Friday, January 13, 2012

Mr. Kumon

We've had two lovely nights of Kumon where Ben has really enjoyed it and is showing that he's memorized adding 2 to most numbers up to 15 -- and even goes back to correct mistakes.

Remember, prior to the summer, Ben had never been able to write and he never seemed to 'get' math. Part of the problem was that he couldn't 'play' with numbers the way other kids do by counting out loud or writing them down. And we never had solid signs for the numbers either, because he had trouble manipulating his fingers to make them. So he never had a good mental awareness of numbers.

When we first moved  in Kumon from adding 1 to adding 2, sometimes he would default back and simply start adding 1 to every number (like he just wanted to get this work over with and he'd start racing through and not paying attention). He had to be reminded to add one, and then go to the next number for two. We sometimes used a number chart and he would count along two spaces with his finger while I counted out loud: "One, two." I don't think he's ever laid down counting in his mind (so that he could say it in his mind while he was moving his finger).

I figured it was going to be a big deal to learn sums for the other numbers. But when one of his books included + 3 problems he surprised me by getting the correct answers for some -- without looking at the number chart. I just about lifted him off the floor with a high five!

I realize this won't proceed the way it does with typical kids, whose brains are wired to leap from adding to subtracting to multiplying and so on. And sometimes I wonder if having him learn simple math isn't a good use of time in terms of giving him something he can use functionally in life. But when I see the sense of accomplishment he gets chugging along through his Kumon books -- and being one of the kids who sits at our dining room table working -- it makes me happy.

Another neat thing I've noticed is that Ben has begun writing a stylized 'a.' Instead of writing an 'a' as a circle with a stick on the right side, he writes it as you see it in this font: 'a.' He still has trouble writing and writes larger than usual and it's hard to read his writing. So it's not like his writing is perfect by any means. But I find it intriguing that this kid who couldn't write a few months ago has begun writing a fancy 'a.'

Ben was thrilled yesterday because his Halloween Town High movie arrived in the mail. The other night he found it on Amazon and put it in the cart and asked me if we could get it. Since then he's been asking every day when it's coming. Ben had an early closing day at school and was at home with D'Arcy when the movie arrived. Apparently all afternoon he was signing "Thank you Mom for getting the movie."


Basic math is ALWAYS useful though- for shopping, figuring out how much something would cost, counting your own money, etc.

Yay, go Ben! :]


There are printing books for children. I remember using them at the Holland Bloorview School as a kid. I think that they would be useful to Ben, as he will gain practice and greater hand function.

As far as the math is concerned, Tasha is right. Moreover, I believe that Ben may be able some multiplication.

I also wish that Ben was given more educational opportunities as a child.

Matt Kamaratakis

Way to go Ben!!! That is great stuff Louise!