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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

GratiTuesday - How Much is Too Much?

As a certified teacher, I want my children to work to their full potential.  The curriculum that we studied in college and the one that I taught after I moved here are constantly in the back of my mind.  Trying not to hold my children to those standards can be difficult.

As a mom, one with a degree in early childhood education, I know that many of the curriculums in place are not developmentally appropriate.  That it’s okay for my child to do something when his body decides that it’s time, even if that’s far later than when the local public school would require it.

Those two parts of me battle at times about what to ask my children to do, and they’ve come out in full force about one particular issue:  handwriting.

When My Little Man first began to write, he didn’t like it.  He only knew his capital letters then and so I didn’t require him to write anything else.  When he started to write more independently, I decided not to force the handwriting issue because he suddenly started writing big words.  I was so happy with his content that I didn’t push for great handwriting.

But as he finished kindergarten and began first grade I started to worry.  Had I done the right thing?  Should I have insisted that he write properly as he learned so that he never had to relearn any part of it?

And then one day he asked to learn cursive like his sister.  I explained that we couldn’t study cursive handwriting until he could write in both capital and lowercase letters.  Now, I know that it really doesn’t work that way.  Lots of kids learn to write in cursive before they learn to print, but my patience level doesn’t extend to teaching two types of handwriting at one time.  Give me a historical event or writing lesson to teach any day over handwriting.  Yick.

To my surprise, the next day he brought me this thank you card.  I had asked him to write one in response to a field trip we had taken, and since he had proven that he was great at thank-you cards, I didn’t sit with him while he worked on it.  I was probably switching the laundry.  When I came back, he proudly showed me this card.

Do you see it?  There are lowercase letters in there!  He worked really hard on it, and it was all his idea.  He got out his handwriting book and practiced the letters we haven’t gotten to yet and then added them into his card.

This doesn’t mean that our lowercase letter struggle is over, because it isn’t.  After a few days of lowers he went back to all caps and is once again trying to stay in his comfort zone.  I know now, though, that he can do it.  He knows how, and he will switch over.  I’m grateful to know that progress has been made, and my capital-letter stress is gone.

But if he decides to stick with capital letters, and he ends up with horrible handwriting, then maybe he’ll go into the medical field.

Just kidding.  Kinda.

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