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#1 of 72 Old 03-14-2010, 12:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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so I sign my 5 year old for art classes a few weeks back to get her out with other kids and socialize a bit it's a couple of hours a week. When the teacher holding the class ( who also teaches kindergarten during the week)
finds out I homeschool, i get a weird vibe from her but i ignore it.

Anyhow my dd has been coming home the past few classes telling my how the teacher has been kinda asking her what she is learning ar home etc still i ignore this and figure she is making conversation with my dd that's it. Then my dd tells me the teacher keeps taking her paintbrush off of her and making her hold it the CORRECT way and she is kinda is getting a little embarassed in front of the other kids, but i said oh she is just helping you and i ignore it again.

But today the teacher pulls my aside and explains to me she is a little concerned because my dd does not hold her pencil / paintbrush correctly and that i should work on that with her. also the picture should have been the size of her hand but my dd insisted on drawing it bigger.

Well I guess I shouldnt be annoyed but I am , my dd is there for art class and fun which i guess does involve holding the paint brush and following directions... but i just feel like this lady has me under scrutiny because my dd is homeschooled.

I am convinced i will pulled aside after each class with this teachers list of new concerns. what do you suggest i say or do or should i ignore it because my dd is having fun..?
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#2 of 72 Old 03-14-2010, 12:35 AM
 
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hummmmm I didnt know there was a 'correct' way to hold anything?? Sounds like this teacher has major control issues. Art is susposed to be fun and creative, and really, who cares what size of picture your DD paints. If all the kids make the exact same thing, where is the creativity. UGH...

I may be so inclined to pull this 'teacher' aside and tell her to back off ya know??

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#3 of 72 Old 03-14-2010, 01:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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hummmmm I didnt know there was a 'correct' way to hold anything?? Sounds like this teacher has major control issues. Art is susposed to be fun and creative, and really, who cares what size of picture your DD paints. If all the kids make the exact same thing, where is the creativity. UGH...

I may be so inclined to pull this 'teacher' aside and tell her to back off ya know??

Exactly how I feel but I just wanted to see if others think I am overreacting...
the teacher showed me how my dd should be holding a pencil and FTR I dont hold my pencil the CORRECT way either, but i did ok! Now my dd is writing like crap trying to hold her pencil the way her new art teachers says she should.... and she is losing confidence in her writing.... If it ain't broke don't fix it! I may have to speak with the teacher if she comes to me again on the pencil issue.
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#4 of 72 Old 03-14-2010, 01:14 AM
 
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Well, FWIW, holding a pencil or crayon or brush "correctly" is a big help in how you write, or paint, or color. It may not be important to you, but if you basically hired this woman to teach your child, I'd expect her to notice things like improper brush use and not following directions. If your daughter is not comfortable following a teacher's direction, then I'd suggest waiting until she IS ready before you put her in an environment where she's expected to follow instructions.

It sounds to me like you need to find a time (before class? after class while your daughter has a snack and can be out of the way?) when you can ask this art instructor if she has an issue with homeschooling. If it weren't for your feelings that she doesn't like homeschool, I'd say she's doing nothing wrong as far as giving your child instruction and asking your daughter about what she's learning. "What did you learn this week" is a fairly normal question from all kinds of grownups, especially instructors of any stripe.

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#5 of 72 Old 03-14-2010, 01:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, FWIW, holding a pencil or crayon or brush "correctly" is a big help in how you write, or paint, or color. It may not be important to you, but if you basically hired this woman to teach your child, I'd expect her to notice things like improper brush use and not following directions. If your daughter is not comfortable following a teacher's direction, then I'd suggest waiting until she IS ready before you put her in an environment where she's expected to follow instructions.

It sounds to me like you need to find a time (before class? after class while your daughter has a snack and can be out of the way?) when you can ask this art instructor if she has an issue with homeschooling. If it weren't for your feelings that she doesn't like homeschool, I'd say she's doing nothing wrong as far as giving your child instruction and asking your daughter about what she's learning. "What did you learn this week" is a fairly normal question from all kinds of grownups, especially instructors of any stripe.

love, p
while I appreciate your input, i have to disagree with you as far as having to hold her paintbrush a certain way this is for fun she is five , she should not be singled out in front of other students due to her paintbrush techniques. she is in a class of students her age and up to two years older then her, that is how they hold the art classes with mixed ages... so she may not know as much as others as far as how to paint a vase or a landscape etc... I disagree that she should have to paint the same picture the same way as the each other, she is there to express herself, how can that be possible when you are told you must do it like this or that....

