Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The CAPITALIZATION of our Children

During the kindergarten roundup, we were told that one of the things we could do to help our child get ready for school in the fall is to make sure she is able to write her name. That's not a problem as she's been doing it for a while now. Then they clarified that they wanted it correctly with a capital letter followed by lowercase letters. Oh dear. That's a problem that is going to need some work.

I'm notorious for writing in small caps. You know, where you capitalize the first letter of the word then write the rest of the word in smaller capital letters. Even when I'm consciously trying to write with capital and lowercase letters like a pre-Word document-spoiled person would do, I find myself drifting back to small caps mid sentence. Or in an address, the name may be correct but the address itself is small caps. I like writing in cursive and feel that I have very pretty handwriting. But since you're supposed to PRINT everything these days, I don't get the luxury of cursive unless it's in a letter. Besides, I like the way small caps look so it has become a habit.

Apparently since I have children learning to write, it's a bad habit.

Alright, it may not be because of Word, WordPerfect or computers in general, but that's when I know I started using it so I have decided to blame them... justly or not.

Okay, back to my story...
Miss M recently received a pack of small square stickers. She quickly decided that they were the perfect size for mail. So for the past week or so, whenever there has been free time, the girls have wanted to "make mail" for her grandmas. Whenever we're in the alphabet/word-writing mode, I try to take advantage of it. I'll let them 'write' whatever they want, which usually is their name over and over. Then I ask them what they want to say and I write it out (correctly) for them to copy. Even when I use proper lowercase letters, I've noticed that Miss M will write in all caps.

On the flipside - When Miss K started preschool, she learned to write her name correctly. Woohoo for teachers and proper modeling! As Miss K gained confidence in her letters and ability to write, she began doing table work at home with Miss M (and her lowercase challenged mother). Unfortunately, she quickly picked up our incorrect style. The teacher even commented on it to me during our last parent/teacher conference that she stopped writing her name with proper lowercase letters and has been only writing all caps for her name.

Now I have just the summer to fix this and get Miss M writing her words correctly. Is it possible since I have to relearn it all myself first?!

Good thing I'm not going to kindergarten in the fall because I would totally fail the class.


  • Miss Lisa

    Don't panic--my poor oldest went to kindergarden knowing only a third of the alphabet and is now the top reader in her fourth grade class ;)
    KIndergarden is mostly all about learning to act in school--everything else is a bonus:)

  • Anonymous

    We have the opposite problem here - the Little Guy has been using upper/lower case to write his name in preK, but the kindergarten class uses Handwriting Without Tears and they start with all capitals. I don't want anyone to discourage him because he is still behind in his fine motor skills, so I am going to have to talk to them about it at the IEP meeting.

  • Anonymous

    When my son started kindergarten the school was using some form of printing whose name escapes me at the moment; it was supposed to prepare them for learning cursive by requiring the small "flicks" at the end of letters that would mimic the way the cursive letters would later join together to form words. Of course, when writing notes to our kids we all had to learn to add the flicks so the kids could read our writing.

    By the time my daughter started K the school had switched to "Handwriting Without Tears", which was much more intuitive for the parents.

  • Deborah

    I always try to teach the kids lower case first, but they seem to prefer the caps...seems to come naturally!
    Thanks for visiting my place...hope you checked out the garden while you were there!

  • Anonymous

    I also teach lower case first then caps. I find the lower case are easier for children too.

  • Michele

    I'm just freaked out that a kid in our community who isn't even two yet is apparently, according to his mom, already spelling and writing. I'm lucky if I can get Zoe to draw a few lines on a piece of paper. If I start thinking about all this kindergarten stuff, my head will explode. Good luck : )

  • Anonymous

    I am a bloggy dork. How on earth did you leave a link in your comment on my blog? Do tell!!

  • Texasholly

    Believe me, the fact that she can wrtie at all will put her in the top. But your post made me laugh because I am a all caps kinda girl, but I just write in all caps, no little caps after the poor boys will be sitting in therapy right beside your daughter.

  • Danielle

    You tell that K teacher, "You get what you get and you don't get upset!". I teach K and I am happy if the kids can recognize their names when they come to me.