Age appropriate literature

Today my son's father and I met with his teacher, the school principal, the school district psychologist, an administrative person, and a woman named Mrs. Hubert. Mrs. Hubert is paid by the school to run a program called "Kid's Connection," which has a curriculum she seems to have invented herself. I wish I had asked more questions about her, and about the program, before signing Palmer up for it. But when the school contacted us, and told us that Palmer was having trouble socializing with the other kids, it seemed like a good idea to try this program, which pairs up Palmer with one other kid, and then Mrs. Hubert teaches them to play nice together. I have now become a bit embittered by this whole thing, so I don't think I can write about it without it sounding a little sarcastic. From the bits of conversation with her today, I just got more and more of a bad taste in my mouth. Which is of course a very strange reaction, to this incredibly nice, matronly woman who looks like everyone's 60 year old grandma. But she struck me as very conservative and very judgmental.

We were talking about Palmer's bedtime routine (because his teacher noticed he is so tired by the end of the day), and anyhow I was mentioning that now that we are reading chapter books to him, the bedtime routine takes a long time and now he is going to bed later. And I happened to say he is reading Harry Potter (his Dad got him the whole series), and Mrs. Hubert started saying how that book is so dark and is not age appropriate for Palmer. Then I said I had been reading him Jackson Jones books, and she was like "oh those are so much better." I then began to suspect she may also be very religious, because the Jackson Jones books are all about the "author" who Jackson never sees but who takes him on adventures to meet all sorts of people, including an evil rat who Jackson can only escape by believing that he can sit on a puddle of water that starts floating. So yeah, you are saved if you are baptized is the theme of the book. This is quite a bit different than Harry Potter, which is, you are saved if you are incredibly brave and industrious and also a bit suspicious.

So we started talking about how to pick out appropriate books for him. They were like "just ask a librarian" and I said I tried that (which is true) and was just pointed in the direction of the juvenile literature section. "Pick out something that looks interesting from over there" said the librarian. I had even emailed Palmer's teacher, and asked at the last one of these meetings, for a list of recommended books for him. Anyhow, all we could come up with today was to start having him read more non-fiction science/history/nature books. Mrs. Hubert is convinced that Palmer is some sort of really competitive, angry, mean-spirited child, who dared not thank her profusely for giving him cheese and apples at their last meeting, and she blames it all on whatever television or reading he is doing. The district psychologists is working on her own theory, that Palmer has ADD and will soon be in need of medication, even though his grades are exemplary.

All of this is frankly reminding me of what I went through when I was pregnant. Every nurse and ultrasound technician and doctor kept telling us there was something really wrong with Palmer, because the bones in his arms and legs were not the exact same length. (The bone below your knee and above your knee are supposed to be the same length, as are the bones above and below your elbow.) If your fetus/unborn baby dares not have these things exactly the same length, be prepared for an endless battery of tests to find out what is "wrong" with the baby before it is even born. And I expect the same thing will happen with this school rigamarole as we had with that in utero experience: as soon as Palmer was born, the delivery doctor looked at him and said in a voice of disbelief, "He is perfectly healthy." All that heartache and concern and worry and testing and prodding, for no reason what so ever. He is healthy, and smart, and wonderful. And people need to just let him enjoy his life.

Comments

Carlos said…
Það getur verið virkilega erfitt að standa með barni sínu andspænis sérfræðingum, hvort heldur sem það eru sérfræðingar á vegum skólans, spítalans eða sálfræðingur sem þú borgar sjálf.

í gegnum allt þetta get ég aðeins sagt eitt (af reynslu), og það er að þú og barnsfaðir þinn þekkið drenginn ykkar best. Ekki sérfræðingarnir. Af þessu koma síðan eftirfarandi ráð: Haldið dagbók um það hvernig dagar barnið hefur. Byrjið hana nákvæma og síðan finnið þið út úr því hvað skiptir máli og hvað ekki. Loks vonarglæta: Börn hafa tilhneigingu til að breytast. Svæsnasta og svartsýnasta greining getur þurft að endurskoða sex eða níu mánuðum síðar, af því að barnið breytist, bætir sig eða versnar, allt eftir því hvernig aðstæður þess breytast.

Þetta er engin fornleifafræði þar sem allt er frosið og fast. Börn hafa merkilega getu til að rísa upp úr hverju sem er!
Carlos said…
Það getur verið virkilega erfitt að standa með barni sínu andspænis sérfræðingum, hvort heldur sem það eru sérfræðingar á vegum skólans, spítalans eða sálfræðingur sem þú borgar sjálf.

í gegnum allt þetta get ég aðeins sagt eitt (af reynslu), og það er að þú og barnsfaðir þinn þekkið drenginn ykkar best. Ekki sérfræðingarnir. Af þessu koma síðan eftirfarandi ráð: Haldið dagbók um það hvernig dagar barnið hefur. Byrjið hana nákvæma og síðan finnið þið út úr því hvað skiptir máli og hvað ekki. Loks vonarglæta: Börn hafa tilhneigingu til að breytast. Svæsnasta og svartsýnasta greining getur þurft að endurskoða sex eða níu mánuðum síðar, af því að barnið breytist, bætir sig eða versnar, allt eftir því hvernig aðstæður þess breytast.

Þetta er engin fornleifafræði þar sem allt er frosið og fast. Börn hafa merkilega getu til að rísa upp úr hverju sem er!
Lissy said…
Takk fyrir umraed Carlos. I have always believed my son will be a very successful adult, he just needs to get through elementary school!

Any suggestions for good books for 7 year old boys?
Anonymous said…
Enid Blyton's "The Famous Five" books are always good.
Anonymous said…
Sæl, ég er grunnskólakennari og á fjóra syni á aldrinum 11-20 sem allir lesa mikið. Það er alltaf best að leyfa barninu að hafa áhrif á það hvað er lesið. Ef hann er ekki hræddur við Harry Potter bækurnar þá eru þær góðar til að lesa með honum. Fimm bækurnar eftir Enid Blyton eru allt of karlrembulegar fyrir nútímabörn (las þær aftur þegar minn elsti fór að lesa og hætti við að mæla með þeim). Roald Dahl er yndislegur höfundur með margar góðar bækur. Ég veit ekki hvort Ole Lund Kirkegaard hefur verið þýddur á ensku en hann er líka frábær og svo auðvitað Astrid Lindgren hún hlýtur að vera til á ensku. Gangi þér vel.
kv. Halla

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