I taught him the how-to-reverse-it by rote, relatively, after much, much yowling. He didn't want to "do the pattern" for each problem ("do the pattern" = n - 0 = n, n - 1 = o, n - 2 = p, n - 3 = q, ...) and wanted to think about it, but was getting balky on using the pattern to check his guesses/thoughts. I told him that he could use the pattern or go to the corner, as he was getting past the point of coherent. (I was getting pretty damn frustrated too.)
He chose the corner, and I told him that he could knock on my door when he was done crying about it and ready to talk about it like a grown-up. After a decent amount of time, he knocked, and we sat down on the couch and talked about why it wasn't working like that. And he was reasonably coherent, and told me that using the pattern for each problem by itself felt like cheating, and he was supposed to think about it. I said what if he thought about it, and then checked his answer that he got by thinking about it by doing the pattern? He thought that could work. And after a while of that, I taught him the trick where n - __ = m, you can get the blank with n - m = __, doing it backwards. And then he tried it that way, and checked either with the pattern or adding it up; where if z is the missing number, m + z must then equal n.
And then we went on to n + __ = m, and I taught him how m - n = __, doing it backwards. We went over that with me providing instructions, and finally he was doing it on his own, with only a little coaching to get him to go on to the next one. Endearingly, he checks it like so: "Okay, m - n = x, m - x = n, n + x = m!!!"
All in all, satisfying, but exhausting. I think I'm going to have him take a shower tonight, because I'm sticky. (Wear a sweater because Mommy's cold?)
I'm so very glad that I volunteered over at Pearl Creek Elementary through my Gifted & Talented class in high school, with tutoring kids, because that is really, really paying off now. I can just remember that he's a kid and learning stuff, and work with him on it, and only make it about power dynamics when he's getting frustrated and not listening to me about calming down.
I wrote to my father last night or so about how the Little Fayoumis had a lot of anger and frustration management skills for someone his age, just needed coaching in when to use them. He does, and he does. His slow points are on listening-and-remembering, paying attention, and staying on task. These are about par for a very physical boy his age, I think. He may have some minor attention issues, but I think they can be made up for with coaching and teaching him how to handle it rather than medicating the shit out of him. He's doing just fine so far.
I hope it fucking rains. This humidity is taking it out of everybody.
(Shit. Did I just turn into a desert rat?)