I have mentioned numerous times how brilliant Stephen is. The only real weakness in his schoolwork is his handwriting. It is atrocious. He doesn’t care about how the letters look if they can be understood. There have been times when he has written his name where the line in the H is three times taller than everything else while the hump is half the size of the other letters.
Last summer, I bought him a composition book so he could practice his writing everyday. All he had to do was write three sentences that told what he did while I was at work that day. Some of the pages had all three sentences crammed into three ruled lines, while others had letters so big, only one sentence could fit. He obviously wasn’t taking it seriously, so I stopped my grand experiment and right now, I’m not even sure where the composition book went.
Once he started at the new school, I noticed that his handwriting is still crazy looking and after a couple of weeks finally just put my foot down and anytime I see him writing like a madman, I erase everything and make him rewrite it. His handwriting was still looking messy when it was time for our first parent-teacher conference.
The new teacher was very pleased at his test scores. The school district has a new test this year which measures each child’s reading and math skills. For reading, the test measures “reading fluency of 2nd grade passages” and determines “the number of words read correctly in one minute”. The average test scores for the entire district were between 25 and 60. Stephen’s score was 136.
The mathematics portion of the test was in two segments. Mathematical Computation measures the “student’s ability to compute numbers in 2nd grade math operations, including addition and subtraction”. Mathematical Concepts and Applications “shows the student’s ability to use math in solving problems including measurement, time, money, temperature, fractions, geometry, place value, graphs, and story problems.”
Now I didn’t write down which was which, but one of the math averages fell between 1 and six, while Stephen’s score was 15. The other had averages between 9 and 16, while Stephen scored 40. The scores aren’t just for his class or even his school, but for the ENTIRE district.
Stephen is so far advanced that he is already beyond the point they want the kids to be at by the END of the school year. The only negative criticisms she had of Stephen were 1) he has a problem with time management (which stems from the fact that he lollygags until the very last possible second because he knows he can do whatever they throw at him), and 2) his handwriting (of course).
I am trying to work with him on his time management issue because I suffer from the same thing. It makes us look unorganized and even a little flighty and needs to be treated like any other problem. However, I have given up on his handwriting a long time ago.
This morning I came into the kitchen, saw Stephen doing his homework (which like a bad dad I forgot to remind him about over the Thanksgiving break until last night at bedtime) and noticed that his handwriting was crisp, clean, and most importantly legible. The letters were all of a uniform size and his kerning was perfect. I was shocked and amazed (no irony or hyperbole in that statement).
His handwriting was perfect and it was done without any prodding from either of his parents. It looks like there is hope for the boy yet.