I also do not feel as though her art teacher has the right to quiz my dd on what she knows and does not know she is not there to assess my dd skills and her abilities as far as her schooling she is there to let her have fun by expressing herself not being scrutinized because she does it differently. not to mention these classes are not cheap and prepaid for!

As far as speaking with the teacher about homeschooling i was very upfront when signing my dd on that she was homeschooled and may not do things in the same manner she is used to her students doing things, she smiled and said thats ok this is for fun. So..... shall i go back to her and risk having a possible argument ? no way.... I will simply address it in this manner "you stick to the art and I will stick to the homeschooling"
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#6 of 72 Old 03-14-2010, 03:05 AM
 
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It seems to me that she is just trying to find some flaw in your child because she is anti-homeschool. While another child might hold the brush in a less stuctural form, your child seems to be driving her crazy because it sounds like she blames it on 'that child not being taught right at home'.

I am an art professional with a masters in art education and I do know that a 5 yr old can hold her brush/crayon any way she wants. Unless this is 'art' pretending to be Kindergarden instruction it should not matter to her one bit.
My MIL is a K teacher and reading specialist and EVEN she is not so directed that she makes all the grandkids use the crayons in 'proper writing form' ....and trust me, she is VERY into having everyone in the family do things the 'right' way in school.

I would not take a class with this woman again who seems like she has a problem with sticking her nose in other people's bussiness. I have taught swimming to homeschoolers for a few years and trust me -I don't ask the kids to say the alphabet or count to twenty while I check the form of their kicks. It is not my place or even relevant to my time with them!
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#7 of 72 Old 03-14-2010, 04:06 AM
 
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I would be upset too. One, she really has no business pumping your dd for info about what you're teaching her and two, no one should be limiting a 5 year old's creativity and singling her out in front of the other kids, imnsho. A big part of art is learning to be creative...you can't do that with someone all up in your business.

If it were me, I'd likely tell her that I am relaxed with things like pencil/brush holding, due to my child's age. That compulsory school age in my state is 7 years old and if I weren't homeschooling, my dd would not be in Kindergarten till compulsory age because I believe in being very relaxed at the age of 5.

I've been teaching my newly 5yo to write her letters for the better part of 9 months. If I'd been pressuring her about how she holds the pencil, she would have not wanted to continue. She would have been upset and would have lost the natural love of figuring it out. I've gently introduced this over the last many months and she does hold it correctly now. But she never had to feel hindered by having to hold it right--she developed that skill on her own time and it worked out in the end. I would be compelled to say the same thing about your dd and art, and brush-holding.

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#8 of 72 Old 03-14-2010, 01:36 PM
 
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Well, FWIW, holding a pencil or crayon or brush "correctly" is a big help in how you write, or paint, or color. It may not be important to you, but if you basically hired this woman to teach your child, I'd expect her to notice things like improper brush use and not following directions. If your daughter is not comfortable following a teacher's direction, then I'd suggest waiting until she IS ready before you put her in an environment where she's expected to follow instructions
I agree. Around here a lot of the art classes offered outside of a school only allow kids ages 7 or 8 and up. They don't go that young. So that may be one of the reasons why. :

I don't know, if you feel she is doing it in a negative way though then I'd talk to the teacher alone some time about it and get a feel for her and see for sure.

Proud *single* mom to 3 amazing kiddos
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#9 of 72 Old 03-14-2010, 03:27 PM
 
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I would find an art class offered by a real artist, not a kindergarten teacher. A real artist knows that art cannot be done 'wrong' and would encourage creativity and individuality in art work, not conformity.

There is no correct way to hold a paintbrush. It can be held in different ways depending on the brush strokes you are trying to make.
I would be very tempted to make a snarky comment like "I thought this was an art class, not a writing class or a 'learn to follow directions' class."

I'm concerned that your dd is feeling bad and starting to hate writing. I would say stick it out to the end if your dd enjoys it, but it seems this teacher is causing damage to your dd, so I'd take her out.

It would be ideal if you could find an art class specifically for homeschoolers taught by a real artist.
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#10 of 72 Old 03-14-2010, 03:42 PM
 
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as long as the child is using the side of the paint brush with the paint on it next to the paper...it is the right way! If she is attempting to teach fine classical painting to a 5 yr old (where you really need that 'proper form') she is obviously not attuned to children of this age or have suspicious motives...

