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to feel upset that primary school has failed to teach my son ( age 11) to write properly?

(270 Posts)
SensingSolo Tue 03-Jun-14 10:47:09

Had a difficult weekend, but I'll spare the sob story, and this feels like another straw on the camel's back ...

I decided to help my son improve his handwriting, for the second time in his primary school career. It was so bad around Y4 that I had to go to the school and ask for some advice as to how I could help him at home hmm, which I did as best I could.

Recently, I have noticed his handwriting is still poorly formed and have decided to have another go before he starts secondary school.

However, what I have now realised is that a lot of it is to do with the WAY he holds his pencil - like a claw! This is going to be hard to correct after such a long time, and my son was very upset at having to change it. Assuming we can of course, after 6 years of doing the wrong thing? Anyone help here btw?

I feel soooooooo hacked off that the school have not taught him the correct "tripod" way to write (which makes it so much easier and clearer). There seem to be so many things that primary schools do now in a huge curriculum (with a lot of political correctness thrown in). But really all I want my child to do is learn to basically read and write and some simple maths. I can do the rest.

Feeling both angry and upset at having to now do this, when I think its a teacher's job. Now, I feel like I have to teach my child to write all over again. Neither of us are relishing the thought ...

(p.s. we've left that school, so no point in going back and complaining).

What do I do now? Can I help him?

MostlyMama Tue 03-Jun-14 10:48:10

It is not solely the teachers responsibility to teach your child to write!!!!

CoffeeTea103 Tue 03-Jun-14 10:49:54

Gosh some people will look for any reason to dump responsibility on others. Have you not once in 6 years noticed he was holding his pencil incorrectly?? That says more about you actually.

grocklebox Tue 03-Jun-14 10:50:57

Why haven't you done it in all these years? I'm guessing you don't have 30 children like the teacher does everyday.

ruby1234 Tue 03-Jun-14 10:51:05

You've only just noticed his handwriting is poor and he holds his pencil like a claw? He's 11!

littlegreenlight1 Tue 03-Jun-14 10:52:28

It is definitely not a teacher's job to show your child how to write!
Surely before he started school he had pens, pencils, crayons, chalk, paints??????

WorraLiberty Tue 03-Jun-14 10:52:52

Why are you pulling a hmm face because you helped your child? confused

My eldest DS is 22 now and he has the most crappy handwriting ever.

This is because the school refused to let him hold the pencil how he wanted to hold it. Whenever he got it feeling comfortable, they would interfere and tell him he's holding it wrong.

My other 2 DC who are 11 and 15yrs old, didn't have that interference from teachers, as the school's policy by the time they started, was to let kids hold them as they please.

They both have beautiful handwriting unlike their brother.

SensingSolo Tue 03-Jun-14 10:53:02

I didn't notice, because the difference its quite subtle actually. There is no need to be nasty and attack me. I think that says more about you actually. I'm going over to education to ask this one, for some replies that are not penned by angry arseholes.

APlaceInTheWinter Tue 03-Jun-14 10:53:31

YABU to blame the school. As pp said it's your responsibility to help your ds. You are supposed to supervise homework. And if you had done so then you would have been aware sooner that his grip was incorrect.

With practise, you can probably support him to change it but it will take a lot of effort on both your parts. iirc you can buy pens/pencils that help with adopting a proper grip.

SensingSolo Tue 03-Jun-14 10:53:48

Last time I ever post on MN.


littlegreenlight1 Tue 03-Jun-14 10:54:03

"But really all I want my child to do is learn to basically read and write and some simple maths. I can do the rest."

I feel the complete opposite about this!! Before my kids went to school I had them reading a bit, trying to write their own names and doing simple maths, counting etc.....
Its the history, geography, art, German, Physics etc that I want them at school for!

Pinkje Tue 03-Jun-14 10:54:22

My son is the same but insists it is too sore to hold it any other way. I don't blame the school.

Has anyone suggested dyspraxia to you

orangepudding Tue 03-Jun-14 10:55:23

I'm amazed this wasn't picked up in his early years. My year one DS had problems with his pencil grip, his school supplied him with pencil grips. We bought the pack linked above to use at home, it meant he could find which one worked best for him. It took a few months of practice but he can now hold a pencil well without a grip.

sezamcgregor Tue 03-Jun-14 10:56:31

We had a threat on chat about pen pals - here

Perhaps something like that, which would be quite fun or making a scrap book about your summer would be a nice way to encourage his handwriting to be better?

At his age, it would be hard to write for long in your "new style" and I'm sure that after a few words or sentences, he would revert to his old Claw method which would be easier as it's more natural for him. I'd suggest when this happens, letting him have a break and come back to it later.

