We finally got around to watching the latest Star Trek movie this past week and really enjoyed it. The computer graphics and plot were great, but the parts I really enjoyed had Spock in them. (In case you're not a Star Trek fan, Spock is part Vulcan, a species that uses logic and reasoning to solve problems. They are pretty much devoid of emotion and do not let feelings get in the way of their problem solving.)
The parts I found most amusing were the ones in which Spock comes across some sort of issue and his reasoning on how to solve said issue makes sense (because it is logical), but the other characters think he's crazy because he doesn't take personal relationships and feelings into account. A quick example that won't spoil the movie for you would be when Spock says they should let another character die because it will save the rest of the crew from annihilation.
I am most definitely not Spock. My emotions run pretty near to the surface and I almost always will make a decision based on emotion unless I make myself step back from an issue to think about it for a while.
Liam, however, is a Spock. He has an emotional side to him, but you can see the little wheels turning in his head when a problem arises. And I came to the realization that this sense of logic is what's causing some of his problems at school.
For a while, I was fairly certain that he was dyslexic. At nearly seven, he continues to write some letters and numbers backward and will reverse letters when he's reading. He also reverses numbers when he writes them.
For example, his math worksheet asked him to solve 5+9. His wrote the number 41. And, of course, it got marked incorrect. When I sat down with him to go over missed problems, he saw that he'd written 41 instead of 14, but when I gave him a similar problem to work (7+8), he wrote 51 instead of 15.
However, when I asked him to write the numbers 46, 83, 75 and 32, he wrote them all correctly.
Do you see the pattern?
He only reverses the numbers if they are in the teens.
And I figured out why.
In his logical way of thinking, the number spoken first should also be written first. When I say, "Twenty seven", he knows to write the 2 and then the 7 to get 27. When I say, "Seventy six", he knows to write the 7 and then the 6 to get 76.
When I say "fourteen", his mind tells him to write the 4 and then the 1 to get 41. Not 14.
My boy's problem is that English is a difficult language!
I'm calling this my Sherlock Holmes moment.
This is also why he's having a hard time reading. Syd and Evan just accept that certain words sound a certain way; they are more of "whole word" readers rather than phonics readers.
I've been focusing on phonics with Liam and because English is a language not just of a million rules ("i before e") but with a million exceptions as well ("i before e except after c and words like weigh and neighbor"), his little logical mind cannot handle it all.
It's not the rules of English that are confusing him, it's the millions of exceptions. And the exceptions to the exceptions.
I remember learning Spanish in school and thinking that it was hard, but it was only hard to me because it was new. Spanish is actually pretty easy to learn because there are so few exceptions to the rules.
No wonder people say English is one of the hardest languages to learn. My kid's been hearing it his entire life and he still can't keep up with all the rules.
However, I am glad that a little bit of the mystery has been solved. Of course, if I knew the solution to the problem, I'd be a lot happier.
But, it's the baby steps. Little by little we'll get there.
For Michael, At Nine
2 weeks ago