New Field Trips and the Last Day of School

Ryan has still been very interested in talking to employees in stores.  The problem was that when we got to a store, it became hard to think of questions on the fly and all of the distractions made it harder to organize his thoughts in a new environment.  We decided that it would be best to come up with 5 interview questions beforehand that could be tailored to most places that we would be talking to employees at.  Ryan came up with these questions:

1. REALLY WANT TO KNOW HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT WORKING HERE.

2. UNDERSTAND I AM INTERESTED IN WHAT A TYPICAL DAY IS LIKE FOR YOU.

3. WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR EAGER ACCOUNTABILITY ABOUT YOUR JOB?

4. CALLING IT CARING TO KNOW THE WORST PART OF YOUR JOB.

5. REALLY WISHING TO FIND OUT ABOUT YOUR IDEAS FOR IMPROVING THE STORE.

On a whim, we went to another Home Depot store (still his favorite) and since it was not too busy, we were able to ask some employees his questions.

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Ryan with some of the employees the he interviewed at Home Depot.

I was still a teacher on a mission to get Ryan some more behind the scenes tours.  I approached our local Kroger store and asked if it would be possible for Ryan to get a tour of the store and to find out how a grocery store works.  When I spoke to the customer service desk, I was then referred to a manager.  The manager informed me that I would have to talk to corporate.  Well, anyone who knows me realizes that I am not so good at taking “no” for an answer (when it is a worthwhile cause), so I got home and called the corporate office.  We eventually scheduled a tour for Wednesday, June 1st at 10am with an employee named Stephanie.

Ryan was very excited about the tour.  We arrived and went to the Customer Service counter.  We explained why we were there and told them we were here to see Stephanie.  We were then told that Stephanie was not working today and that another manager could take us around (and he seemed very nice but he was the only one there and I didn’t want Ryan to not have the full experience) so we left our contact information and left disappointed.  Since it was Wednesday and I had the cleaning service at our home, we had to kill some time.  We went up to Keller Pointe to sign Grace up for Basketball Camp.  I had tried to do it online but couldn’t figure out how (I learned that you had to have an account) and the phone lines were busy.  It was something to do to kill time, so we went.

We were greeted by some employees at the front desk.  I explained to them about signing Grace up and then an idea popped into my head.  The employees seemed kind so I explained to them about what happened at Kroger and asked them if Ryan could interview them.  They enthusiastically agreed and we spent about 20 minutes with them.  Ryan really enjoyed it and took to a young lady named Paige who was very interested in how he was communicating.

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Ryan behind the desk with Paige and Kristina at Keller Pointe.

While we were there, I had gotten a phone call from a local number but I didn’t answer it because we were busy.  As we were driving around, I listened to the voicemail, and it turns out it was Stephanie from Kroger!  Apparently, she was there the whole time, but the front desk thought that I was talking about another Stephanie (apparently there are like 5 Stephanies that work there…)  She wanted to see if we could come back that day for the tour.  By this time, it was close to lunch time and I knew that Ryan was hungry, so I told her that we would stop for lunch and then head that way.

We got there and Stephanie greeted us.  She began the tour and we started in the Bakery where we spoke to Dionne.  She was very kind and I shared with her Ryan’s five interview questions.  We then spoke with Shaun in the meat department and interviewed him too.  I mentioned to Ryan that we should ask Shaun about his favorite meat to grill.  Ryan’s reply was: NOT SURE.  I REALLY LIKE CHICKEN.  (He is on a chicken kick for now because he had just asked for and eaten chicken for lunch.)

We then met B.J. in the specialty cheese area.  She offered Ryan some samples (even one that tasted like pizza) but he has some issues with texture and temperature and although he wanted to try them he just wasn’t able to overcome the sensory issues.

Stephanie took us in the back to the storeroom.  I was thrilled about this because ever since Ryan was little, he has been fascinated with storerooms and their doors (the swinging ones).  I was sure he would be excited, but he was actually acting nervous and scared.  He had a death grip on my hand and was walking on his tip toes.

I did ask him today about it and he spelled:  HARD TO SAY.  REALLY UNSURE IT WAS SAFE TO BE BACK THERE.

“But there were other employees back there and I was with you, so I don’t think that there was a need to be nervous.”

KIND OF CAN’T HELP IT.

We finished going around the rest of the store and we asked Stephanie his interview questions too.  It seems that most of the employees at Kroger feel as though more staffing is what is needed for the store to improve.

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Ryan and Stephanie in the entryway at Kroger.

We went upstairs and checked out the view of the entire store from the offices and we saw the conference room, the break room, and the training room.

Ryan was pretty tired by the end of the tour and he spelled: REALLY TIRED OF SPELLING. So we called it a day.  He spelled CARING TO SAY THANK YOU.

He wanted to talk about his day after we got home, but he seemed too tired as he was just spelling repetitive words.  I asked him about it today.

Ryan spelled:  CALLING IT A BIT LIKE ACADEMICS SUFFER WITH THESE TRIPS.

I told Ryan that Soma says that we need to work on other skills besides academics and that it is important that he can function in the community and speak to others and that he had to come up with the interview questions (which was an assignment) and that he learned a lot about a grocery store.

CARING TO SAY THAT YOU ARE CORRECT.

 

*****

Since it was the last day of school and Grace had a short day, we had a short day too.  We had Best Friends Book Club, CNN Student News, and then a lesson on poetry.  I selected the poem The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.

 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I chose this poem for a number of reasons.  We talked about it and did our lesson and I asked Ryan why he thought that I chose the poem.  He spelled:  NOT SURE.
I explained that my seventh grade English teacher, Mrs. Deeds (who I am friends with on Facebook!), had us memorize this poem.  I really love it and that I thought that it was appropriate for our school year as we “took the road less traveled” by homeschooling.  I told him that he could have easily gone to school and zoned out and just done babyish work and I could have easily allowed that and focused on other responsibilities, but we chose to homeschool and to challenge his mind.  We had to figure out our path along the way for what worked and what didn’t.
Ryan’s response:  CALLING IT BRILLIANT.
I asked, “Any last thoughts for the school year?”
GEARING UP FOR SUMMER SCHOOL.

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