I can see why it is important to the school system whose main objective is to create law abiding citizens and good heirarchy obeying workers, but I am not the right person to teach this lesson. I do not follow instructions in my life as an adult (didn't as a child either) and if I think I have a better way of doing something, I will always try that first. I sort of want my kid to do the same, not just in coloring, but in math, science, writing, analysis, sports...you name it. No one who changed the world ever did so by following the "rules". Well, not that I know of, anyway.
When I was a kid I used to color in my pictures at school with my own stuff. If I went out of the lines, I made it a part of the picture. If it was a picture of a bunny, I would also paint a green field and a sun and a rainbow and a basket of carrots, maybe some other bunnies, or , or maybe that bunny morphed into an alien with bunny ears, five arms and a ray gun shaped like a carrot, depending on my mood that day. I got a lot of frowning from my teachers until my mom told them to back off. I think learning to follow the rules should ALWAYS come AFTER you learn how to exploit your creative genius. Brainstorm first, organize later. I am a language arts teacher and this methodology has served my students exceedingly well. I know there are those with the reverse philosophy...I just happen to think they are wrong and have gone to battle over this with teachers before and would again.
Plus the age at which they expect most kids to color in the lines PERFECTLY is not age appropriate. Some will be able to do this by the age of three, and some will not be able to do this EVER. Some people have a frenetic way of visualizing the world, and the world takes all types. We need rule followers, and rule breakers, those who complete the job and those who design the job. Every child should be celebrated for who they are as individuals, because every talent is needed in this world and every gift should be recognized, fostered and exploited (in a good way) for the benefit of society.
Time management and deadline management can be taught other ways, as well as fulfilling others' expectations. Furthermore, there are many less demoralizing ways to develop the skills they will need to tie shoes, sew a button, write a letter or whatever else fine motor skills are needed for these days. To be perfectly honest, the way things are going I doubt very highly that any child born after the year 2010 will ever need to write letters of their own at all in higher education. Most assessments are moving away from paper based exams and a lot of schools, at least in the international school circuit are committed to being virtually paper free by the year 2020. Not that I agree with that, I'm just saying the syllabus is antiquated for the real learner needs of the students. Having great penmanship used to be a horrible debilitation for citizens of this world. The computer age has resolved that issue and it no longer is a factor in life. You don't need it to be hireable or acceptable anymore. My students in grade 10 this year will likely be the last IB students to sit for handwritten exams. Even forms are almost all electronically filled in these days. Having crazy handwriting just isn't a big deal anymore. With the progressive move towards criteria based learning in education, it isn't going to be such a struggle for kids to find their own ways to skin the proverbial cats in their lives.
So...I get why a primary school teacher, escpecially ones who has been teaching for twenty odd years in the system, thinks this is a vital part of their syllabus, but I think they are being incredibly short sighted and would definitely go to the mat over the issue if I felt the comments were belittling his efforts, or diminishing his self-esteem or love for learning.
That being said we all have different goals for our kids, and I totally respect that. Coloring in the lines just doesn't meet any of MY objectives, but I can see how it might for others.