Now that we are grownups, and especially now that we are parents, I say, PLEASE DO TATTLE ON YOUR CHILDREN, to their teacher.
- When a twenty-minute homework assignment in math in first grade takes your child more than an hour and two or three meltdowns, TELL THE TEACHER.
- When a thirty-minute writing assignment in third grade takes your child more than two hours and a pile of tears, TELL THE TEACHER.
- When reading homework, at any grade, causes headaches, tears, sighs, wiggling, and many breaks for snacks, TELL THE TEACHER.
Imagine how you would feel if the words slid around on the page, or faded from gray to black, or went blurry for no reason. You would want to quit doing whatever made you feel that way, and maybe you would cry and scream and shout, "I can't DO this!!"
To try to read when your eyes are not working with you is exhausting and, since children don't have any idea that it isn't like that for everyone else, they feel discouraged and stupid. And they are sure that YOU think they are too.
In fact, their eyes are not tracking or teaming properly. And they can be fixed.
Tracking is when the eyes move smoothly across the lines of print in a book or on a paper the child is reading. If the eyes jump or shift quickly either vertically or horizontally, the child cannot see clearly what she is reading and can't make sense of the words; sometimes the words seem to be actually moving, too.
Teaming is the ability of the eyes to work together, to be able to focus on the print. Sometimes children whose eyes are not teaming report that the words move on the page, that they see double, or that the print is fading from black to gray and back again.
If your child is miserable at homework time, TELL THE TEACHER. Then go find a developmental optometrist and get your child some help.