Making his mark

Our five-year-old boy is learning to write. There are messages everywhere… signs on doors: privit proprty, bois room; recipes (see here) and notes such as this is not a shoping list under his dad’s to-do list; plant labels; shopping lists; thank you letters; Valentines cards; even a couple of his own books: the great big book of of dinosors in the wurld and another volume on aliens. They were all done quietly by himself, fuelled by his own inspiration. I love the free flow of his thoughts and words onto paper and his quirky spelling. I love his drive to communicate, his need to express himself through writing. He loves this too, the magic of seeing letters spill from his pencil onto the page. And the double delight of his parents being able to read his missives. He is making his mark on the world…and he loves it!

Today his dad made him a paper hat, at his request. We found it later, annotated thus:

Just as if I were a pianist and he were learning to play, as a writer myself I am loving it even more. I know the freedom I get from written expression, I am so glad he is taking to it so easily, creatively and whole heartedly.

Not everyone shares my enthusiasm however.

My almost weekly run in with his teacher (I am a home-schooling mum at heart, and a trained teacher myself, so I am a bit of a nightmare parent ) a couple of weeks back was over his writing homework. He hated copying out the same letters over and over and got bored and so was refusing to do it. I suggested perhaps he could just write her things of his choosing to practice his letter formation, but with a purpose. This was not acceptable. Because, get this, his teacher said to me she was concerned that he was behind the other children in his writing ( which is not true anyway, we saw all the kids’ writing in the Christmas cards that Timmy received from school chums. For what it’s worth his was “equal” to “better”, but what odds does that make, they are all individuals, developing at their own, age appropriate paces, comparisons are beside the point). But he is writing. He is communicating creatively with words. THAT is what matters, the rest he will develop and refine as he matures. He is FIVE, woman!

THIS, people, is what is wrong with school education. It’s all about doing it right, style over substance, easily marked worksheets rather than creative expression with real content. A row of perfect Ps is prized more than a creatively spelled story that he composed independently. Grrrrrr!

Keeping inside the lines: why colouring in dominates early years education
Jesus in a spaceship – a five-year-old’s take on religion
To school or not to school