Friday, 25 March 2016

A Surprising Change of Pace.

Aye, the boy had a bit of a shock at our recent visit to see friends in Folkestone.  Ipad was left home, and for the duration he and his friends were informed there would be no screens.  Surprisingly, there wasn't as much whinging as we expected.   Rye was also told he would be joining in M's morning routine; breakfast, get dressed, washed and then chores, afterwards study time.

I had a nosey at the workbooks that M's kids use; Schofield and Sims, and I was really impressed.  Especially because the books explain what is required, give clear examples, and the handwriting work book, was the best I've seen so far.  However, for the duration of our visit, I picked up a couple of Vorderman's workbooks; not very good, but fine for getting Rye into the routine.

Oh, the first few days were torture.  We decided to help Rye improve his penmanship we would require some daily colouring from him, and insist it was neat and within the lines, as he's taken to being very messy and just scribbling over everything in one colour.  So I insisted on different colours, neatness and insisting on more colouring if he ignored instruction.  Very quickly, his colouring improved, he was using different colours and Rye was beginning to take pride in his work and loved showing us both pages he's completed and seeing our delight in his use of colour etc.

M and I decided that Rye should do daily colouring, handwriting practise, copywork, maths and reading.  Yeah, a lot for a child not use to writing, indeed can barely write.  Basically, we crash coursed him, and I have to say the improvement within those 10 days or so was meteoric.
when we began 
after about 4-5 days

After only a few days, he was producing writing on right, although he still needed us to sit with him, and remind him how to write the letters correctly.  M then hit on the idea of colouring the handwriting lines, orange at the top, blue on the bottom, and leaving the middle line white.  Astonishing how quickly that visual cue helped him.  I suspect all the lines were getting a little squiggly in his head, and colouring them really helped him.

Copy work has improved wonderfully too, where as I was writing on the page and he wrote beneath, I can now write on a piece of paper and he copies it into his copy book.  So, the other day he produced this piece of work, which will actually go in his history folder:

He dictated what he wanted to write to me, I wrote it on a separate piece of paper, and Rye then went off and copied it - all without me sitting next to him to remind him how to write the letters etc.  Oh my gosh, the pride and joy I felt when I saw this piece of writing.  

(The drawing is of a royal stool, which looked like a cat with a table on its back - Rye has drawn it from top looking down perspective, and the symbol is a Mayan hieroglyph.)
Rye drawing the royal stool at the World Museum
Mathematically, Rye is pretty much where he should be, and while he may initially seem to struggle with a concept, the next day, pretty much without fail, he's figured it out.  The main problem was his writing of numbers was illegible.  We saw improvement quickly, although strangely math facts he had down pat seem to evade him - I suspect foul play to be honest.  How a child can add, subtract, and multiply large numbers in his head, and then suddenly can't tell me what 17 +1 is, is just a bit too unbelievable.

Rye's reading is coming along beautifully too.  I convinced him to start at the beginning of the Oxford Tree reading series.  He's half way through it now, and his reading confidence has improved beautifully, he's attempting to read just about everything he's come across.  I've also introduced restful reading hour after dinner, I read to him, and then he goes and reads/looks at books.  Seeing my boy sleeping with a pile of books next to him, makes my heart soar!

The study time does seem to set the tone for the day too; he's calmer, less erratic, less silly, and chores being daily, means he is much more helpful over all.  Plus, the arguments over doing chores is now null and void, they are daily, and that's that (also prevents his room from being utterly trashed and then the battle to get him to tidy it back up).  We are spending more time together, our relationship is improving, and the Ipad is no longer a daily battle.  My gawd, I was beginning to really hate screens and was on the verge of banning the ipad totally.  Bedtimes are generally easier too - there's none of the wheedling for longer on a screen, or moaning he's hungry.

It's by no means perfect.  There are days when Rye drags his feet and study time, instead of taking 2-3 hours max, takes 5 hours +, there's days when the chores which shouldn't take more than an hour and he drags them out for 3 hours +.   Those days are very frustrating.  I have pointed out that all he's doing is reducing his free time - and slowly I think that is starting to sink in.

On the whole, I am very happy with Rye's progress.
Mayan Codex workshop


No comments: