Sometimes I do despair with N and school work. Just everything seems so hard in getting him to do things.
I do wonder what he’s like at school, whether they have the same battles. Or whether he’ll happily sit down and do it there because it’s school.
But it does seem that only 4 weeks in to year 1, we’ve reached the moment when things click.
His reading last year was painful. He didn’t seem to remember words, he didn’t really want to try, and it was taking an hour to read a few pages of a book. Not because he didn’t know what he was meant to be read, but because he’d be distracted by the pictures, asking questions about what was going on, counting how many pages there was left to go. Anything which meant he didn’t have to read.
Which was ridiculous, because if he just read normally, he’d have finished the books quicker.
This year, after only a week of being back he was reading much more fluently, was remembering more words. And while he still drives me mad not remembering Is and On, he’s much more able and willing to read, and able to work out words I wouldn’t have thought before the summer. The only ones he struggles with are recognising the split digraphs (i-e, o-e etc) because he says he’s not learnt those in school yet. Which I know he hadn’t last year because he kept asking why the other group had, but not their group.
The annoying thing for me is that although his reading is coming on really well, and he’s proud and more confident of what he can do, he’s still reading the same level of books as those in the summer. Which is madness to me. Maybe after these 2 books…
Writing was the area that he was under-performing a little on last year. Mainly because he wouldn’t write independently without a teacher, he just wasn’t confident. Even now, he still likes to check what he thinks and whether it’s right. But he will write on his own, and actually he’s pretty good at knowing the letters that come next.
I’ve decided that for some words like bath, grass and all, I’m going to have to speak in a northern accent, or a deep south American accent to make it easier for him to learn the spelling. Because southerners saying ‘barth’ and ‘grass’ does complicate things!
I’ve been really impressed with his writing this year. He’s confident, and he’s already learning cursive writing. The other day for his homework, he decided to join up a whole word on his own because he could. Ok, it wasn’t exactly accurate, but it was certainly a great step in the right direction.
The hardest bit for him is deciding what to write. He’ll happily do his English homework, but when it asks him to write 3 things he likes doing, you’d think he’d been asked to debate the US presidential race.
I’ve written before about his tennis playing – he’s now playing twice a week – and while his shots are still wild, I think his physical ability is coming on leaps and bounds. With tennis it’s his confidence that trying a new club can be good.
Physically, he will now jump higher, and run faster without even thinking about it. He’ll still take some encouragement to do an obstacle, but mostly I’ll turn round and he’ll be jumping off something much higher than I’d have thought.
He’s also playing a lot more football. He still won’t join the after school club sessions (that saves me a lot of money!) but he’s so much better at catching and throwing a ball, and playing football with his cousin and enjoying it, will help with so many skills. Not just fitness, but acceptance, and socialising with children of all ages.
Swimming’s another sport he’s getting to grips with, and it’s all about confidence with N. Yes, he still can’t swim a length, but he can do a fair try at half a width. And he’ll swim with his face in the water which he wouldn’t have done in the summer. He’s also happy diving to pick things up from the bottom of the pool. It’s amazing what a couple of fun swimming sessions with props, and a different environment like a holiday swimming pool can do.
I admit we do have to rely on a reward chart to get him started on some activities but after 5 years of rewards not exciting him, it’s working. And increasing his negotiation, maths and problem solving skills as he works out what activities are more valuable to filling up his chart!
When did things start to click with your children? Do rewards work for you?