One evening as Elli was doing her homework, she was wailing and weeping and moaning at how hard school is for her. This is a regular occurrence for her as she is so socially oriented that she would much rather play and socialize than focus and work quietly by herself.
She whined that, “everyone else got to read books today, but it takes me so long that write that I didn’t get to read a book because I was still trying to finish”.
Immediately Justice Jenna kicked in. I do not like to hear that some kids got something that other kids did not. Especially when one of MY kids was in the group that had something that she wanted withheld from her! I have to admit, though, that I completely agree with and use this tactic myself in our home all the time, it just immediately elicits my knee-jerk reaction of “justice for all!”
I asked her if she was the only one that was writing while everyone else was reading. No, it was like me and 5 other people.
Were you talking and not getting your work done? NO. I WASN’T talking, I was working as hard as I could!
Why it took her longer than most everyone else to write. Because it takes me longer to sound out the words and figure out how to spell them.
If she finally finished it or if she had to bring it home for homework. Yes, I finished it.
Ok, so justice was served and no fault occurred. BUT clearly my daughter has recognized that she struggles with an area that at least 15 or more of her other classmates do not.
In my mind I’ve already decided that this will be a “make-up” year for Elli. In Michigan Kindergarten is only a 1/2 day program, whereas in Georgia it’s an all day every day program. Elli started out this first grade year quite a bit behind her classmates academically. As a matter of fact, when tested the first week of school her teacher assessed her as a “non reader”. Yikes! That just means she’s going to have to work harder and we’re going to have to do more coaching at home to help get her all caught up.
Although she deplores writing, she will do so in the context of something social. We play “school” a lot, where she is the teacher instructing either myself or a smaller sibling. She has taken to reading and loves to listen to chapter books (again, she’s social and wants to read with someone, read to someone, or be read to rather than read on her own, unlike her big brother who loves to read so much he spends forever in the bathroom with a book, then when caught and sent to bed can be found trying to read by the light of his alarm clock or a keychain flashlight).
Yesterday I crawled the clearance aisle of Wal-Mart in search of a journal or “diary” for Elli to begin writing in. (Note: it was very challenging to find something that was not trademarked or that was appropriate for her age group. Although I love me some quirky word pictures, I don’t think my 6 almost 7 year old daughter needs a notebook with a picture of pursed lips + the word “me” underneath it. See “Smooch” post) I also found a pack of fun pens that she alone gets to use for writing in her journal. Having heard all about the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books from her big brother, she was elated at the idea of having her very own diary to write in.
She sat down at the kitchen table and began to write, then asked if she could take the notebook outside and write some more until the neighborhood kids arrived to play and the book was abandoned. And forgotten. Until it started to pour.
My poor, sobbing daughter. At least she’ll have some great stuff to write about as soon as the notebook dries out…
P.S.-Dan attended a parent-teacher conference for Elli the same afternoon that she received this notebook, and there was nothing but positivity from her teacher. The teacher stated that Elli started out the year as a non-reader and in just two months has already progressed to being a growing reader. Elli’s writing is readable and understandable, and she affirmed that we’re doing something right and to just keep doing what we’re doing that she is right on the mark of where she should be at this point in first grade. WHEW! She’s caught up already, now to help her maintain and keep going!