By: Davida Grant
Simone’s preschool class is tackling the alphabet. Baby girl already knows the ABC song, and can sing it with great feeling and enthusiasm. If you point to an individual letter, there’s even a good chance she’ll get it right. Truth is, she really doesn’t know most of the letters. My baby has mastered the art of guessing. I wonder who she takes that after.
I am a strong believer that parents should reinforce what their kids learn in school. When Simone’s teacher advised that we should work with Simone on identifying lower case letters, I thought it would be a piece a cake. I reasoned that Simone hadn’t mastered the skill because she didn’t have sufficient one-on-one time with her teachers. Uhhhhhhh, not exactly. I quickly surmised that it’s going to take a boat load of repetitious activity for Simone to learn her letters. Oh how I long for the days when all I did was read Simone two books before bed.
I was not prepared for the amount of work, or maybe I should say effort, involved in educating a child. Simone and I will spend 30 minutes reviewing three letters. We’ll go over and over and over them and when we finish, I’m convinced Simone has it. We celebrate with high fives, lots of “good jobs,” even a happy dance. Then, literally five minutes later, I’ll ask her to identify one of the letters – say the letter c – and she’ll look at it and say, “I don’t know.” How do teachers do it day in and day out with 20+ preschoolers, all at different stages of pre-literacy development? God bless them!!! I now know without a shadow of doubt that “teaching” academics is not part of my skill set. It does not come naturally and it really is a bear. If I could find a way to completely hand this off to my hubby, who by the way often conveniently disappears from the room when Simone and I begin an alphabet “teaching” session, I most certainly would. He thinks he’s slick.
On a serious note, as I reflected on this particular journey with Simone, I started thinking about all the things I am good at in terms of “teaching.” I teach baby girl how to be courteous. I teach her what it means to be a lady. I teach her what it means to be beautiful, inside and out. I teach her how to show love. I teach her how a wife should treat her husband. So, even though I may struggle with “teaching” her academics, I excel (yep, I am tooting my own horn) at “teaching” baby girl so many others things, things that are equally important to her growth and development. I’m happy to say that I too wear the moniker “teacher” and Simone is and always will be my star pupil.
Oh, and as far as continuing to do my part to reinforce Simone’s academic learning at home, in the words of Olivia Pope, “It’s handled.”