I have taught middleschoolers painting and most DID NOT USE PROPER FORM....and they were all public school children, even unexpereinced ADULTS don't know how to really hold a brush. Such a bogus reason to poo poo homeschooling! What is the title to this class anyway "I'll teach your young child art skills unrelated to their age and put my nose in your sh@@%"

sORRY...I really hate nosey people, and those who use art to further rudeness!
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#11 of 72 Old 03-14-2010, 09:55 PM
 
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Just reading the original post, I'd say that your gut is telling you what to do. Trust it and yourself.

There will be many obstacles along the way. Your daughter is lucky to watch and learn from you how to deal with them.

You might like to read "The Art Lesson" by Tomie DePaola to her. Your library might have it. It's a wonderful, gentle assertion of the creative process and nonconformity.


peace,
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#12 of 72 Old 03-14-2010, 10:20 PM
 
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I would find an art class offered by a real artist, not a kindergarten teacher. A real artist knows that art cannot be done 'wrong' and would encourage creativity and individuality in art work, not conformity.
You made me think of a book by an artist who's passionate about protecting the creative process of children (and, of course, of the adults they grow into) Kids Play: Igniting Children's Creativity.

I wonder if maybe you could get together a little group of local homeschoolers who would like to do art together... Lillian
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#13 of 72 Old 03-14-2010, 10:25 PM
 
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She's only five. DD has taken art classes before and there has never ever been any comment on the way she holds the brush or the size of the drawing or that she still mixes all the paints together into a grayish brown mess and paints her clothes as much as the paper.

Art is supposed to be fun
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#14 of 72 Old 03-14-2010, 11:12 PM
 
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It sound wacky *and* it's upsetting your kid. I'd sit in on the class to get a bead on what the situation is and go from there.
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#15 of 72 Old 03-15-2010, 10:14 AM
 
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yes, i would be bothered as well. your child is only 5 years old! IMHO, the teacher's only objective with that age is to help the student foster a love for painting. i personally see no value in being overly concerned about precise technique. art with a 5 year old is simply about exposure and technique will come in good time (not within the first several weeks of class). i'd find another teacher & follow your intuition. hugs.

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#16 of 72 Old 03-15-2010, 11:03 AM
 
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I would stay with your DD during all future classes with this woman (you could volunteer if you like, do art beside your DD if it is appropriate, or just sit quietly at the back of the room). If that is not a possibility, I would withdraw my DD and find another art class.

This woman does not sound entirely trustworthy around your 5 year old.

I wouldn't bother trying to talk to her - it is unlikely you would change any beliefs she had. I doubt she would change her behaviour towards you DD, either, she just wouldn't tell you about it after class.
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#17 of 72 Old 03-15-2010, 11:52 AM
 
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Just for balance, I thought I'd mention that my ds took an art class with a teacher who drove me crazy with her over-directiveness and focus on the kids doing art the "right" way, and this was a homeschool group class, and the teacher was a hs'ing mom. So it's possible that your dd's teacher's dislike of hs'ing could be unrelated to her teaching style. That wouldn't change my opinion of the class or my decision to not continue/not reenroll, though.

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#18 of 72 Old 03-15-2010, 12:02 PM
 
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It sounds like either the teacher is singling out your dd because of hsing, or that she is overly rigid (and may be picking on all the kids equally).

Either way, this is not a class I would want my child to continue.

When I was about your dd's age, my parents enrolled me in an after-school art class, and I loved it. My teacher, who was an artist herself and not affiliated with any school, was really great. In fact, I stayed with the same teacher all the way through high school. We still keep in touch. Because of this class, I developed a life-long love of art.

But I hated art class in school. The teachers seemed to want everyone's picture to look the same. The spent more time making sure we were following directions and behaving than anything else. I often got poor marks because I didn't finish projects on time - they wanted everyone to be on the same clock, too. If this was the only exposure I had had to art, I don't think I would have liked it very much.

This teacher, regardless of whether she is anti-hs, sounds a lot more like the teachers I had in school than the wonderful after-school teacher I had. I'm not saying that all art teachers who are also school teachers are bad -but I do think this particular teacher sounds like one to avoid.
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#19 of 72 Old 03-15-2010, 12:11 PM
 
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I agree with the people that said this is not good for the teacher to dwell on this. I am an artist who held my pencils "wrong" untill I was 11. Despite this, I had great handwriting and drawing skills. As an artist, I can vouch for the fact that there are so many ways to hold a paintbrush!

