Jessica converted the dining area (which, to be fair, is not all that large in our apartment anyway) into a teaching corner. So, that’s not quite right. It’s more of a nook. She’s got a bulletin board, a magnetic calendar, and a whole bunch of new books. She’s even got next week’s lessons all planned out. She’s in full teaching mode and loving it.
We’re undecided at this point (which, of course, is in itself a decision of sorts) whether or not to pull Namine out of school. We have confirmed from two teachers – the regular class teacher and the special needs teacher – that Namine is not, much to our relief, being grouped in with the special needs kids. The question was asked of both teachers separately, on different days, so neither would know the other had been asked. It’s not that we don’t trust the teachers, exactly, but we’ve been burned by so-called professionals so many times before. We feel a healthy dose of paranoia is not necessarily a bad thing.
Namine is not being grouped in with the special needs class, but the normy teacher tells us that she is slow. “Pokey” was the exact word she used. She told Jessica that Namine is not dealing well with the requirements of the class, thus our decision to – at least for the time being – supplement her time in school with some extra learning at home.
So last night, I kept Namine on task with her homework as Jessica cooked dinner. I kid you not, Namine has a good 15 or so worksheets to catch up on, maybe more. But I’m in no real rush to get her through; it’s preschool, for crying out loud, not a freaking term paper. So I had her work for a half hour on a coloring workbook. It was 3 or 4 pages long, and Namine had to color in (however she chose to) all the objects that started with the letter L.
The first thing I noticed was that Namine has gotten much, much better at staying inside the lines while coloring. I asked Jessica when that improved, and she told me that’s what she’d been working on in school. I assumed she meant that that’s what the class had been working on, staying inside the lines; but this was not the case. This is what Namine herself has been working on, and this is why she’s so “pokey.” And as far as being unwilling to finish, when Namine’s half hour was up, I told her she could be done if she wanted. She said, “no, Haha, I’d like to keep coloring.” Hey, that was fine with me.
When Jessica talked to the special needs teacher, far from giving Jessica a one-word answer on why Namine was so slow, she’d explained that Namine is very particular about coloring her pictures. This is a trait we already knew about Namine: she needs things to be a certain way, or they are simply not acceptable. And now that her fine motor control has vastly improved, Namine is discovering that she loves to exhibit that much control over her pictures.
This neatly explains the unfinished pictures; Namine is coming home each day from school (which, remember, is only two and a half hours long) with eight – eight – worksheets. They’re all coloring sheets, too. I thought that to be way too much coloring to do, when instead they could spend more time actually learning. It is preschool, yes, but they’re not toddlers. And Jessica agreed with me; she said that much coloring might be expected of a two year old, but not four.
So we’ll have to set up a meeting where the two of us can meet with all the teachers at Namine’s school, and we’ll see where we go from there.