Some of you may have read my post from last week about our first family portrait as seen through Monkey’s eyes. It’s one of those pictures that will definitely make it to Monkey’s Memory Box. We had a note from school the week before last telling us that the children would start getting homework from last week. They each received a scrapbook which would come home on a Friday night with a task to be returned to school the following Tuesday.
Last weekend the scrapbook was obviously a novelty and the task was easily completed. Cut out a series of winter themed objects and stick them in your scrapbook in order of size. Monkey enjoyed the task and it was completed quickly. I knew we wouldn’t always be so lucky!
I had hoped we’d get a few weeks before writing (AKA Monkey’s worst nightmare) became part of the task. Sadly this wasn’t the case. This weekend’s task was to draw a dinosaur, label it (I’m presuming that means name it??) and write something about it. Blimey, this was going to be tough for my little man. Yes, he loves dinosaurs, but drawing them is another matter. He likes me to draw them and he colours them in. Then we get on to the writing issue. The boy who can’t really even write his name properly. He has very little interest in writing – full stop.
How to tackle this task? As soon as I read it out to Monkey he started getting upset. I want you to draw it Mummy. No Monkey you need to draw it for me this time. Why don’t we pick one of your dinosaurs and you can copy him. Uum, ok, and off he went in search of a Diplodocus. I got some colouring pencils out and Monkey actually draw something mildly resembling his dinosaur. Great job, well done! What are you going to call him? Fredosaurus Mummy. Ok, try to sound that out then and work out how to spell it. We got to Fred and then he’d lost interest. Ok, never mind. Let’s turn the page in your scrapbook and write something about him. What do you want to write? (I will remain calm, we will get something down on paper, we will!).
I don’t want to do it Mummy, I can’t do it!! I really think you can, let’s just try it. I tell you what, if you can try to write a sentence then you can have one of the blueberry muffins we made earlier. You will have earned it, but you must try.
Monkey’s school use Read Write Inc for Phonics and I bought the cards that accompany the scheme some time ago so we could encourage Monkey at home too. Each letter card also shows how to form the letter when writing. So, I got the cards out and hoped they would help make the task a little less daunting for him.
What would you like to say about your dinosaur? He is a lovely dinosaur. Ok, well you need to write that down in your book then. You know what ‘he’ looks like don’t you – it’s one of your rotten reds. We found the right letter cards and to my surprise and joy, Monkey wrote the word down. We worked through the rest of the sentence with me helping Monkey to sound the words out and then work out how to write the words down on paper.
He did so well, this is the little boy who struggles to write his own name, let alone anything else. We were told at our Phonics workshop not to worry about spellings, but to concentrate on sounds. We had a first sentence, and I was so proud of him. It took a lot of effort but he did it.
Can I have my cake now Mummy? Yes you can! Well done little man. So am I bad for using cake to get the job done? I don’t know, but I also don’t think he would even have tried without that incentive. Now he’s conquered that obstacle I’m hoping it won’t seem so daunting for him next time. Slowly, slowly, as with everything, my little Monkey goes at his own pace with everything. Why should writing be any different.