RE: DSM: How to properly guide?

Joe Jackson (
Fri, 15 Dec 2000 15:09:00 -0500

You know, someone was posting here very recently from Oakland who was very
interested in starting a school. Are you out there?

-Joe Jackson
Fairhaven School
Upper Marlboro, MD

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf Of Lucy
> Mahaffey
> Sent: Friday, December 15, 2000 3:00 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: DSM: How to properly guide?
> Hi Cindy,
> My experience with my five year old daughter leads me
> inexorably to the conclusion that it isn't going to
> happen any other way *but* naturally. In other words,
> every time I notice that she's mastered a skill (like
> writing all the letters of her name), I get all
> excited and try to lead her on to what I perceive as
> the next step (i.e. putting them in the right order).
> My efforts generally just roll right off her back, I
> get the message and cut it out, and a few weeks or
> months or a year or so later, she's doing whatever it
> was I was so worried about, usually without any help
> from me anyway.
> I've had this experience so many times, you'd think
> I'd just get it, but it's one thing to believe in the
> theory of trusting your children, and apparently
> entirely another to really be able to do it
> consistently. There's always one more level, one more
> facet of life I hadn't contemplated applying it to.
> Well since I'm writing, I'll introduce myself to
> everybody -- I'm Lucy, and I've been lurking on this
> list for a month or two. My daughter started
> kindergarten this fall and she and I both hate it. I
> was ranting about it to my neighbor Lee a couple of
> months ago, and somehow during the course of that
> conversation we realized that we both wanted to start
> a Sudbury school here in Berkeley. So I'm wading my
> way through the Starter Kit and trying to figure out
> what I'm going to do with my one-year-old while I take
> on this insane project.
> Looking forward to lots of productive debates,
> Lucy
> --- CindyK <> wrote:
> > Hi Everyone,
> >
> > I have a question about not getting involved. My
> > daughter just turned 4 last Saturday. For the last
> > two months she has had an explosion into letters
> > just as Maria Montessori predicts of 4 year olds. I
> > left her alone and only helped her when she asked.
> > In the beginning I had tried to 'teach' her but I
> > quickly found out that that was not what she wanted.
> > Since I have left her alone, she has been learning
> > just fine. I am actually very pleased and surprised
> > at her progress. The problem is that when she
> > writes her name she just places all the letters on
> > the page. She doesn't put them in order. Actually,
> > she writes them in the order that she learned them.
> > The t will go in the middle of the page, then the i
> > next to it, the e is usually on the other side of
> > the t, the a and the k get squished in on the sides.
> > Then she proudly announces that she has written
> > Katie. I love to see her so happy with herself.
> > Lately I have found myself wondering if I should
> > make more of an effort to get her to put them in
> > order. I have explained to her that for people to
> > read her name it has to be in the correct order on
> > the page. I have her name written and hung up as an
> > example. I have pretty much left it at that.
> >
> > So my question is: Do I just leave her alone and
> > she will eventually figure it out. Two months ago
> > she couldn't write the letters at all, maybe two
> > months from now she will put them in order -
> > naturally. Or do I make more of an effort to
> > 'teach' her the order? There is a school of thought
> > that says not to let children make mistakes like
> > this because the first impression is the strongest.
> > In other words, if I don't get her to write it
> > properly from day one, that first impression may
> > lead her to relapse into poor spelling when she's
> > stressed. I don't know.
> >
> > Any comments? I'd much appreciate them. I feel
> > like I want to just let it happen naturally and I am
> > experiencing the great amount of trust it takes to
> > do just that.
> >
> > By the way, Katie is at home with me, not at school.
> > I kept her home as I think it's absurd for 3 year
> > olds to go to school. :) I hope to set up a Sudbury
> > School that she could benefit from.
> >
> > Thank you all.
> > CindyK
> >
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