Writing

I read a little friend’s school report and there was one sentence that struck a chord with me which approximately goes “… is not keen on writing in a teacher directed task.” The keen part is not a direct quote as I’m sure the word was more teachery. I thought both ‘why would he?’ and ‘good on him for not just obeying’. I am in the process of writing an essay for my teacher re-registion and I am mostly enjoying it because it is asking me to think about things I like thinking about and I see the value of backing this up with research, and there is a certain amount of me doing it because I want the end goal of the qualification. In the last week my child has also been writing! Self directed.. and today she said to me “I’m gaining confidence in my spelling”. I have been guilty of trying to make my child write to both of our distress. I get stuborn because she says she wants to be a writer and I am guilty of thinking that because she can form letters, mostly sound stuff out that she should just get on with it, and that making the letters is what being a writer is! I am supporting the tyranny of practicing making perfect despite having multiple examples of Helena having a break from doing something often resulting in her being able to do it when she does it later under her own terms. We don’t let children, who know themselves intimately, choose when they are ready to write. At the holiday programme I say “I can’t tell when you are hungry,” I tell them eating gives them energy for playing and importantly (it’s winter here) to keep them warm! Some kids are delighted and almost immediately eat their lunch… yesterday I had to tell a kid it was lunchtime or he wouldn’t have eat which worried me, even if he was hungry he would have waited until it was officially acceptable to eat! Hunger is a biological process with physical warnings we mostly all get so it’s easy for me to officially let children choose but aren’t things like writing and reading? We are biological beings. Yet with reading and writing we have a time deadline not a developmental one and label kids the teachery word for dumb rather than waiting. We don’t leave it up to them. If we look at eating and think about how disassociated we are with what our bodies ask of us, we over eat, comfort eat, diet, can’t tell if our bodies want protein or some particular nutrient. Elephants walk 100s of km to lick some kind of salt from caves because they need it yet I hear adults choosing for their teens what they should eat. We have lost sight of our biologicalness. So I am backing off from asking my child to write things she isn’t ready for or doesn’t see the point of (ideas she’s actually still working on, or things that she is confident she won’t forget so why would she write them down) no more giving her those teacher directed writing tasks. It is interesting that she is writing story ideas and rhyming word lists for her poems in her secret journal ( I’m not allowed to take photos as it’s a SECRET  journal) so sometimes she does see a need but it is so separate from me that it is secret. She is a writer, both a functional writer

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and for self expression…

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