Children learning to read and write English are interesting to observe. With all of the confusing rules of the language, it is not easy for children to remember which letters are silent or that letters can have different sounds based on context or simply just because. They have their own interpretation of how words sound and I tend to stay away from correcting the spelling of my children's homework. Thus was the case with Sage's homework today.
Today's kindergarten homework consisted of writing a story relating to four pictures. There was a picture of a snowman, a house, a jacket, and a boy. Sage was not sure what to do but said he was the boy in the story. His sister started to help him. She came up with the basics of the story and started to help him write it. After the third word, I told her to let him write the words as he thinks they should sound.
I watched as he carefully wrote the letters. 'I am in my house putting my jacket on. And I gonna go outside to build a snowman' was written as 'I am in mie hs pten ym jakt on. Aut I knu go aots suet tu put a so meen.' I had to laugh at one point, not out of mockery but out of sheer delight that he was putting so much thought into the sounds. And this is coming from a boy who greatly dislikes school. Every morning this past week he has woken up with dread at the thought of having to go to school.
'Do I have to go to school today?' Sage would ask each morning as I went to his bed to wake him for breakfast. I told him 'yes' and he was near tears. 'I hate learning' he told me. He would rather build anything than go to school, but he got out of his bed and started his 8-hour day at school.
Eight hours seems like a long time for a 5-year old to be in school. Learning how to read and write is also something I see as too early to learn at such a young age as most children are not ready for such tasks. The added pressure to perform and pass tests is nothing I experienced in my years as a kindergartener. Times have changes and the pressure to excel is high for young children these days.
I enjoyed watching my son figure out how to write a sentence about ice cream and flowers based on the pictures he made from shapes. 'I eating ice cream outside with a flower' was written as 'I edn isrem iotsuet us a faue'. I did not attempt to correct him as he will learn spelling soon enough. I smiled as I realised how far he has come from earlier in the year.
The events of the evening made me realise adults are not so different from children when it comes to interpretation. Misunderstandings, as misspellings, are abundant but eventually we learn to work out the mistakes. Sometimes we might not understand why things happen. Sometimes we are too stubborn to see things as someone else sees them - to walk in their shoes - and we feel it must be our way or the highway. We speak words which can never be taken back, which forever might change the course we set out to take. Sometimes, silence is best.