How is back to school going for everyone? For us, it has been smooth sailing. In year’s past, the start of school was always tough on our oldest, because it meant getting back into reading.
But this year, our oldest son has not missed a beat with his reading as he practices a lot. Over the summer he really got into reading what he calls chapter books. These are stories he actually follows chapter by chapter and not the quick reads we have done in the past.
To help his interest, we were lucky enough to try out a Kindle Paperwhite and the FreeTime feature it has. While our son’s interest for holding a book and reading was good, holding a screen really blows up the interest level.
Like all Kindle devices, it’s easy on the eyes and meant for reading, not playing games or surfing the net.
Then add in the FreeTime app and this device is a major hit.
You’ve heard it before, knowledge is power. When you are a kid, in particular, a blonde 6-year old, knowledge is confidence.
It was only four months ago that Harry was really fighting with his grade one experience. He was stressing himself out because he was not reading and writing as fast as HE thought he should be. His focus in class was not there. He was thinking of other things that were much more fun than work and he was not finishing the day’s tasks on time.
It’s pretty hard to watch a kid get buried in stress, anxiety and pressure. We knew the situation would fix itself, but not in a time frame that would reduce the sleepless nights Harry would have.
Harry’s teacher made us aware and also included Harry into an extra reading help group at school. Funny enough, as all this reading stress was building, I was contacted to try out Kumon. It was almost too perfect.
Between extra help at school and regular Kumon work, Harry started to love again. He started to love his books again like he has since he was not even old enough to hold them. He started to love school again. It was brilliant to see.
Fast forward to present day and Harry is killing it. His reading and writing is to the point where he is almost a little cocky about it.
Just the other day, I said to him that doing all that Kumon has made him a cool mon. He smiled and really liked that thought. He breezes through his daily workbooks with confidence. He no longer looks to us for approval. He just knows it and the ones he is not sure of, he figures it out and grins.
His progress reports are showing the same. He is climbing the charts and his teacher is pleased to see him get to where he should be.
I am not going to say Kumon did this fully. It was the rocket fuel Harry needed to blast off. He is now reading anything he can get his hands on. He is reading billboards. He is ready movie posters. He is reading TV commercial words. He is reading the speed at which dad drives at. Yep, can’t speed anymore without comments from the back seat.
It’s all very exciting. He carries books around. He keeps bookmarks for the next time. He is loving his new-found skill.
Lately we have been thinking the Kumon workbooks are getting too easy. But it’s the routine and daily work that is key for Harry. You have to keep that engine running. You have to keep it stocked with new challenges and I know the next level of Kumon will do that. You can’t skip steps right.
The added bonus of all of this. It has gotten Charlie really interested in the same things. Charlie always asks if he can do Kumon too. Last night he read the score off the TV screen during the Super Bowl. A genius? Maybe not, but I was surprised a 3-year old was reading anything off a screen.
We are the parents of two book lovers. There are books everywhere in our house. It’s hard to complain when you are tripping over them.
I always knew Harry would get into reading. He is too smart not to. But the stress he was piling on himself because it was not happening as fast as he wanted was hard to watch.
I am happy the extra help gave him that moment where it just clicked.
To me, Harry has always been a cool man. Now he is a cool mon.
Proud of you bud.
For those of you who don’t know, these posts are in exchange for trying out the Kumon program. My opinions are not only spelled correctly, but they have not been swayed or influenced.
For close to three months, Harrison has been attending Kumon twice a week and doing work almost every day. It’s been a long road, a lot of hard work and this week we saw the results. Amazing results. Even the wonderful people at the center are surprised at how quickly Harrison has moved.
When he started, he was not enjoying reading and learning as much as we thought he should. It was a perfect storm of things I believe that was holding him back. It was never having the smarts, we were sure of that. Harrison I believe hit the Grade One wall. SK was all fun and games and now actual work was cramping his style.
As you may know, Harry, our oldest, is going to Kumon twice a week to accelerate his reading skills. Through the blog, I was contacted by Kumon to give the program a try and to share my thoughts on the experience.
Well, we are a few weeks in and I would say we are seeing good progress so far. As I mentioned before, it’s all about structure, routine and repetition. You don’t spend a lot of time doing it, but you do daily for 10-20 minutes.
Here is how our Kumon schedule works.
Sunday: Harry does a booklet in the afternoon.
Monday: Harry does a booklet after dinner.
Tuesday: We go the Kumon centre where Harry does 30 minutes, which includes a booklet with one of the instructors. Here is work from the week is reviewed. We are given new booklets.
Wednesday: Harry does a booklet after dinner.
Thursday: We go the Kumon centre where Harry does 30 minutes, which includes a booklet with one of the instructors. Here is work from the week is reviewed. We are given new booklets.
Friday: You guessed it. Harry does a booklet after dinner.
Saturday: Harry does a booklet in the afternoon.
Each booklet takes about 10 or 15 minutes depending on Harry’s energy level. Sometimes it is hard in the week, because we are all pretty tired by 7 pm. It is certainly one of the struggles, but so far there have been no issues.
Do you remember when you started to read? Or when you started to do basic math? I don’t. But as our family enters the wonderful world of public school, we are quickly learning, you are never too young to start learning about reading, writing and math. As soon as they hit JK, they are doing letters and numbers. I think it’s great.
Our oldest, Harry is in Grade 1 and he is so eager to be able to read, he gets angry that it can’t happen faster. What a great problem to have. That’s better than no interest at all.
We have been reading to him since day 1 and I am sure that is a big part of why he loves books. Even when he was in daycare, the staff always would comment at how he just loved books and would sit and look at them every chance he got.
That being said, once this guy knows how to read, look out. I look forward to his story telling, his imagination and his overall interest in the world, just exploding. As I remember, I was not that into reading until much later in life. I could never separate reading for school because you had to and reading for pleasure because you wanted to. Now, I love to read when I have time and I love to write and be creative if you could not tell.
So as parents, can we help speed up this process of Harry learning to read? Or do we just leave it to the schools and wait for it to happen?
Fortunately, in 2015, there are so many options at our disposal to supercharge our child’s learning. There is the standard home tutoring, there are computer courses and web apps and there of course is parental help.