Tuesday, 31 January 2012


Partnership writing:  a Bravewriter idea. The family on-line course is refocusing me, reminding me that it’s about being alongside my children; about figuring out what they need and how I can support them in their writing. It’s about letting them dictate or doing conversational freewrites where we take turns to write back and forth or by taking time to read what they have written and engage in their work or seeing what they are doing well and building on it  andseeing their areas of weakness and looking for activities to strengthen them. Alongside – my children’s cheerleader, partner, guide.
My eldest gets in quite a state about maths. He can motivate himself to write 20,000 words in a month , finding the time each day, holding the entire story arc in his head, making himself sit down and type day after day but maths is another story. It is clearly painful and his description of it as pointless and dull does not seem to me sufficient to explain the depths of anguish he genuinely seems to feel. Maths has always been something of a problem especially at this time of year. I have noticed that all maths books seem to be arranged in the same way: number comes first which is simply adding up and the like and then comes algebra. This totally throws him. He can’t see the point and finds it hard. This is the time of tears and of wanting to give up. Once we’re through this we hit shape and space, which seems to make so much more sense to him: home strait, all the way to summer.
So yesterday had us having one of those, “You just have to try harder...  if you were in school...you don’t know you’re born,” type conversations. Not really a conversation:  me telling him and him gradually shutting down and feeling more and more a failure. Finally the voice of sanity managed make itself heard above the panic that my son will never get a maths qualification, will fail in life and it will be all my fault. Sanity reminds me that he is my little boy; and I love him; and he needs my help. He needs me to partner him: to sit next to him, to model solutions, to talk it through and to explain: Partnership Maths!  He needs me alongside, not the adversary but the friend, the supporter, the cheerleader. 15 minutes a day I have promised him throughout February. Alongside.

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