Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Protozoa People


After our first parent-teacher conference with Katie's kindergarten teacher, Will and I talked about getting her one of those finger positioners you can put on the end of a pencil to teach a child the "correct" position to hold a pencil. I never put much emphasis on forcing Katie to hold a pencil in a way that felt unnatural to her, because I'm that kind of loosey-goosey parent, but also because she's a lefty and I'm a righty, so what do I know? Maybe the way she prefers to hold a pencil, sort of sideways and with all four fingers and her thumb, is a lefty thing?

But when her teacher said Katie might benefit from a pencil positioner, we immediately agreed with her and never questioned her advice. I really like her teacher. I think she has creative and effective ways to teach children, so I respect her opinion. If her teacher thinks holding a pencil correctly, with just two fingers--pointer and tall man--and the thumb, will improve Katie's fine motor skills, why should we question it?

Then I noticed how I hold a pencil. I don't write much anymore. My fingers fly across a computer keyboard, but my hand starts to cramp if I try to hand write much anymore. Then yesterday during a meeting I found myself taking notes. I looked down at my hand and there I was, holding the pencil the way I always hold it, with three fingers--pointer, tall man, ring man--and my thumb. I looked around the table at my colleagues. They were all holding their pencils with just two fingers--pointer, tall man, and a thumb. Oh, so that's where she gets it. I guess our decision to homeschool Katie for preschool might not have panned out the way we planned.

After the meeting, I returned to my desk. My desk that is covered with Katie's artwork. I can count eleven drawings without moving from my chair. From the time Katie picked up a crayon and held it sideways, she's loved to draw. Her artwork first populated with little protozoa people,


it has evolved into houses and flowers and hearts and suns,



as well as brilliantly original favorites such as "Daddy Throwing Up"


and poop sculptures made out of mud from our backyard.


This from the girl who needs to learn how to hold a pencil correctly? You know, I don't see that her technique needs corrected come to think of it.