Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Grammar Boy

My son is 8 and his writing is....

It’s just, the thing is....

Fine, the boy can’t spell very well.

I mean, he tries, don’t get me wrong. But lately his penmanship leaves much to be desired. Oh, I work with him, but he doesn’t take me seriously when I tell him that a woman appreciates a properly spelled letter from a man. And that she’d also like to be able to make out the words.

Look, my husband Tom…he has neat writing but his spelling is...well, let me put it this way. He once spelled ‘regroup’ as ‘regrupe.’

Tommy is now enrolled in an After School program where he gets extra help in reading and writing. He listens to his teachers more than he listens to me. I don’t want him to be one of those adults who doesn’t understand the difference between ‘their,’ ‘they’re’, and ‘there.’ Or ‘your’ and ‘you’re.’ You have no idea how hard it is for me not to say something when I see a Facebook status with these words used incorrectly. Of course, my grammar isn’t perfect, but I do understand the basics. And I want the same for Tommy.

I asked him to write something about himself the other night.

“Why?” he sighed.

“We need to practice your writing daily. We’ve been through this before. Don’t you want to be a good writer?”

“Fine.” Tommy grabbed some paper and started writing. A couple of minutes later he shoved the paper at me. “There.”

I peered down at it:

“Kanye West, this is fabulous!” I exclaimed.

Tommy frowned. “Who is Kanye West?”

“Oh, just this guy who thinks he’s the greatest at like, everything. I just like how you mentioned that you were so handsome and…you know what, never mind. This is good, but can you see your mistakes?”

Tommy shook his head. “It’s perfect.”

“Ahh Kanye, no, for starters, it’s not proper to say ‘I got blue eyes,’ you’re not on Jerry Springer. You should have written ‘I’ve got blue eyes.' I like that you clarified that you have a mouth. Handsome is spelled like this.” I scribbled down the word for him to see. “And again, you should have written ‘I’ve got a girlfriend.’ Girlfriend is spelled like this.” And I wrote that down for him too.

“Thanks,” Tommy said glumly, taking the corrections.

“I know it can get frustrating, but you’ll get it,” I vowed. “And no kissing that girlfriend of yours until you’re...”

“Twenty,” Tommy finished.

Basically, his relationship isn’t that serious. They chat for a bit at the bus stop, exchange Silly Bandz, and engage in a game of Tag.

Still, I’ve drilled it in his head that there is no kissing until the age of twenty. I hope he continues to believe this for many years.

And I hope he never acts like Kanye West.


  1. He just has some healthy self-confidence!

  2. lol I love this story- too hilarious :)
    Just found you through SITS- have a lovely day! :)

  3. Well, he's right... he *is* handsome. (Too bad he's too young for me. And at the other end of the world. Oh, and I do have a guy already. Never mind. *g*)

    You might need to find better reasons why he needs proper spelling and grammar - explain to him that he can't hold any of the dream jobs he's been talking about unless his grammar and spelling are spot on.

  4. my daughter spells terribly at 8 too. i tell her she won't be able to get into college or get a good job if she can't spell. but apparently, in her 8 yr old mind, having a career as a dog walker seems like a pretty good plan & no one cares if their dog walker can spell.

  5. I can't stand when grown adults incorrectly spell your/you're and there/their/they're. I have no doubt your son will get it :)

  6. Love his self confidence! I hope you save that and frame it! Also, I am married to and am the parent of horrible spellers, and as a former newspaper editor, it makes me crazy sometime!

  7. Gah! The adults who misspell the simplest words drive me bonkers. Children, on the other hand, still have a chance so I love how they work it through. English is not an easy language to spell especially when the emphasis is on phoenics.

  8. Ha! I LOVE Tommy's confidence. Blue eyes ARE handsome ... and a mouth helps, too. Even if he isn't going to kiss until he's twenty. :)

  9. it's great that he has a lot of self-esteem.

  10. What a cute kid! He'll get it eventually. That is great there is additional programs to help him.
    As for the Facebook comment, I totally agree and feel the same way!

  11. Love his self esteem! But isn't Kanye the one who put diamonds all over his bottom teeth? I say "nay, nay!"

  12. My mother cannot read anything without a red pen. Drives me nuts and sometimes I purposely write incorrectly just to tick her off. (bad huh?) And I have told my niece she must have one of the two to have a boyfriend - college education or travel outside the US. She is 14 and laughs at me constantly.

  13. My husband spells tired, "tierd".

    That's great that he has a girlfriend. Are you going to start teasing him about her. ;)

  14. I'm a stickler for spelling as well. It's great that he's working at it.

  15. Sean is 9 and autistic. I would love for him to be able to spell and legibly write this well. He's left handed so he has that working against him too.

