To say I was gobsmacked when my two year old son came home with homework would probably be an understatement. Aren’t two year olds supposed to come home after school to watch TV or play outside until dinner time? Or was that just my generation? Once a week, Liam comes home with homework. His teacher will write a love note in his book, explaining what needs to be done, based on the theme for the week and we have the whole week to work on the task. This week’s theme is My Family, last week’s theme was My Senses and the week before that was My Body. We also have a term planner so we know the themes for the whole term, and also the letter of the alphabet that they are focusing on for that week. Part of this week’s homework included bringing a family photo to school – easy enough, and a simple worksheet with a maze where Brother has to find his way to Sister, and then you needed to colour in the rest of the picture. At the start of the new week, we receive last week’s work, so I am able to track what he’s learning about, I can build on his learning at home and I can see week to week, how he is improving, or where his weak areas are. So far, he has been doing pretty well, except for My Senses – probably why he has such a hard time LISTENING to his MOTHER!! Anyway, here are a few observations from his first few weeks back at school…
He is definitely going to be a lefty.
I am left-handed, and as a child I used to feel left out (excuse the pun) because everyone else was right-handed. I used to bump elbows with my desk partner at school, and once teachers realised this, they foolishly made a huge issue of always insisting that I sat on the left side of the desk so that I didn’t “disturb” my partner. We all know the silly things people say about lefties, and as asinine as it seems, my “disability” actually plagued me for many of my childhood years. No one in my family was left handed, no one could identify with me, no one said “Oh, you’re a lefty, cool!” Remember, as a child, anything that makes you different, is seen as a disability! That Liam is left-handed, secretly has me jumping for joy! He is like ME! My boy is like ME! I want to celebrate and encourage that, I want him to know that it’s ok, and instead of him listening to all the negativity, I want to tell him how awesome and unique he is, I want him to have access to a lefthanded scissor instead of battling with a right handed one. We even have an international official Left Handers Day on 13 August! I want to tell him about great and important people who were also lefties like Julius Caesar and Napoleon Bonaparte and Jimi Hendrix. And world famous artists like Michaelango, Raphael and Leonardo Da Vinci! Southpaws rule! And how’s this for a cool statistic..20% of all MENSA members are lefthanded, and based on the fact that only 10% of the population is lefthanded, this says a lot for lefties…we are smart! Ha!
Slow and steady wins the race.
Who would have thought that colouring a simple picture could take so long? But when you actually spend time focusing on how a little hand develops the art of writing, it really is quite amazing. Learning to grip a writing instrument and trying to stay within the lines and training your hand and fingers to move according to the brain signals which KNOW you have to stay within the lines, but your little hand doesn’t always get that, is hard work! We take this action for granted everyday.. we type, we write out grocery lists, we sign cheques, or indemnity forms for our kids; writing forms an integral part of our lives, and to think it all starts with you colouring a simple picture in your bumper colouring book. Liam and Hannah have been scribbling for yonks – on our walls, on the floor, on my car seats and couch – and occasionally in their colouring books. But as I see Liam’s ability to colour, rather than scribble, develop, it really blows my mind away! He is slow and methodical, sometimes he gets tired and reverts to scribbling, but generally he takes great pride in his pretty picture and concentrates with tongue peeping out the side of mouth, as he completes his master piece.
Homework is not for sissies or poor people.
Spending this quiet time with Liam has really been beneficial for both of us. And I think that this is probably the main reason why the school has established a homework programme from such an early age; it forces you to spend time with your kid and allows them to pick your brain about a range of topics. I gird myself before I go in, hoping that he’ll go easy on me and not ask me questions for which I need to Twoogle answers. Nevertheless, I love it, it encourages him to have an open dialogue with me, and more than anything, I want this for both my kids, I want them to be able to talk to me and their Dad about anything and the only way to get comfy with this idea is to start from a young age. If they know we are available to them, it will be easy for them to approach us, with any topic. But boy, it’s expensive to run a well stocked stationery drawer! I’ve had to buy new crayons – fat ones, skinny ones, in-between ones, koki pens in different shapes and sizes, markers, pencils and erasers, highlighters and glitter pens. Not because I have to, but because my little boy’s newfound love for drawing, means that I want him to have access to all the wonderful writing instruments out there! I was at the Crazy Store yesterday, and let’s just say I went a little CRAZY in the stationery department. But it was worth the OOOHHHs and the AAHHHS they received from the budding artist last night.
Teachers are angels in disguise.
That’s all. They just are. The work they do in these little kids’ lives is immeasurable, and they do make parenting that much easier because our kids are being nurtured and stimulated during the day, and really all we need to do is reinforce at home. Of course it works the other way around too, we need to be teaching our children good morals and values at home, no doubt. But in many cases, and most definitely in ours, many children are forced to spend 9 hours a day at school and aftercare, because of the hours their parents have to work. They spend the majority of their time in the care of their teachers and in Liam’s situation, I know his teachers are growing and pruning my little boy, in just the way I would, if I had more time to do so, and this quells my ever guilty mother-heart. I thank God for good teachers!
All in all, I think 2012 is going to be a good school year for Liam. I look forward to the projects and surprises he is going to bring home, I look forward to our homework sessions and I look forward to prize giving…because of course my lefty is going to come up tops! And even if he doesn’t, he’ll still be tops to me!