Saturday, September 3, 2011

How Do You Spell, "Frustrated"?

Sometimes I wonder if I have the patience for job as a homemaker, if I'm really cut out for it.

I'm trying to teach JD how to write. Last year during preschool, he would write his name every day before class started. I got him to the point where he could do it on his own, then stopped diligently helping him do it correctly. Toodles was with me and was under two years old in a preschool classroom running wild and tearing up the joint for the five minutes I would spend with JD trying to get him to write his name correctly.

Did we ever work on it at home? Maybe once or twice. That's my bad.

So I'm really trying to do it now. For the last week, we have spent some part of almost every day doing some learning. Thursday, we did big and little "A" and "B". Today, I was just going to review "A", "a", "B", "b". "A" was not too difficult. He kept drawing the middle line past the vertical lines, but that will come with time. "a" was much more challenging.

I have shown him at least fifty times, maybe more. Hand-over-hand and doing it myself. Fortunately, I am, to some degree, ambidextrous, so I am able to write legibly with my left hand. (JD is left-handed.) Each time I try to get him to do it himself, he starts from a different place than I've shown him over and over.

For the most part, I have been very patient. After a while, though, I start getting frustrated and it comes out in my voice. "No! Not there! Here," again pointing out the correct place to start "a".

I have a feeling that this has, in some part, to do with his speech and occupational difficulties. Perhaps he is unable to keep the process in his head. I really don't know.

I need to find a place in my life that I can equate this challenge and it has to be a physical activity that gives me trouble. Perhaps it's like in hockey, my constant disability to calmly handle the puck as a defenseman in the offensive zone. I get the puck on the blue line and suddenly I become myopic and anxiety sets in. It is frustrating to my teammates because I have ruined more than one scoring chance by making hasty or errant plays. In my head, I know that I need to catch the puck, look up, find the open lane to the net to shoot or find the open teammate. It only takes a split second.

However, I have not had anyone take the time to practice this with me. I have not had the opportunity to have repetitions to make it automatic. Perhaps even if I did, it would still give me trouble.

Or I can scrap the analogies and attempts to relate and simply try to understand who my son is. He isn't me. He doesn't get it. It's a great challenge to JD to follow these directions. It may take hundreds of repetitions before he begins to get it right. I have to wrap my head around that reality.

If that's the case, then how many repetitions in one sitting is right? Perhaps I simply need to find the happy place between not enough and too much through trial and error. Find the right tone of voice, find the right reward, and all will be good. Maybe it will take a month before he gets "a" down (maybe more.) Perhaps once he gets it, then "b" or "c" will come easier. Perhaps it's getting his mind to understand how to understand and follow the directions more than his motor skills. Maybe once he starts understanding how one or two letters are constructed, he'll be able to understand how to construct others because there are similarities.

What challenges have you faced in teaching your child or children various skills?

Thanks for reading. Writing helps me organize my thoughts and feelings.

1 comment:

  1. For what it's worth, I think that writing lower case letters is much more challenging than capital letters. Size matters more, and there are a lot more complicated things going on with lower case letters, whereas by and large, capital letters are simple, straightforward lines.

    Will JD have to learn lower case? Eventually, probably. But starting with all upper case letters might give him more confidence in his writing ability.