Friday, October 1, 2010

Back to Basics

I have never paid too much attention to my handwriting. In recent years it is more of a hybrid of cursive and print.  Last night, I was helping my 7 year old niece with her homework.  She had to write two sentences and I was writing down the words for her to copy as she developed the sentences.  She found the formation of my letters to be lacking and proceeded to correct my sentences before copying them onto her page.  Although my “t” was shorter than a capitol letter she demonstrated to me that a lower case “t” should not have the horizontal line at the very top of the vertical line.  I attempted explaining to her that once one had the basics down of writing her letters that there was a creative freedom for developing your own style.  She didn’t buy that. 

My thoughts have returned to last night’s conversation several times this morning.  Handwriting is like riding a bike or driving a car, you don’t think much about it after learning it.  We rarely revisit the basic mechanics of how we do something that we do frequently after it is learned.  Even how we think is often just done, not thought about.

In contrast, my nephew struggles in reading. The school has placed him in summer school for reading, tutoring for reading, and other reading classes without ever going back to the basics. When asked, he tells me the reading teacher reads to him. Or they set up a computer for him that reads to him as he reads along.  Instead of taking him back to start fresh with a foundational course of phonics, he is expected to start reading by being read to.  

I think it is good, every so often, to go back to the basics.  Then we can rebuild on a refreshed foundation.  We can find the simplistic again and reduce the complexity in our lives.  We can also find creative expression by starting fresh.  It’s easier to be creative with a new sketch book and brand new box of crowns than it is trying to find a fresh page and work with dull crowns.

I think this week I will reexamine things that are often second nature and intentionally practice or make note of the simple basics.   

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