T1 has recently been diagnosed with some challenges - one of which is a learning disability. He can read OK but writing is a real struggle. This great kid with an amazing brain cannot get his ideas down on paper due to a processing disorder. This is becoming a problem at school where so much focus is placed on written ability. We considered enrolling him in a multi-sensory reading program which would take him back to basics. The program was in a centre 30 minutes drive from our home. The recommendation was that he go 2-3 times each week. Not that our son isn't worth it but the time this would take and the cost made it hard to swallow. Yet we knew he needed the help.
I decided to train to teach the course myself - figuring we could do it at home and save both time and money and I would have a better understanding of what he was learning. Today I decided would be day 1 of the program. I knew ahead of time the idea would be negatively received. He's almost 9 years old and would rather be doing anything else rather than study.
I explained to him that we wanted to help make writing easier for him and he had two choices - either we could take him back and forth to the centre - a minimum two hour each time extravaganza or we could spend 15-20 minutes on Monday - Thursday and one day on the weekend. It didn't take him a second to choose the less time consuming option!!
After school we gathered everything we would need and sat down together to do the first 2 lessons of the program - I knew they would be really simple for him but would make for a positive first day.
It was nowhere close to the struggle I had envisioned - he sat without complaint (I chose to ignore the eye roll) and we worked together for about 20 minutes - it was calm and peaceful and I was able to enjoy watching his furrowed brow, his head scratching and eyes-to-the-ceiling thinking pose. He worked methodically - carefully correcting errors as he spotted them.
I was so proud to see him putting so much care into his work and although he didn't waste a second in leaving the table when the lessons were over - for a few moments, it was just me and my son, teacher and student. I would have thought it would be obvious who held which role but I think I was in many ways the student and he the teacher. I learned that all it takes is a few minutes and a commitment to work towards a common goal to carve out an opportunity for closeness.