A couple of summers ago, Ellis brought home a bunch of cast-off corporate awards and trophies for a project he did at Leonardo's Basement. I got rid of most of the trophies, but kept the one pictured above because the "Circle of Excellence," is just, well, excellent. Earlier this week while doing some cleaning, I came across this very special award again and thought that it would come in handy for something.
Ellis has been struggling to memorize his multiplication facts for the past couple of months. He hated it so much that he would "forget" to bring home his homework and try to avoid doing practice drills whenever possible. I tried apps on my phone and math gaming sites online to try to entice him, but the most effective strategy was simply spending half an hour one-on-one with him everyday. I would use a combination of no-nonsense drills and talking about different patterns and tricks for remembering (especially those dreaded 7's an 8's). I'm most proud of teaching him tricks for remembering the 12's. Ellis rocks the 12's.
With all his hard work to master something that did not come easy for him and struggling against all the negative feelings that can cause, I decided to award Ellis the Circle of Excellence on Wednesday. It was silly, but it was awesome, and I think the Circle of Excellence will make repeat appearances in our family along the way. Josh and I are also tempted to make use of one of our neighborhood businesses to get some custom trophies for the kids related to their struggles and achievements to develop and grow as people. It's a win-win: support a University Avenue business during Light Rail construction and let the boys know that we recognize how hard they work at the challenging task of growing up. (Plus they'll have tangible proof of how crazy their parents are.)