I had a meeting with the teachers for tom and beth a few days ago, it went well on the whole. Beth is doing well she has ‘concentration issues’ but thats just Beth :-), the teacher recounted a few amusing stories of Beth being Beth, (For example, the time she draw around her foot and was asked to go out into the play ground to find things bigger or smaller, 10 mins after starting she was found stood in the middle of the playground looking about her, having utterly forgotten what she was supposed to be doing). I certainly could relate to the teachers frustration. I think Beth lives on another (higher) plane to the rest of us and frankly I dont wanna change that. She is creative and clever, I think as she gets older the stimulation will keep her rooted in reality – I dont really want to accelerate that. She may be dizzy but she is happy and dizzy.
Tom has been ‘identified’ as being a gifted child in science and has to go on additional courses to stimulate him. I am very pleased the school have picked up on this and are dealing with it effectivly. He has weaknesses of course, his spelling needs work (but then so does mine, could it be genetic?). The parent teacher consultations are different now, when I was ‘a lad’ the students had to wait outside now they come in and chat to the teacher with the parents, very huggy feely, on this occasion it was a good thing. Tom grew 2 inches (and had a bigger smile than I would have thought possible) in that discussion hearing his teacher say he was top of the class, gifted etc. This was a good thing for him to hear. After the meeting anna pointed out to me that my imediate reaction on hearing tom was ‘gifted’ was to ask why science and not maths (tom has talents in that area as well) – can we say pushy parent or what?! Pondering it a bit I suppose its because the teachers comments were no suprise, I know tom is clever and hearing someone else say it made me very proud but I was not taken aback. I must think more on this though, take time to enjoy the successes without always looking to the next!
This conversation kinda started me thinking of the nature nurture thing. Tom is bright of that there is no doubt however I do attribute a lot of his ‘knowledge’ in the ‘sciences’ to the environment we bring all our children up in. I enjoy the world and puzzles and so forth and I challenge the children with them. I enjoy sharing my interest in the mechanics of the world with the children and I think they respond well to this. A real challenge I have at the moment is as tom is older I can talk to him about increasingly interesting subjects, I must not let Beth (and maddie) fall behind as they get lost, I dont want them thinking that such things are discussions between Tom and Daddy and not them!
The question of the day though is that of spelling and the writing, how do I teach my children to spell,write etc. As a parent I dont (often) sit down and ‘teach’ its just part of our life, we educate by sharing, chatting etc.
Here are some of the thoughts i have had.
i/ I am going to setup an LJ account for TomBethAndMaddie to share, and encourage them to post into it. Not least as i think they would value this as they get older.
ii/ I am going to print out the 200 (or so) high frequency words most critical to spelling and velcro them to tom&beths bedroom door and have impromtue spelling tests – here is my thinking, when prompted they go to get some words from their door and spend 2 minutes learning them, anna or I test them on the words they have picked. For every word they get correct they get 2 mins children time to spend (Childrens time is a time when the children in charge, they get todo anything they want and instruct anna and I todo what they like, kinda works well) 2mins is not a lot but it will soon add up. Anna and I will monitor the words and when we think they know how to spell a word we will remove it from their door and put it on another place. We will randomly select learnt words and add those to the test, any learnt words they get wrong will be put back into the pool. I think this approach to spellings has the following advantages: Visual feedback, as they learn words they will see them removed from the wall – they can see progress! They are in control, they choose the words etc. They should learn the words just by seeing them continually. No explicit ‘lists’ or ‘learning’ ad hoc tests will be less daunting/intimidating
iii/ Buy lots of games the encourage spelling and play them together as a family.
Anyone have any other thoughts?