Saturday perfection 04.08.18

I guess this counts as schoolish work… A toy library toy to tickle the brain before breakfast (there are two ts and an i missing just in case you were curious). The most interesting thing though was her response to her mistakes – you can make the word on the blank side then turn it over to check. All the mistakes were wrong vowels – always the hardest. The mistake words were totally rejected and dismissed to live under the couch not to be tried again, corrected or looked at. This perfectionism, response to mistakes is why Helena doesn’t write. She started to ‘write’ very early and was so keen to attempt words and trying to write stories but at some point decided that these things had to be perfect. I don’t know when this point was, I feel I missed it, did I say something.

Not quite 4….

I can imagine what would happen at school, all the little kids doing their writing -those books with the gap for the picture and the lines drawn under it. The teacher does a brain storm, models her story, perhaps the higher socio-economic “what I did in the weekend” puts some key words on a white board and off they all go. Kids then all line up to have their work checked, show off their achievements. I can see Helena drawing her picture, then getting all in a tis was about getting the words perfect, the shape of the letters (she has neat little writing) and scrubbing out the whole lot if there was any mistake. She’d never line up, or maybe she would want someone else’s approval. I can hear her saying to the teacher “I can’t” or maybe “you can’t make me”… maybe she’d find a way to “get it right” – use simple words, take for ever, copy others. I could see her and the teacher having a little power play, her missing a few play-times, homework, or maybe the teacher would think she “can’t”. I may have made those assumptions myself as a teacher, would the parents of the kids I taught had the where-with-all to talk to me about their kids perfectionism? would they necessarily know? What would I have done with the information? I don’t even know how to help Helena, at the moment I write for her. Today she wrote a story and was so pleased with it, liking reading it back to me but she really wanted to know what was right (I couldn’t tell her). I can’t spell without a great deal of focus and thought however I can tell when a word looks wrong due to compulsive reading so maybe later it’ll all just come right, she is only 6 and what comes out of her mouth is great:

My shell

My shell sounds like the sea

the calming sea

the great sea

the fantastic sea

the sea, my friend the sea

sea which gives me imagination

I fly up and the sea puts me down on the waves

I am a mermaid

I am a butterfly

I am a fish

I am a pirate

and the fish are my friends

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