caution, kvelling mama ahead

We had the Bee’s parent-teacher conference today. Since I posted so much last year about our bad experiences with the kindergarten teacher, I thought I’d better update on the much more positive time she’s having in first grade.

Backing up, though–on the first day of school, we found out that the first grade teacher was pregnant, and would be going out on maternity leave in October or November (come on, we’ve all been there, we know it’s not an exact science). After the first couple of weeks, we went to back to school night, where I peppered this poor woman with questions about who the sub would be, and how various things would be handled in her absence. (I did apologize later for being crazy.)

I was really worried about what would happen with the transition. The Bee has her high maintenance moments, and I thought this might trigger one. My fears were all for naught.

In addition to the great academic report that we got from her regular teacher (which was read by the sub), the sub (who has now been there for a week and a half) talked about how the Bee always participates in class, and is always polite and helpful to the other kids. Landisdad and I sat there, unable to say anything as we beamed with pride. She showed us some of the Bee’s classwork, including her journal, and raved about how she writes much more than is required, and uses complicated, descriptive sentences.

I present to you the thoughts of a six-year-old girl, rendered in her own words (MD, you might want to skip this part.) You’ll have to imagine the kid print & illustrations.

“Look at what I’m doing in First grade! I’m ruyting (writing) in my jrnul evrey morning befor morning mesig (message)! I am a good friend. I help my friend plant a gardin. I could not swig my self. Now I can!”*

*For those who are not the parent of a kid learning to write, let me tell you that the current preferred method of teaching kids to write is to let them write free form, not to correct their spelling and grammar at every chance. I like it–it’s making her love to write stories, because she’s not worried about doing something wrong all the time.


November 15, 2005. growing up.


  1. Library Lady replied:

    You are entitled to kvell over a report like that. I know I won’t get as good a report on my first grader, at least in the deportment department!!

  2. landismom replied:

    Heh, that’s too funny–I had just re-titled this post ‘kvelling mama’ when I saw your comment.

    I’d like to visit the deportment department. Is that anywhere near housewares?

  3. Mary Leedy replied:

    Actually, I’m glad they’re using the free form with the kids. Writing should be fun, just like reading. I commend your daughter for writing such a nice paragraph. I hope she keeps writing, it’s a great outlet for her. Best wishes to you and your family. 🙂

  4. elise replied:

    I know some people do get really frustrated with the new fangled teaching method but I sort of like it too. Not too worry, by the 6th grade they will be learning to spell (and the definition of) words that most of us never use in everyday life. I’ve had to help my two older kids with words I’ve never even seen (6th and 7th grade)!!

  5. landismom replied:

    I should clarify–they do learn spelling, at an age-appropriate level–it’s just that they don’t get corrected if they are phonetically spelling words they haven’t learned yet.

  6. Suzanne replied:

    It must be so gratifying to hear that your child is doing well in school, especially if you’d had some difficulties before.

    I love what she wrote! I’m also glad I got a little advance notice about the current approach to teaching writing. It will save this editor from heart failure in a few years!

  7. MetroDad replied:

    Contrary to popular belief, I AM willing to cut first-grade kids a break when it comes to grammar. But seriously? That’s great that the Bee is doing so well. Of course, with YOU are her mother, I never had any doubt. My memory’s not great but that seems incredibly advanced for a 6-year-old girl! Kudos to you and LandisDad

  8. The Scarlett replied:

    WTG Bee! WTG Landismom & Landisdad!

    My Cameron is in second grade and at this point his journal is starting to look more civilized since he’s into his second year of having had spelling tests. And since he is our youngest of four, I can tell you that this new method hasn’t been around long. I think it is great! It gives the kids the power of the written word without the pressure of perfection.

  9. elise replied:

    Darn can’t edit comments after they are posted, it should have been “to” not “too”!! Little scared of MetroDad…hee hee, just joking. He doesn’t even know me but I was browsing his blog the other day…

  10. Desperate To Be a Housewife replied:

    Great job Bee! It’s the best feeling when they get kudos from their teachers…especially for us parents. And if they can get an excellent foundation in Grade 1, the later years are smooooooth sailing.

  11. Mere replied:

    Yay Bee! You must be proud. Love the jrnul.

  12. Jackie replied:

    so awesome– i love “hey, look at me! I’m writing!” I hope the Bee hangs onto that feeling for as long as possible (maybe forever, i still feel that way sometimes!), and if it takes newfangled instruction to do it, so be it!

  13. Ashley replied:

    Congrats, guys! Getting a good report is a great feeling, isn’t it?

  14. Sandra replied:

    My daughter is 13 and she learned writing that way at school, as well. She still loves to write all these years later. It’s nice to get a positive report from the teacher.

  15. chip replied:

    that’s great, don’t you just love conferences like that!

    Our kids also learned to write like that , and you’ll be glad to know that they are now good writers (though with BK it takes a bit of prodding) and good spellers too.

    Glad the Bee (and her parents) are having a good first grade year.

  16. Jessica replied:

    I’m practically in tears here! Yes, I’m tearing up at my desk. When I read stuff like this, it makes me miss my baby all that much more.

    They do free form, non-corrected journaling at the girls’ school also and it’s one of my favorite things ever. Those early writings are so honest and pure and sometimes just plain hilarious. I’ve kept all of A Girl’s journals and I’m keeping M Girl’s early writings, too.

    My step-brother has always been a grass roots organizer (he’s now a rabbi in St. Louis) and when he was five or six sometime around 1970, he drew a rainbow and wrote “Hippies are people too.” His mother saved it and it was a precious look at the person he was already at that age. I hope to be able to give our girls that same gift of themselves when they’re older.

  17. Library Lady replied:

    My favorite Yiddishist, Leo Rosten wrote a series about night school students learning English and trying to understand the word “department”. Hyman Kaplan, the prize (!) student comes up with “I beg department” as in, of course, “I beg your pardon”.

    So I guess the “deportment” section in the “Miss Manners” section of the “department” store!

  18. Badgerbag replied:

    That’s the cutest!!!

    I wish I could swig myself. Hahaha…

  19. Comfort Addict replied:

    Thanks for making me look up “kvell” (my late, Jewish mother would be happy). I absolutely agree with the way that writing is being taught these days, by the way. Sometimes, I think that many of us would be better writers if we wouldn’t think so much and would just let it fly.

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