Sunday, October 14, 2012

Spelling Testy

Katie has her first spelling test Friday.  My six-year-old has ten words in her homework packet to practice.  Seriously?

What are your thoughts on giving spelling tests to first graders?  Alfie Kohn, an educator I admire, thinks we should ditch testing students.  I'm prone to agree with him.  Especially first graders.

Katie got mad at herself when she misspelled the name of her school and the word "apple" her first try.  Seriously?  Those are freaking hard words for a six-year-old to spell.

"Why do you get so mad at yourself when you make a mistake, Punkin?"  I asked.  No, there is no "mp" in the word the way I say it.

"Because I don't like to make mistakes!" she shouted as if hurting my eardrum would make me understand her feelings better.

"Hey, hey, hey!  Simmer down.  I don't like to make mistakes either.  But you know what?  I have lots of practice making mistakes.  I've made lots of mistakes in my forty-one years.  So now I'm really good at making mistakes."  I smiled because I knew this would get her attention.

The kid has a future in silent movie acting, if that ever makes a comeback.  Her face had an exaggerated "huh?" look about it.

"I'm good at making mistakes because I learn from them.  I mess up, but then the next time I try something, I get a little bit better at it because I know what not to do," I explained.

Before you go giving me awards for mother of the year, understand that in less than an hour I'd be increasing my daughter's vocabulary of interesting swear words while berating myself for burning the pot stickers.  Again.

But this time only on one side.  And we didn't even have to dismantle the smoke detector.

I can't wait until Katie is old enough to appreciate the bad spelling jokes on Your Grammar Sucks.  Then she'll see for sure she's too hard on herself.  Sometimes you just have to laugh at mistakes.