I found a place nearby offering karate during homeschooling hours. As always happens with starting up homeschooling hours, there are only a few children at this time. My two boys, William (10) and Joseph (8) and two other brothers currently attend. Naturally, it’s nice to get the one-on-one attention from the instructor, Tina, who is fabulous with the boys. But, I do want it to grow in order to continue being able to attend during “school hours”.
That said, we started once a week in February. The boys started at white belt, moved to white/gold belt in 6 weeks, and then moved to gold belt in another 6 weeks. Here’s an old picture at white/gold:
Yesterday, after missing every other week this summer, William and Joseph were able to move to orange belt. Here’s a photo:
What I have discovered is that Joseph is a natural at this, and most everything he tries physically. William needs to work harder at things, but “fighting” is his big interest, so he is motivated to put in the effort. I notice that he uses the strategy of watching others heavily, but it works for him. Excitedly, when he is on his own to do it, he comes through with the knowledge to move forward.
William is one of those children with a lot of “learning disabilities”. I put that in quotes because I choose to view my children through a strengths based lens while remaining realistic about their needs, but understanding that time and smart exposure can go a long way. That said, I can access funds through something called an “adoption fund” that covers activities that help the children progress. Karate is “approved” because there are studies that show improvement in things like ADD and such. I do notice good quality attention from William during karate, but more importantly, I see a lot of great, natural exercise in the “crossing midline” and “motor planning” arenas. Joseph is able to pick up which way to do strikes with his hands, which often cross midline from one side of the face down and across. There is also major coordination when striking with one hand, the other goes into a defensive stance. William’s processing is quite slow, and he really had to think about it hard. I can just see his brain working! In the beginning, Tina and I had our doubts that he could pull it off. But he really has! Quite amazing, actually! This is a great example of a real activity that creates natural “exercises” in areas of need without having to separate them out into drills.
Karate is definitely a keeper, both for high interest, with a side benefit of natural development in William’s areas of weakness.