A friend of mine and I were discussing handwriting a few months ago and he was told by his English teacher in Y7 to stop using the joined up writing style he had been taught in primary school as you can't read it! I have very clear, albeit fairy large, writing and have found that since changing to non-joined up, it is a lot clearer.

Boys are renowned for having bad hand writing, my brother since leaving school, writes in capitals as it's just easier to read!

AlarmOnSnooze Tue 03-Jun-14 10:57:18

Oh fgs, give it a rest.

OP, I would be horrified that over 6 years at school, successive teachers have not a) notice your ds' handwriting is so bad or b) thought about doing anything about it.

Parents are repeatedly told (in preschool years) to NOT teach reading or writing as we will apparently inevitably do it 'wrong'.

I can recommend thenprogramme 'Handwriting without tears' - it builds up right from the beginning and is really good. I know this is a pain for your ds, but not is absolutely worth putting the effort in (10 mins a day, every day will help).

Good luck.

AllAboveBroad Tue 03-Jun-14 10:58:29

I remember at school there were triangular attachments made of soft plastic that slipped over pens and pencils and aided correct grip. I'm sure you could get a bulk lot on Amazon and attach to both home and school pens, paintbrushes etc to help? Your DS has a lifetime of writing ahead of him so I don't see why his handwriting can't improve with practice and patience.
Yanbu to feel upset but Yabu to lay blame solely with the school

AlarmOnSnooze Tue 03-Jun-14 10:59:25

Oh, and Stabilo do some great easy grip pencils and pens which make it almost impossible to hold them incorrectly. Will see if I can link, hang on.

WorraLiberty Tue 03-Jun-14 10:59:27

Errr you do know the education topic is also on MN?

AllAboveBroad Tue 03-Jun-14 11:00:12

Sorry - cross post with someone far more helpful who also gave you a link!

ouryve Tue 03-Jun-14 11:00:12

"YABU", "There might be genuine reasons why he does this"
"You're all so mean. Bye"

Stinkle Tue 03-Jun-14 11:00:37

I don't think it's solely the responsibility of the school

My dyspraxic DD struggles with pencil grip.

Left to her own devices, she finds a grip that's comfortable and can write perfectly legibly. Her school insists on a certain grip and cursive handwriting which just leads to a massive spidery unreadable mess, which practice hasn't made perfect

We've tried the grips linked above and it's made an improvement, she's also got some triangular shaped pencils which she finds comfortable

Staywithme Tue 03-Jun-14 11:01:32

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

DaVinciNight Tue 03-Jun-14 11:02:25

Well I don't agree with oroe who says that it was your responsibility and that you are 'dumping it' onto other people...

It WAS the school responsibility to teach him to write or perky and this should gave been done years ago. Just as, if your dc had more problems than others, it's when he was in reception, Y1 that the teacher should have had a word with you about doing 'exercises' with him to improve grip and control with his hand.

In my experience, schools are bad at this. If children don't manage it earlier, it's because they aren't ready yet and it will improve and by the time they've reached Y2~Y3 then it's too late as not part if the curriculum so it's expected hat the child will 'just do it' because they should know by now.
In reality I had to teach burg my dcs to write incl size and shake of the letters. Actually I'm still correcting my Y5 on how to firm his letters but clearly no one else at school is as he is adamant he us doing it right hmm

OP if his hand writting is so poor, I would also check any issue with other small motor skills and check there is no other issue there.
Then I would buy some lined paper especially for learning to write and make him do any written work on there. Also ask the teacher if she would be happy for him to use that paper too - I know it helps my dc a lot.
It's very hard though because ime 1- there is little emphasis on presentation/quality of the writting at school (teacher saying 'well it's not the best but it's readable' when it isn't) and 2- being so far into primary school, it's just not on their radar anymore.

MsTwankeyToYou Tue 03-Jun-14 11:02:45

YABU - most schools allow children to use the grip which is most comfortable for them, and focus instead on the actual mark-making.

A non-standard grip on its own won't necessarily cause bad handwriting, although squeezing the pen or using the wrong posture for your grip can have a negative impact.

I have a "bad" claw-like grip and tilt my paper 45 degrees to the left (like my DF), and my writing is so beautiful that people almost always ask if I do calligraphy the first time they see my penmanship... blush I got my ink license at the start of Year 2, so the grip issue clearly didn't delay me. I've always written reams in exams (and got good marks) so the grip issue evidently hasn't made me a slow, distracted, or easily fatigued writer.

AlarmOnSnooze Tue 03-Jun-14 11:02:52

here are the pencils

Pens also available, but pencils give better feedback from the paper as you write so better for beginners.

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