It seems as though this woman and many other school types are just crushing the artistic confidence of young children by focusing on banalities. I would have a conversation with this lady, taking her out of the class. hopefully your dd's artistic confidence will remain intact.
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#20 of 72 Old 03-15-2010, 01:42 PM
 
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As her art teacher, it's within the scope of her job to correct your daughter's hand position when holding a paint brush, but she is overstepping boundaries concerning the rest. Your daughter is 5, and is not expected to have completely mastered precision in drawing and following directions. It's also not within the scope of her job to correct your daughter's handwriting skills, and is obviously making things worse since she's now regressed in handwriting. I'd mention this to the teacher and ask that she quietly correct your daughter if she has a criticism instead of humiliating her in front of the whole class. Otherwise, withdraw your daughter since she has obviously become the teacher's personal project.

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#21 of 72 Old 03-15-2010, 02:39 PM
 
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My feeling is that this particular art class probably isn't a good fit for your family. The teacher's approach doesn't mesh with your style, and her goals don't mesh with your goals. That's aside from any anti-homeschooling feelings she may have.

I think it's totally reasonable for a teacher to correct a child's grip or hand position, if the child is there for technique instruction. It sounds like you and the teacher disagree about the purpose of the class -- you think it's "for fun" and she thinks it's "for instruction".

I also think it's reasonable for a teacher to expect the students to follow directions -- to use particular materials, or to produce a result that's a particular size, or whatever. Whether that's a class you want your child exposed to is a whole different matter, of course!

It's not really the teacher's fault that her idea about what the class is about is different from your idea. I do think it's probably worth talking to her, to see if there's a way to make the class work better for your daughter.

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#22 of 72 Old 03-15-2010, 03:50 PM
 
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I don't think it's unreasonable to kindly suggest the "right" way to hold a pencil or brush. My dad did that with my 3.5 yo and he held his pen "right" for a little while with no ill effects, then went back to his old heavy fisted way. My son also takes skating and swimming lessons, and there are some things presented that he physically can't do yet, but when he tries and doesn't get it, it's no big deal, they just move on.

I think the problem comes when there's pressure to do it "right" and the child is made to feel like a failure. And maybe, instead of "right", it should be presented as a "better" way, or a "more effective" way, or a friendly challenge, or something like that.

And obviously, the woman sounds hostile and pushy about homeschooling. That seems like her real hang-up. I'd get out of there and find a better class.
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#23 of 72 Old 03-15-2010, 03:57 PM
 
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I would find an art class offered by a real artist, not a kindergarten teacher. A real artist knows that art cannot be done 'wrong' and would encourage creativity and individuality in art work, not conformity.

There is no correct way to hold a paintbrush. It can be held in different ways depending on the brush strokes you are trying to make.
I would be very tempted to make a snarky comment like "I thought this was an art class, not a writing class or a 'learn to follow directions' class."

I'm concerned that your dd is feeling bad and starting to hate writing. I would say stick it out to the end if your dd enjoys it, but it seems this teacher is causing damage to your dd, so I'd take her out.

It would be ideal if you could find an art class specifically for homeschoolers taught by a real artist.
ITA with this.

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#24 of 72 Old 03-15-2010, 04:06 PM
 
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I think the problem comes when there's pressure to do it "right" and the child is made to feel like a failure.
in total agreement. i would totally expect a teacher to show my 5 year old how to do something correctly in regard to art lessons. but with a child so young, expectations regarding how correctly they actually follow technique & instruction just seems like the wrong thing to pour energy into (especially to talk to the parent about). at this point, i would want a teacher to focus more-so on fostering a love for painting & getting my child's creative juices flowing.

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#25 of 72 Old 03-15-2010, 04:42 PM
 
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Just for balance, I thought I'd mention that my ds took an art class with a teacher who drove me crazy with her over-directiveness and focus on the kids doing art the "right" way, and this was a homeschool group class, and the teacher was a hs'ing mom. So it's possible that your dd's teacher's dislike of hs'ing could be unrelated to her teaching style. That wouldn't change my opinion of the class or my decision to not continue/not reenroll, though.
This is why we don't do art classes. The art teachers are very focused on doing things the "correct" way even with kids as young as 2 and a half. It is not a fun experience. I don't think art is something that can be taught so I tend to just keep a well stocked art shelf and let dd explore her creative side on her own. If she needs help getting something to cooperate then I will help her by holding it or showing her how I might do it, otherwise I don't interfere.
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#26 of 72 Old 03-15-2010, 11:11 PM
 
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I can see why you're bothered, but I don't think I'd worry about it much so long as your daughter is having a good time.

Holding writing implements correctly is a big part of PS kindy - for better or worse - so it's possible that she was just trying to be helpful. She may be a bit controlling - which is annoying - but if your daughter isn't too bothered by it, then I'd try to let it go.

