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

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  1. anastasia pricco
    anastasia pricco02-21-2011

    it’s frustrating the way so many teachers teach, unable to see outside the box. yay for timmy’s words & writing! boo for the stoopid teacher.

  2. Anonymous

    So cute Lucy…and as far as his teacher, keep going! Be the “nightmare” parent, your doing a great job! 🙂

  3. Anonymous

    Did I mention that I love my little godson? I was a recipient of one of said Thank You cards, and it is now a treasured possession. I agree there is not enough creativity in learning, and so many students rebel. Molaidh an Oige agus tiofaidh siad. Sx

  4. Art Mama
    Art Mama02-21-2011

    Oh my goodness! What a treasure, I am so pleased you see it. I am so pleased you value his writing and spelling in all its wonderful imperfections! For that is perfection. I still have my daughter’s signature on many pieces of paper. Her name is Felicity and she spelt it FTTT – I always told her it was correct and perfect. And it was, for the time. Felicity is a mouthful to pronounce, and when she was learning to talk, she would point to photos of herself and say “It’s T” which was the nearest she could get to “Felicity” at first. Good enough for us, we just delighted in her communication. As you are with your boy’s writing. PS Tell your son I’ve found his wees and poos recipe and think I’ll try it! Scatological humour, boys are great like that! Keep cherishing him!

  5. Dreamingaloudnet

    Thanks for the great comments people! Hey Siofra you’re going to have to translate for me…and almost everyone else!!

  6. Anonymous

    If it is any comfort, my 9 year old boy is still reluctant to read and write much, in spite of a home library to rival waterstones, an audio collection a royal prince would be envious of, stories ooozing from every wall in our house, and a mother who got an A in A’Level English and went to university. Not interested at all, and whatever he learns he quickly forgets. And yet, this is a boy who is a curator of a really wonderful home museum collection which is a great source of pride, and a real talking piece when visitors come. There was a time when no-one could walk through our front door without buying something that Finn had made. I actually had to get him tone it down a bit because our little alan sugar was charming a lot of money out of everyone which seemed a tiny bit unfair visit after visit!!! And yet he has the most beautiful curly wurly font that he has invented to write in, and when he does write something it is beautiful and powerful and to the point. He usually writes little,love letters, notes and cards etc… He now has a pen-pal through Aquila magazine pen-friend scheme so that is giving him more reasons to write. I have to be a super sneak mama about this!!! We hand-make all our birthday cards so that kind of forces him to write. You have to ask yourself what writing is for – communication, expression and all the form-filling, box-ticking stuff is really secondary.

    I wrote a piece on trusting children to read and write when they’re ready and the research I made suggested that children turn out just fine even if they are ‘delayed’ in this area. The only real damage would come from the school labelling or streaming them, not the late reading in itself.

    Fight for his right to unfold at his own pace!!!

    You could always show them my article if they need evidence of late readers being just fine. Its in the June 2010 issue of EOS Lucy. xx

  7. Dreamingaloudnet

    Hey thanks Anon (are you P.C.?) I loved playing museums as a kid, I had a wendy house outside that I filled with treasures that we found as we did the gardening – Victorian medicine bottles, shards of chintzy china and rusty horse shoes.

    Just to clarify, I am really not worried about his writing. It is wonderfully creative, legible and totally age appropriate. His reading is breath taking. Her problem is that she is using the rationale that because his reading is so advanced, then his writing should be too. And his writing is advanced – in his use of it, he just really hates copying out letters because in his head he already knows perfectly well how to do them… which he does.

    But I totally agree with allowing kids to unfold at their own pace. If you force “learning” when someone is not ready, it builds resistance not knowledge.

  8. Anonymous

    oooh hello, yes it is paula indeed! tried to reply last night but it isn’t showing up. just wanted to say yes, you don’t need to be worried petal! his writing is already giving joy to all of us besides those in your own family and we love his little wordies. i hope i can inspire my five year old indie to start to write more sponstaneously – easier said than done!!!

  9. Stacy (Mama-Om)
    Stacy (Mama-Om)02-25-2011

    Love the stooppid hatt!! 🙂

    As you know, I completely agree with letting children unfold at their own pace, and just wrote a piece about my seven-year-old son and language…

    Many blessings,

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