Thursday, August 30, 2007

School Prep

At the end of last year the Kindergarten teacher told me that M. has issues with printing. I knew, of course, that he was a bit wobbly. However up until that final report card she assured me that it was normal boy behaviour.

Then I saw the words "will experience difficulty in Grade One due to poor writing skills". (Or something along those lines, I have already translated the teacher-speak for you here!) I realized that I'd been blissfully believing his printing would get better on its own. So as soon as school was out I started asking M. to print things for me every day. We started with a sentance and I let him choose what to print.

At first it was "I like my baby sister" and "I like to play outside" but soon it became "I like toys" and "I am cold"... shorter sentances that could get him out of his printing duties faster.

I smile. Then go buy lined printing paper so he can practice the ABCs.

And maze and connect the dot books so he can strengthen his fine motor skills.

I encourage him to color and draw me pictures.

But it dawns on me that my love of school and my love of writing is not genetically passed on. He is the lover of cars and spiders, the bike rider and Jedi Knight, the video game player and part-time Transformer.

I have, however, fostered a love of words. He has a huge vocabulary (which he uses mostly to impress friends and get out of trouble) because we read three books ever night.

I've tried explaining to him that I know he's smart and I love when he explains things to me, but in school you also have to explain things by writing them down to show the teacher. He accepts this and has just now accepted that you should also write in a line. Very often his words would all be there... just in their own order. Three letters, line break, three letters, line break. Last letter. I could read it, he could read it... but unfortunately that's not How It's Done.

So today he was practicing his c's and d's before he could play his video game and he was complaining about why he had to do it. I said that it's good to practice, that I'm proud of his letters and I want to see him write. He complained again.

Then I heard it come out of my mouth.

"I'll give you a quarter for every line you write."

Shoot. I didn't even think before that came out. I started adding up the number of lines he might write. I started thinking about whether or not it's unethical to pay your child to do his work. Will I start paying for A's and B's next? (We don't do A's and B's in Canada... we do percentages...) Will I end up with a kid that says "what's in it for me, show me the money?"

Hopefully not. I think I'll put a stop to it. Soon we'll have homework to do... I just have to vow not to pay him for doing his homework. Goodness... I'd be broke by grade three!


Anette said...

My daughter had the same problem in Kindergarten and we didn't worry too much. But when we took her for her back to school eye appointment (it's the only way I'll remember)
the doctor was astounded that over the course of one year she had become extremely farsighted. So glasses helped some - but really just maturing helped the most.

She didn't start to really read or write until December of Grade two and a lot of kids are that way.

Don't let the teachers bully you into thinking there is something wrong he's a normal red blooded little boy which means as the old rhyme goes snake and snails and puppy dog tails...not sitting and writing about spring flowers and teatime. He'll get there you because you are exposing him to the books and words and language he needs, one day when he is ready he will sit down and write and I bet the words will be excellent prose.

Serenity Now! said...

Thanks Anette! It's always nice to get some real-world, real-parent experiences.

I'm mostly concerned about his self esteem, I don't want him to think that he "can't" write or that he's no good.