More on Landon and writing

A little while ago I was worried about Landon and his writing. Based on what he was showing me at the time, I was worried about his skills with writing. We’ve been working with him, doing a workbook, playing on the iPad, that type of thing. I discovered that he can write, he just doesn’t like too. Yes, his handwriting is messy, but I’ve seen worse in adults. Landon comes from a long line of messy handwriters, as pretty much everyone on my father’s side of the family (including myself and my younger brother) has terrible handwriting.

Basically, Landon wasn’t doing his writing at school. Not because he can’t, but because he’d rather not. I would hazard a guess that he’s too busy talking to others to do his work. I’m guessing this because this is what I used to do. I used to get time to work on things, and instead talked to others, told my classmates how to do their work, or even helped them with their work, while my work went undone. I didn’t go to preschool, but this was me in Kindergarten and the first half of first grade. My mother, sick and tired of dealing with forcing me to do a mountain of homework every single night of everything I hadn’t bothered to do in school, got fed up and had a meeting with the teacher. The teacher and my mom decided to challenge me with a timer. It was a bright yellow kitchen timer, with my name in black marker written across the back. I can close my eyes and see the timer to this day. I remember the big block letters that read “Jenny I” and the way the timer would sound when you set it. I can picture the dial, and tell you that the timer was an hour timer.

So this timer, the teacher would pass out our work, and set the it on my desk. She’d set the time for whatever amount she thought was appropriate, and ABSOULETLY HAD TO BE DONE by the time it rang. This worked for me. This worked wonderfully. My handwriting may have been sloppy, but I was always done way in advance of that timer. What would have happened if I’d failed? I never knew. Something my mother confessed to me a few years back was that she didn’t know the repercussions for not getting done on time either. It never happened, so they never came up with a punishment.

When I went to pick Landon up from school the other day, the teacher was very excited. She told me Landon had done great at writing! He’d done a really good job on his 4’s! She gleefully showed me his work, and I suddenly realized what part of the problem was. You see, Landon had written maybe five 4’s on the whole sheet, and not done the numbers at all. To me, it was a crap job, because I know what he can do. Because he NEVER does it at school, the teacher had no idea that his tiny bit of effort was just that, a tiny bit. Not his best work. I didn’t have time to explain, and I didn’t want to discourage Landon from actually doing SOME writing AT school, so I did my best to be proud of him. But I knew what to do next. I had a plan.

When we got home, Landon did the whole sheet. We’ve had this system in place for a few weeks. When Landon doesn’t do his writing at school, he gets no TV till he does it at home. (Also, if he completed a sheet at school he gets a reward, a star on his chart and piece of candy.) We had parent teach conferences last night with Landon’s teacher. I took the numbers sheet, and another sheet from earlier in the week that Landon had also completed, and showed his teacher. She was shocked at how good he did. We talked about adding a sticker reward chart at school, and how we’ve been working on it at home. We told her that she was free to remind Landon that if he didn’t complete his work at school, he would not be allowed to watch TV at home.

So we’ll see next week how that plays out. Landon did have a breakdown at home on Tuesday when doing his work, but it was a long sheet, and I think I was having him do too many letters. I was asking for10, the teacher said she usually has them do six of each letter. Still, he can do it. It’s the drive and willpower to sit down and do it that’s the problem right now.

Other than his writing, Landon is doing Awesome at school. He’s smart, participates well, makes friends, and generally is a good kid. Couldn’t be prouder of him. He also likes to help the teacher out and possibly does a better job cleaning up at school than at home.

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