First of all, THANK YOU for the outpouring of support, stories and help. Please continue to comment on my post Common Core and Vegan Zombies if you want. I read all comments. I might not respond to everyone because, if people have signed up to follow any further comments, I could blow up their e-mails.
This said, the “Dreaded Parent-Teacher Meeting” went rather well. For the record, this private preschool has been wonderful. We love the teachers and they love The Spawn. I know they are doing these “evaluations” because they get directives from the
Borg public schools. Blech.
My husband went with me (so someone would have hold of my leash). We offered insight into our unorthodox home life and explained that The Spawn has two introversive parents both working in non-structured creative fields.
And he is FOUR.
We (Dad and Mom) were also run through the meat-grinder of public education and punished for being different. I was stuck in the hall and repeated every grade from 6th on because of The Almighty Standardized Tests, and Hubby figured out how to game the tests without actually learning anything, LOL.
So yesterday, I received a copy of The Spawn’s “report card.” BEST BAD REPORT CARD EVER!!!
Can the child tell you his or her name?
Spawn: Zombie Robot.
Does the child seek approval and acceptance from friends and peers?
Um, so codependency is a good thing?
Where Did The Spawn Make A’s
Separates easily from parent.
Uses good habits while eating and cleans up afterwards.
The rest? Eh.
Most of the stuff he is being “graded” on is how well he integrates into groupthink like “Plays Mom and Dad.” Okay, I’m a writer and Daddy shoots competitively. He blows the curve on this for weirdness.
Um, Spawn knows his mother is a cyborg (and is rather excited about that).
“Would rather play alone than with other children.” Helloooo? I’d rather be by myself, too and so would Dad. We’re creative INTROVERTS. We even mentioned to the teachers that, if we (the parents) were judged by the same litmus, we’d likely score about the same. We felt the test was biased against introverts.
The teacher and admin then claimed that Spawn had no problem playing with others and could be gregarious, but that he didn’t like group activities. I replied that just because he’s an introvert doesn’t mean he’s shy. I suggested that he’s needing downtime away from the others and it’s less defiance and more needing to recharge. Oddly, the teacher and administrator paused thoughtfully then said, “Actually, that’s a valid point.”
I wish we could educate the world that Introvert is not the same as SHY.
Sings a song from memory like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
“Twinkle twinkle little bat. Now I know just where ur at. Up above the world so high. Shooting zombies from the sky. Red mist.”
And Spawn prefers singing One Republic, anyway. You’ll hear him singing, perfectly in-tune, Baby, I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep. Thinking about the things that we could be…
Can tell an adult his first and last name.
Zombie Robot. Um, duh.
Enjoys doing new things.
FAIL, but his parents don’t like new things. We are obsessive people. We focus on a handful of activities and work toward mastery to the point of blind obsession.
Can child name at least eight body parts?
No, only two. “Headshot” and “center mass.” (Joking! He named eight.)
The Test is Flawed
I think children of creative people (writers) need a new test.
Does child understand the concept of a deadline and to leave Mommy or Daddy Writer ALONE?
Does child understand the passing of Little Darlings and know how to deal with grieving the loss of imaginary people in a positive way?
Does child appreciate that imaginary friends are essential to being AWESOME as a kid and adult author?
Does child appreciate that multiple personalities makes better writing?
Does child interact and play well with the voices in his or her head?
Can child effectively diffuse a fight between imaginary friends?
Can child clear a room with a bad@$$ NERF gun, checking blind spots and differentiating targets before shooting? I.e. Can he or she tell zombies from an innocent unicorn, angel or elf?
Can child train and nurture a mythical creature, like a pet dragon?
Does your child treat all races with respect, whether Werewolf, Vampire, or Fae?
Does child understand the nuances of Star Wars and understand why the prequels sucked?
Can the child differentiate between an AWESOME Joss Whedon vampire and a lame sparkly one?
Does child appreciate how EPIC Big Bang Theory is? Extra Credit: Does child use any quotes from BBT?
Yes and Spawn uses, “You’re in my spot” appropriately when Mommy sits in his chair.
Does your child prefer DC or Marvel superheroes?
Can your child identify the major Marvel characters?
Does he or she want to be ALL of them?
Can child appreciate how any super villain apprehended by The Wonder Twins needs to turn in Villain Card for a slot on My Little Pony?
Does your child offer his name and age to total strangers?
Can your child clear a browsing history?
Needs Improvement. He prefers watching Japanese drift racing on You Tube.
Can your child go from being a human ally to an infected zombie immediately?
Does your child tell adults (who are not family) his home address or phone number?
No. “Get a warrant.”
Can child tell the difference between a Klingon and a Ferengi?
Does child understand that when Author Parent says, “He SO needs to DIE” that this is referring to manuscript and not real life?
Yes, We Are THOSE Parents
I know the schools are likely unaccustomed to people like us. The administrator was highly distressed that he couldn’t tell an adult his name or address. What if he became lost? My first thought was we don’t let Spawn out of our sight and, in the off chance his does get lost in a store, we’d probably know to come pick up any child claiming to be “Zombie Robot” or “Blue Angel.”
And I said to the teacher, “I know you’re concerned he won’t tell adults his name and address, but why do they need to know that? Any pedophile is going to be hard-pressed to get The Spawn to give away information that’s none of their business anyway.”
“Uh, I guess you have a point?”
Hubby and I hunted for supplementary private play-based and kinesthetic learning programs for the summer and fall. I had him going to school five days a week at this school, but will drop to three and bring him to the more Montessori-like school two days a week. This way we can foster his creativity but also put him in a structured environment.
Even creative people have to be able to work within a system of order and rules. We don’t get a pass. I think the key for us is doing this in a way that keeps him passionate about leaning and but also show he can embrace being creative, unique and introverted, too.
Anyway, thanks for all the feedback on Tuesday’s post. I read all of them. I LOVED them. I cannot thank you enough for your stories, suggestions and support.
Do you think schools and curriculums are unfairly biased against the introvert? What are your thoughts about new testing for creative people? Can you think of other questions that should be given to children of writers?
To prove it and show my love, for the month of MAY, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
I will announce April’s winner after waking from the conference coma in a couple days.
If you want more help with plot problems, antagonists, structure, beginnings, then I have a FANTASTIC class coming up to help you!
CLASS COMES WITH HANDOUTS AND FREE RECORDING.
Understanding the Antagonist
If you are struggling with plot or have a book that seems to be in the Never-Ending Hole of Chasing Your Tail or maybe you’d like to learn how to plot a series, I am also teaching my ever-popular Understanding the Antagonist Class on May 10th from NOON to 2:00 P.M. (A SATURDAY). This is a fabulous class for understanding all the different types of antagonists and how to use them to maintain and increase story tension.
Remember, a story is only as strong as its problem😉 . This is a GREAT class for streamlining a story and making it pitch-ready.
Additionally, why pay thousands for an editor or hundreds for a book doctor? This is a VERY affordable way to make sure your entire story is clear and interesting. Also, it will help you learn to plot far faster and cleaner in the future.
Again, use WANA10 for $10 off.
I’ll be running the First Five Pages again at the end of May, so stay tuned.
And, if you need help building a brand, social media platform, please check out my latest best-selling book, Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World.