouring over the page, drinking in the information. Two paragraphs were not enough for him, I had to read more and more, and the implication was sobering – I had been depriving a curious mind. My son wanted to learn facts! This was our start.

What this had evolved into: every night, my son and I set up our STORIES AND STUDIES center on his big bed. We have comfortable back supporting pillows and we place a sleek, portable desktop over his legs and we get to work. The first thing that happens is that he squeals with delight for about 3 minutes, and then we are off!

Our nightly plan –

we write
we learn new things
we read novels
we read poems
we listen to music (mostly classical)

Welcome to the best part of my day!

– Jane BH


All words posted on this blog are the property of Jane BH unless otherwise noted, and may not be reproduced elsewhere without express permission. Please do not reproduce my words on your own site unless you have asked me first.


In Which We Explain Our “Stories and Studies” Nightly Agenda

We Write – this takes so many different forms. Sometimes I ask my son about something we learned the night before. Sometimes I set up math problems. Sometimes I ask him about somebody in the family. Sometimes I ask him how he is feeling. Sometimes he selects our classical music program for the evening. Sometimes we practice handwriting. We work with pen and paper and we also use a wonderful app on our iPad. This is the time slot where I have taught him how to take a true/false test, a multiple-choice test, a matching test.

We Learn New Things – we set aside the desk top and open the books. We usually have two academic subjects going on. Each academic unit lasts about two weeks. We supplement the books with our iPad and a big globe

We Read Novels – we usually have two novels going. I read aloud. If the book doesn’t hold our attention, we stop reading it. If we love the book, we may let a year go by and then we enjoy it again.

We Read Poems – well, this is pretty self explanatory.

We Listen to Music – most of our study units last about 2 weeks, and this is what I thought would happen with our classical music unit. But this subject has proved so interesting that we have been on it for almost 3 years.

Background story – I had purchased a booklet that included posters of 16 classical composers. By day two, it occurred to me that it was ridiculous to read about composers without listening to their music, so I learned how to research music, purchase it, download it into an iTunes file, and then transfer it to my iPod. We have now listened to just under 500 compositions.

We listen to three compositions every night, and every night of the week has a music theme: composer spotlight, dance and march music, virtuoso night, etc. We might have a theme night, like “clocks” and then listen to music of different classical periods that have titles that refer to clocks (Haydn’s “The Clock” Symphony, Bizet’s “Carillon” from L’Arlesienne, LeRoy Anderson’s “Syncopated Clock”). Here is what we don’t do: listen to music in chronological order. What is the fun in that?

Welcome to the best part of my day!

– Jane BH



  1. Jane – this is all so fascinating. You and your son are my new heroes! I never saw this blog before but now that I’ve read it, I am glued to the stories! Your love, compassion and patience are a source of inspiration to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You had sent this web site to me in your last Christmas card (and procrastinator that I am), I am just now reviewing my cards from last year and came across this. I am so very thrilled for Ben ! It is delightful what you and Ben are doing. Love, Linda


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