It's also a bit troubling that she's asking your daughter questions about what she's doing with homeschooling. The teacher might just be curious - if she doesn't know much about HS, she's may be wondering how it's done. If this is the case, it would clearly be more appropriate if she asked YOU about it, but sometimes, people are silly! She might even be looking for new ideas - I have a good friend who teaches kindy and learned about handwriting without tears from a homeschooled child in the public library, and now she uses some of their stuff in her classroom.

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#27 of 72 Old 03-16-2010, 04:49 PM
 
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I think how much it bothers me would depend on how upset it made my child feel. I don't think that suggesting a child hold a pencil/etc the *right* way is necessarily wrong; I make the same suggestions with my sons. But I think that to focus on it to the point where the child is feeling bad about herself or uncomfortable, as your dd seems to, is not good for her at all. A good teacher I think would know when to back off and let the child absorb what was said.

And the bit about her picture being too big is just insane. Its art...

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#28 of 72 Old 03-16-2010, 07:05 PM
 
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Oh my gosh, who cares how a five year old holds a paint brush?

I think your gut is probably right that this teacher is singling you out because she has a chip against homeschooling.

How long is the class? If it's only a few more weeks I'd probably grin and bear it, but if it's a long term thing then you may have to lock a horn with her and address this issue by saying that you feel you/your daughter are being treated differently because you're hsers.

Grrr. At five why does she even care if she's in school at all? The legal age in most states is six or seven . . . Lots of families take that extra year before signing up for kindy anyway.

**eta maybe you could start talking about how you've been studying Jackson Pollock in your "homeschool" art study, and hmmm isn't it ironic that in all those videos you never see him demonstrating a wrong or right way to hold the brush? or even use a brush (hello, cigarettes and other debris in the paintings, in the MOMA)? or the "right size" of an art piece. As an artist and a homeschooler, your post has me a little fired up! There is no right way to hold a paint brush! Maybe you could loan her a JP video and that might loosen her up a little. Ugh. If I lived near you, I'd totally organize an hs-ers weekly art day for FUN and CREATIVITY, and we'd be just as loose and big and spontaneous as old Pollock himself! And he is just one example.

Maybe you could just say, I'm not concerned with how she holds the brush, I'm concerned with her having fun and enjoying the creative process; please don't worry yourself about her technique; she's only five.**

Happy and in love with my family!
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#29 of 72 Old 03-16-2010, 07:38 PM
 
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As a mom that has a child that had fine motor skill issues I feel you are absolutely wrong about the paint brush hold. There is not one correct way but there is functional and nonfunctional. One skill builds on another. If this teacher is use to teaching the age group, she knows this.

We were around early ed and k-1 teachers. My son would have been better served if someone would have "correct" his hold. If someone would have bother to correct him (gently) they might have noticed he did not cross the mid-line, either. But instead he spent years developing all the wrong muscles and nonfunctional grips. The way he was compensating was tedious and unpleasant. If it wasn't for intervention he would have grown to hate drawing more -- something he like. His abilities would have been hampered by a physical disability. His one year of K and instilled a non-functional hold that took about 2.5 years to fix.

Majority of 5 year olds have functional grasp. The ones that don't need to be aided and gently corrected. That is were I would look further, how is she being correct. Is it gentle. Is there gentle ways to reinforce better holds at home? Is it gentle but your dd being self conscious? If she is behind that can be more of the issue -- and you want to work on your dd confidence and help her understand people are good at different things. Sometimes when you love something you have to work harder to do it. I am thinking of runners with no legs---seriously they don't quit. It is harder for them than a 2 legged person.

If the kids are older why not explain to your daughter that the older kids know more, by the nature of being older. Like she know more than a 3 year old. They don't need that instruction
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#30 of 72 Old 03-16-2010, 07:55 PM
 
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I'm also having a problem with the "no right way to hold a writing/painting utensil" mindset.

1. You hired this woman to teach. She's teaching. Part of teaching is correction.

2. Bad habits begun early stay with us for a LONG time. I have a freind whose first child is a left-hander. Because my friend didn't know the importance of lefty scissors, her own child (now a teen) has issues with following a line (sewing, cutting, tracing). Had *anyone* informed her of the issues, she'd have done things differently. Because my 6yo is a lefty, I've benefitted, and so has he, from the knowledge my friend gained through trial and error.

3. I think that if your child's teacher is giving instruction and you take exception to that, and want your child "just to have fun," then your child has no place in a teaching environment. She's not going to learn because you won't support her own education.

Bookworm Mama to 6 wonderkids and stepmama to one more: 22, 21, 18, 13, 10, 8 and our Z born April 2013. . Partner to my       
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