Encouragement ....

My boys do not like to write. Some months ago, I began to worry about this. Although I have come to realise it is common, and have tried to focus more on oral communication, I do not want the boys to lack the skills they need to succeed in life. One target which emerged from our visit in the summer from our County Council representative, was to help our eldest son, particularly, to express coherently all the great ideas that fill his mind. To this end, the boys have been completing a little Kumon work, which focuses on reading and writing, almost every day for the last six months.

Back in the summer, my middle son was very reluctant to write. Maybe he lacked confidence, perhaps he didn't have the skills to put the words and sentences together on his page. Maybe it was just too daunting a task, or too much like hard work. Even in September, I remember he was in tears over a piece of writing I was encouraging him to persevere with. What a struggle.

Well, recently there has been a real improvement. He has willingly been completing extra English activities in a workbook, reading a lot when I put him to bed at night, and twice this week, he has written a few sentences in his own words on to pictures for his literature projects. Before, he would have copied a sentence from the book, and that with difficulty, but what a difference! I noted this aloud today and, praising him, asked if he felt more confident with his writing. Affirmative!

His younger brother, who struggles as a left hander with reading and writing letters, words and numbers backwards, has also been steadily improving. This week, he moved from number formation to simple addition in his Kumon maths. "I can do maths now," he declared, "Look, my work is just like my brothers!" He has proceeded to write out his own much harder addition sums, all correct, to play on the BBC Bitesize maths programme, with his eldest brother's help and encouragement and to play far more complex board games, like Monopoly, with his brothers - easily adding up the die and dealing with the money.

He also just talks about numbers so naturally during the day and, notably, when he gets into bed and is trying to fall asleep at night. "6 and 6 is 12," he will say ... "10 100s is 1000", "60 - that's 6 10s" etc.