For me, open school evenings come with a sense of dread that starts slowly, but then grows over the course of the day.
As parents you have the wonderful opportunity to see your child’s classroom, to leaf through their books and to view the artwork and writing pieces that line the walls.
My child’s work is hardly ever on display. On the contrary, the handwriting wall is covered with perfectly formed cursive writing, all neatly presented on the page with finger spaces, capital letters, punctuation and all beautifully spelt. My heart sinks when I mentally compare these amazing pieces of work to the work I see day in day out at home: badly formed letters, poorly spelt words and an absence of punctuation. How is it that we are still where we are after all the work – the multi-sensory activities, the daily practice, the hours of extra work with a specialist SEN tutor?
I move on to see the books that the other children are reading and I fight back tears. Not here. Not now.”We have made progress”. The words come tumbling into my head and I say them out loud to myself under my breath.
When I get home, I rush to dig out my daughter’s writing from several months ago and I compare it to now. We have made progress, we have. The letters are sitting on the lines, the letters are better formed, we actually have some finger spaces (finally), some of the “tricky” words are spelt correctly and I can actually make out what it says.
We HAVE made progress!
Putting the two writing samples side by side was incredibly satisfying. It was evident in black and white that she has made a lot of progress. Yes, its been painfully slow and loads of work, but we are getting there, she is getting there.
I try very hard to focus on our journey, to think where we’ve come from and what we have achieved, no matter how small. My daughter’s journey will be different, its very clear. But the comparison to others just does not help us on our journey. She will get there, it will be slow and tough and there will be tears but by goodness, I’m sure she will be a better person for getting there.
Whenever I hear a child my daughter’s age read aloud or glimpse their writing or the books they are packing away in their book bag, I go home and I look at our journey so far and I rejoice in what we’ve achieved and I am so very proud of her, my special child.