The teachers, tactful as a parole board, explained why my children of divorce needed additional support for success. So I learned to love Mickey Mouse dancing his hundredth hotdog dance on the TV, to please my son. She cannot spell Valentine's Day but remembers the capital letters. It's true, valentines are confusing. I'm there but I'm not. I don't see her errors until they stretch across the page. Five small, similar failures, the handwriting innocent and terrible. I don't yet understand this is a disability. I give basic, unclear directions: sound it out, keep trying. How can I make her learn? I am too full of rules. I'm so boring. Her eyes flit longingly to the screen. I need her to believe books might save her in ways I can't. Sometimes my yell is the pressing call to action, the ugly conclusion. Sometimes it escapes as suddenly as a dog's reflex to the unfamiliar. But I don't have it in me tonight. We are beautiful, tired and helpless in the pale lamplight. We continue, copying our mistakes, struggling to stop what is not yet habit.
4 replies on “Spelling Homework”
Your words move me as to all the ways we punish parents and children in the name of learning. Thank you for staying beautiful, despite it all, for signaling how we must find a better way
Thank you so much for your lovely comments! Yes, this poem is about all kinds of errors and trying to find a better way…. which can take awhile and is a highly individualized journey.
“I need her to believe books might save her in ways I can’t…” brought tears. I’m a reading specialist/voracious reader/mother of a child with dyslexia. Press on toward the beauty of the stories that save us- the spelling homework will eventually disappear…
Thank you for your insight and understanding the emotional impact associated with dyslexia/learning disabilities and all people involved. And thank you for your hard work helping students and your child..it is a challenging but rewarding. Sometimes the emotional support we’ve gotten from mothers/educators has been just as empowering as the actual educational intervention! Best wishes in all you do!