    My 19 year old is an Aspie. I tell her, that's why God invented spell-check. She's in college and working full-time at Staples. She'll be 20 in a couple of months - I've had to extend the no-kissing rule to 25!

  16. My 7 year old is a terrible and illegible speller too. Frustrating for me because I am a stickler for grammar and spelling! But I love the content of his note :)

  17. LOL! My youngest had horrible handwriting at that age. Sometimes I thought her hands had been possessed by a doctor. It was that bad! She's improved with age. Thank goodness! I'm sure his will get better too.

  18. Spelling is hard. I laugh at my husband's misspellings all the time. It'll come to him. He took your criticism well. James would have argued with me that he was RIGHT! and I was wrong. lol

  19. So adorable!!!
    Spelling mistakes drive me crazy too. I hate when people write "past" away instead of passed...I see it ALL the time!

  20. Sometimes I want to crawl under the table when I read my stepdaughter's Facebook updates. Clearly my writerly influence doesn't rub off on her - and she's 14. You've got lots of time sunshine :-)

  21. when should we, as parents, be truly concerned about the misspellings? my daughter is 10 and still has some trouble.

    and 2 thumbs down for Kanye!

    p.s. Tommy is just too funny!

  22. the great news is that I've never known spelling to inhibit people from becoming great in their professions. My hubs isn't the worlds best speller (but clearly he's the most patient man in the world for letting me correct him constantly) and a good friend of mine practically has his PhD in Linguistics and teaches at universities world wide and he still can't spell to save his life. In this day and age of spell check, a little bad spelling won't hold him down. It might make getting out of grade school a challenge, but I personally don't think it'll ever limit him. If you're still worried about it - reading helps a LOT!
    From a fellow SITStah, hang in there!

  23. 1. Can your son bundle up some of his confidence and send it my way? I could surely use some.

    2. Your, you're. There, they're, their...right with ya sista!

    3. Love that you work so close with your kiddos on stuff. I've seen way too many lax parents just assume that teachers are supposed to be the only ones teaching. What a great mom you are to those kiddos. Keep up the great work.

  24. I think "I have" is better than "I've got".

    Don't worry about the handwriting thing. My 11 yr old is the same way. None of these kids nowadays can write worth a shit. Too much technology. Just came from a meeting at my kids school, and the teachers were talking about how they just heard all school testing was going to be computer based, including SAT's, in the near future.

  25. Silly Bands!

    My boys keep coming home with them...I better start the, "No kissing till you're twenty" thing around here.

  26. Can any 8 year old spell? My 7 year old can't but i thought that was normal. Now I am freaking out!

  27. Relax, that handsome boy has a girlfriend and a mouth. Oh, wait a minute... Luckily, he knows about that 20 rule. here's to hoping she does too.

  28. I hope my boys never act like Kanye, too but they LOVE rap music so I'm not counting my chickens.

    PS Good rule on the no kissing thing.

  29. I love that he points out that he has a mouth, as if they may have ever been any doubt. Good on you for teaching him at home, so many parents don't and then blame teachers like me when their kids can't spell.

  30. I LOVE his description of hisself!

    He sounds downright darlin and I hope he never looses that confidence!

    And of course I'm only writing this way to annoy the heck out of you because I can't stand it when people can't write they're words right either :)

  31. LOL! I love this post!!

  32. Both of mine have issues with writing. (Which I totally don't get.) We're working on it, but I find that they don't listen to me because I am their mother and not their teacher.

    And my oldest just learned about sex (he's 10). He's decided that it's gross and he's never doing it. He's going to adopt instead. :)

  33. As long as he can type and it has spell check he is set! And with those blue eyes......he will never make it to 20 I putting my bets on 5th grade!

  34. Yes, no being Kanye and no kissing until 20! I need to drill these principles into Toot as well. :D

  35. Ugh..that's one of my biggest pet peeves, too. No..there, they're, and their are not the same thing. Go figure. And I hope Kanye West doesn't act like Kanye West. What a disaster.

  36. Just stalking more of your blog entries...bwahahaha.
    Love it.

    Your boy acts like Kanye West?

  37. hahaha! i LOVE that he wrote that!!! :D

  38. Your son is one up on you. Got isn't really acceptable but, at least, he didn't say a double possession in "I've got..."

    Either "I have" or "I got" but you can't have both in the phrase "I've got..." That is redundant.

    The kid is has great confidence - you should be incredibly proud.

    I am not a grammar nazi - I swear - my blog speaks to it, but you are so earnest to help him I thought I could point out that you shouldn't write "I've got."

    Please don't take offense. Honest.


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