knew it

shouldn’t let it bug
yet it eats away at you
while you ignore it

I knew this was going to happen when the wee one started school. I didn’t know when it would happen, and I didn’t know how it would happen, but I knew something like it was coming.

The wee one is apparently "behind." Or something like that. According to his teacher at Mother’s Day Out he has "weak motor skills." This means he grasps a crayon with his fist instead of holding it delicately like you hold a pencil.

He’s 3 1/2.

He had a conversation with me in the car yesterday about hubris.
He double-clicks a mouse like a pro.
He can tell you every single character in every single Star Wars movie.

I know not to worry about this. I know that he is incredibly smart. But what bothers me is that, at 3 1/2, I’m supposed to be grooming him for kindergarten. It bugs me that he’s supposed to go into school already reading and writing. When I tell people that this bugs me and that I went into kindergarten not knowing how to a hold a pencil, I get tongue clicks and chastise-y sounding statements like, "It’s been a long time since then." Well, duh. But still.

I don’t like the idea of feeling that I need to tutor my kiddo so that he can write his full name with precision before he gets to school. Is there no time to be a kid anymore? Is there no time to learn things on your own? Must I force it down his throat – THIS IS THE ALPHABET, REPEAT AFTER ME. He’s going to get it when he’s ready to get it.

And, frankly, I feel judged. I feel judged as the mom who’s not doing everything she can to make sure her baby is already on a waiting list for Oxford. And I resent it. My son will be fine in school whether he writes his name at 3 1/2 or not. He may be much less fine if I make him write letters everyday instead of learning them on his own. To me, there’s a fine line before enjoying to learn becomes dreading it. I will not make my child dread learning. I want learning to be a discovery for him – light bulb moments. And, yes, I will excitedly guide him to these light bulb moments. But I will not condone rote memorization. Not now especially.

Anyway, this is obviously not an eloquent post. I just don’t want to feel bad about my kid having "weak motor skills." His motor skills are fine. It’s the education system that’s weak, when you have to prepare toddlers for the state and federally mandated assessment tests they’ll be subjected to when they go to school.

9 thoughts on “knew it

  1. Yeah, it’s been a long time since we were in kindergarten (longer for me than you, even) and it’s amazing how much human beings can evolve in one generation….
    Your kid amazes me, too, and I agree with you that it’s ridiculous how much we expect kids to learn before they’re even in elementary school. We should be teaching our kids how to learn and enjoy it, not continuously prepping them for the next level of tests.
    Don’t get me started on how all of us 30 plus-ers competently involved with computers today really should have been inundated with computer experience by the age of 10 instead of starting in high school or college the way we did…. 😛 Anyone think Bill Gates learned to type by the time he was 7?
    Don’t tell me if he did, I don’t want to hear it 😉


  2. The Wee One’s gross motor skills are probably above and beyond though. Not a lot of 3.5 year olds know battement tendu.
    And don’t listen to the token conservative. He wouldn’t actually home school his own kids!


  3. Believe me, after teaching 3 year olds for 10 years, I rarely had a child who could hold a crayon/pencil “correctly”! Those fine motor skills will come later – just like they are supposed to!!!


  4. That’s crap. Evey kid develops skills at their own rate, and his sound just fine. He can do certain things other kids his age can’t, and vice versa. I totally agree with you on all your points. That’s what school used to be FOR, to teach how to read and write! Now it seems that we are supposed to have our kids already know it all BEFORE school! Hold your head high, and have Wee One do the same. Pre-school is for learning how to interact with others his age, and to have fun in groups. Drawing is also supposed to be fun, however you hold your pencil! And I’m really not sure what legal documents a 3 year has to sign that makes it that important he know how to write his name!
    I don’t really like the idea of homeschooling, but there are other otions to public school. The Waldorf style seems pretty cool to me…they make learning interesting, and celebrate those light bulb moments.


  5. Lucian’s eldest had the TAKS testing recently. He said after the test, they aren’t going to do much in school. They can relax. Looks like there’s gonna be a lot of info-forgetting coming up. *sigh*


  6. Studies have shown that boys develop their motor skills later than girls, no worries, he will be fine.
    Now, I have some 9th and 11th graders who can never seem to FIND their pencils, but that’s another problem.


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