Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Glad I'm Not Jane Austen.

Tonight my ten-year-old reminded me how much I really do appreciate technology. So often I complain about slow computers, lost files, and spam. It is such a part of my life, I forget how good we really have it.

My youngest daughter had a day off from school. While the teachers attended a teacher development meeting, she stayed home and hung out with me. During the morning she played with the kids I watch so I could sew her Halloween costume. After lunch I remembered that she had some homework to finish. Her teacher gave the class an assignment to write a story and it is due tomorrow.

The story is written, but she needed to correct the spelling and copy it out again. She didn't write a short story - it is five and a half pages long, single spaced, and written in tiny printing. The biggest problem is the spelling. This is something she really struggles with, so we went through the paper together correcting words. This took quite a long time. I kept wishing we could just type it into the computer and let the spell-check take care of it, but it had to be handwritten. It was painful watching her turn away her cousins who wanted to play. It took all my patience to help her correct the same words over and over again. She worked on it for hours, and finally at 9:50 pm she finished it. It was an hour and a half past her bedtime, and she'll be tired tomorrow, but the work is done.

It made me appreciate technology. I tried to imagine being Jane Austen or Charles Dickens, doing all my writing by hand in poor lighting and when a mistake is made, there is no delete key. I would have to throw the page away and rewrite it. So tonight I'm glad I live when I do and I'm grateful for technology. I love my backspace key, my keyboard, and most of all. . .spellcheck. And by the way, does anyone have any good ideas for helping kids understand spelling? I would love your suggestions.


Ajoy said...

For heavens sake I agree! I watched the movie "Becoming Jane" and these same thoughts came to mind about my writing capabilities verses hers.

I honestly don't think I'd be writing if I had to work THAT hard. haha

If you haven't seen the I really enjoyed it.

Mandi said...

Spelling is just one of those disciplines like addition, multiplication, etc. You just have to do it. Practice, practice, practice. And some people have more of a natural aptitude towards it. But like addition and multiplication, the more you use the tools (calculators, spell checkers) the more you have to depend on them and the harder it becomes to do on your own. However, the best spellers are the best readers. The more you read, the more apt you become at spelling, provided you practice, that is.

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Luckily I have no problem with spelling most of the time. But I can't seem to help Emma. She just gets amd at me and insists that she is spelling things the same way they do in all the books she reads. I don't think spelling has changed. But I have noticed she doesn't seem to understand how to sound things out.

Mandi - Maybe I should hire you to come tutor her. I can't see her getting mad at you like she does me.

Ajoy - Becoming Jane is on my list.

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