Relaxing My Grip

Relaxing My Grip, ailment Confessions of a Homeschooler
by: Jennifer Janes

When I started homeschooling a few years ago, viagra I was terrified. Sure, recipe I had been a public school teacher, but I had never taught anyone how to read and write before. The lowest grade I had taught was fourth grade, and those kids already knew how to do those things.

The kindergarten curriculum I purchased gave very specific instructions for teaching children to read and write. For handwriting, they particularly stressed the “pencil hold,” giving me finger play, songs, and rhymes to teach my daughters the “correct” way to hold a pencil. Like the first born, perfectionist, type-A personality that I am, I took this to mean that if they didn’t hold the pencil this way, they probably wouldn’t be able to learn to write!

I struggled with my older daughter, who likes to have Tall Man holding the pencil right alongside Pointer instead of having the pencil rest on his side. When she formed her letters correctly and her handwriting continued to improve, I gave up on having Tall Man in the right place and figured I’d get another chance with my younger daughter.

This year my younger daughter started kindergarten. We began using the kindergarten curriculum and all the wonderful tools for teaching “proper” pencil hold. She worked so hard to hold the pencil correctly while we were singing and saying the rhyme, but as soon as she started to write, Tall Man wrapped around the front of the pencil!

At the end of the first week of school, I was writing in my journal about my failure to get the girls to use the “correct” pencil hold. I glanced down at my hand and realized that I don’t hold the pencil correctly either! I remember teachers trying to tell me to relax my grip to avoid the huge callous on my own Tall Man and to avoid the fatigue that plagues me when I write longhand. But I never was able to correct my grip.

I have been told that I have nice handwriting, and I have accomplished quite a bit in my life—all without holding a writing utensil properly. Now that I realize that my daughters can become productive members of society without holding a pencil “by the book,” I’ll quit obsessing about it. I’ll continue to gently say “Tall Man” as they begin to write, and then I’ll let it go. All I have to do is look at my own hand to remember why.

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