Monday, November 3, 2008

A Letter to my Son's Teachers.




Dear Mrs. X and Mrs. Z,

I am writing to you about my son, I want you to know him besides as the boy who “doesn’t like worksheets.” He was born thoughtful and respectful. He needs time at home and by himself to recharge each day. He has a very active imagination and, at home, when I can’t find him…he is usually outside, under the willow tree, experimenting with water and dirt. He loves to learn things about Vikings, scientists, astronauts, Antarctica, Greenland, ships, sailing, oceans, and spends many late-night hours in his room perusing the encyclopedias that his nana and papa sent him. He loves to ride his bike and he loves to have some sort of costume on (lately it’s a muscle shirt, an Indiana Jones hat, and a clear backpack—filled with rocks and ropes and useful things like that). He is astutely aware of his sisters and their activities and while he doesn’t enjoy princesses and baby dolls—he allows and encourages his sisters to imagine and create in their own worlds. He plays pirates and Jedi knights with his cousins and they are very talented with swords and ropes. He’s artistic with legos and has this amazing ability with constructing just about anything he needs.

You tell me that he spaces out during instruction and just sits there quietly while the other children studiously fill out myriads of answers to myriads of questions on myriads of worksheets. Most likely he is soaring through the stars in the Millenium Falcon or sailing east in search of Aslan’s country on the Dawn Treader. I’m not sure how to make him do worksheets and stay on task, but I do know that if he’s interested…nothing can keep him from finding the answers in the encyclopedias, the library, or through experiment. Just don’t make him hate learning…because, up until now, it has been the sole purpose of his life.

Sincerely,

a concerned mother.

P.S. I will not be taking him to the doctor to have him labeled and medicated.

12 comments:

Marty, Reader of Books said...

Holy light saber, Emily. Don't get me started. I'm already way wound up about this subject. Homework, as a general principle, is the most wasteful way for students to truly learn. True learning happens outside a classroom and if a teacher doesn't know how to inspire that other than by giving worksheets and homework, then they'll kill that precious learning time more than anything else could. I really, really could go on and on about this, but I won't, for everyone's sake. But trust me, some teachers do more than teach inefficiently when they adopt the "more homework is better" theory; they hurt a student's education.

daisy said...

Oh my dearest little Canyon. I HATE that this is happening. I'm sorry his teacher can't see through the need to finish those damn worksheets. Canyon is dear to my heart, probably because he is so lovable and absolutely irresistible and is a boy while I am surrounded by girls day in and day out. Please keep trying to get through to that teacher because I cannot have Canyon any other way than how he is now and I won't stand to have him labeled broken in anyway. I support you Emily! You are an amazing mom to have raised such an amazing boy (so far).

jenreeder said...

great letter. amen and amen. I hate that some schools are taking all of the joy out of learning! It's supposed to be FUN people. Learning IS FUN! Don't spoil it for the younger generation! Grr... don't get me started... just let me say that I understand.

sadie said...

I agree. Canyon is a sweetheart. I get really worked up about this, too. Right now, I think my solution is toilet papering his teachers' houses. I think that could accomplish a lot. Just think about it.

jami said...

ah, i wish he had another teacher instead of mr/mrs x who seem to be killing his love of learning. i really do hope you sent that ... sometimes i think there are those educators who need to be reminded that it's their job to inspire and encourage -- not fill time with worksheets. i hope this all works out for the best!!!

Bookfool said...

Emily,

I had the same "problem" with my imaginative eldest child. He has gotten himself tested (as an adult -- he has better insurance than we do, now) and did find out he has ADD. But, wait . . . he still managed to graduate from high school. He was a National Merit semi-finalist (the grades were not perfect enough for him to make finalist). He kept his scholarships all the way through and graduated from college. Before finishing his final semester, he had three job offers to choose from. He has a great job. He took himself off the medication, after only a few weeks -- couldn't stand it. Yes, he has had to develop coping mechanisms. Nobody has managed to kill his desire to learn, but now he sticks with favorite topics when he reads. Hang in there.

Elizabeth said...

way to go, mama. way to know your son and stand up for him.

i just found you on a soulemama comment. you may appreciate my post today at

bitsofsunshine.typepad.com

Mandy said...

Wow..Em..that sucks! I'm with Sadie...tp or egg their houses and you should send the letter! Good luck!

Laurie said...

Oh - my oldest went through the same thing in 1st and 2nd grade. (no meds for us either!) Hang in there - all teachers are not created equal and somehow those little ones are more resilient than we think. Said little boy is now 13 and still loves to learn - despite those stupid worksheets and formulated lessons. And - he gets the benefit of being in public school where the real learning seems to be experiencing so many different types of friends and figuring out ways to survive the system.

Sympathies...

BTW - I was so impressed by your blog post about the roosters that I "stole" it and double posted on mine... : )

Brooke said...

emily, i love this post. it made me cry a little bit. and i hate homework too. mostly because it means i have to work to get him to do it. no, but i really have some bones to pick with public school.

roylancemommy said...

Hey you. I found your blog :) Hope you don't mind my two cents on this issue. I just understand. Ethan and Canyon are A LOT alike. Ethan is way imaginative, loves the same stuff like Star Wars and Indiana Jones,....we have that same hat. He used to be super shy (would never get up for ANY primary singing, would just sit quietly next to me, thus why this last primary program was such an accomplishment). Anyway...He has a very hard time with worksheets. He can tell me exactly how tall a giraffe can get, the exact type and qualities of 5 different penguins, and (last night) about some endangered frog in the rainforest. Homework is a battle, (since it's mostly stupid worksheets!) He has had good teachers and some not so good teachers. I'm sorry Canyon's very first experience with institutional learning is with teachers who don't understand the varying personalities of young learners and the blessing of being able to teach one like Canyon. They won't all be like that.

Melissa said...

I am so proud of you as a mom who is willing to stand up for her son. Teachers often times worry about "not leaving students behind" when if fact they are leaving many in the dust of worksheets.
I haven't seen Canyon in some time but I was always impressed with his imagination and ability to find play in everything.
Keep advocating and not medicating!