Mirrored Writing

Have you ever seen the servers write their name upside down at Macaroni Grill? I waited tables there for years and really had the backwards cursive signature down pat. It took practice though. It wasn’t like I just automatically write in reverse although sometimes it looks like my daughter SJ does.


left handed mirrored writing

She hasn’t been writing for long, but in the past couple years I have noticed a trend where she not only writes from right to left, but the letters are often backwards as well.


Above is a drawing of her dad teaching her to ride her bike. The names are Daddy, Ezra, Sedona, and Mommy. Not all spelled correctly, but clearly written starting on the right. Writing her family’s names is one of her favorite things to do and it always looks something like this.



Of course I freaked out a little bit when I saw this repeatedly because she has been a detail oriented perfectionists since she was two. I could tell story after story of how visual and focused she is. I think some of it comes from her delayed access to sound. So I knew it must be something that was a mix up going on inside her mind and not just her being silly or sloppy.


It sounds like I am the perfectionist, but I am not! Not at all. Thanks to her speech delay I have never expected her to be able to write at age four. I was just worried because I hated the idea of her as a special needs child to have another hurdle to face.

I do realize dyslexia is more than just backwards letters, but at the same time I didn’t like how consistent she was with this mirrored writing. All kids mix up letters and left and right from time to time, but this was so thorough!


The above is her copy of the “EAT MOR CHIKIN” sign from Chic-fil-A. So in this case she was looking directly at the message she was copying. The words below were completely from memory and those are some of her sight words. I, am, the, little.


Here is the beginning of the alphabet (she did this in the car recently)


And here is the same image MIRRORED. There are a few backwards letters like J, N, and P, but she’s still learning. I think if she knew the “right” way to write them then she probably would have written all of them backwards!

mirror image

I could give other examples about reading or journaling from back to front, but I have been asking about this for years and the experts didn’t seem concerned. She goes to a special private school where they give frequent assessments and go through everything with a fine tooth comb. They told me not to worry. When she is at school with the lined paper and direct instruction she seems to be doing everything the correct way from left to right. Most importantly she really enjoys reading and writing. And she absolutely loves homework!

Still, at the last parent teacher conference I brought it up AGAIN and they looked through some samples I brought and explained why the order and precision of her work does not show signs of dyslexia at all. Not that I think dyslexia is the worst thing in the world. Like I said though, she has enough extra obstacles due to her hearing loss without adding any other disabilities.

The more people I talk to and the more I research online it looks like her mirrored writing can probably be attributed to her being left handed. Just one of the many resources I have found to support this is from the Better Health Channel and it says

  • Left-handed children learning to write often write back to front (‘mirror’ writing). This is a natural inclination, not a sign of dyslexia, and will resolve given time, practice and encouragement.

She just has to be the minority in every aspect doesn’t she? That little stinker! I am just joking. I am serious though about being grateful that this whole mystery is pretty much solved.

Have you seen or known any mirror writers? This was a first for me.

By |2015-10-16T14:35:00+00:00October 16, 2015|Schooling, Special Needs|8 Comments

School is Cool

I realize I already talked about school yesterday and don’t want to bore you all, but I do have more to share and I’ll tell you why.

1. I am extremely passionate about education. If we can get our kids to love to learn then the sky is the limits on what they will achieve through self motivation.

2. Public schools get so much bad press and some of it’s deserved, but what about all the of the good, life changing things that happening!? I want to be someone who shines some light on the positive and gives credit where credit is due to all the phenominal teachers out there busting their butts.

3. Lastly, I also love homeschooling families and have a great amount of respect for the mothers that are investing everything into teaching their own children. For all my friends and reader who homeschool it is my hope that some of these ideas could possibly be inspirational.

So here are some fun highlights from this first semester of the 2015/2016 school year.


Ohhhh, it’s so hard for me to narrow it down. They do so many cool hands on learning activities for each subject and theme it is incredible. The time spent learning about maps is probably my favorite so far. First of all I told you that SJ learned her city, state, and country. She also learned the pledge and I put that video up on youtube this morning so here it is (not perfect, but still a big deal!).

Then with permission from parents they looked up each student’s address in google maps and displayed the homes on the smart board. SJ LOVED this. I was a little reluctant because we live in such a dumpy old house (for my small space peeps the garage isn’t even ours), but at this age the innocence and appreciation children have astounds me and she was so proud of what she calls her “rectangle house”

my house

Another activity they did with maps was to bring in a stuffed animal from home and leave it at the school overnight. The next day the students went into the class room to find all their furry buddies were gone and there were foot prints leaving the classroom! They posted some of these hilarious photos on the Facebook page. SJ’s toy is the unicorn.





That morning each child was given a clue and a map to try to navigate through the school and find their beloved toy.


In the end each student was reunited with their animal and they had such a fun time while learning how to use maps!


 2nd Grade

As with SJ’s school I could just go on and on all day about what Z comes home learning and how they make interesting for the kids.

For the lesson on fossils they used different materials to imprint shells and compare how the materials held the shape, which one worked better and why.


They also had a lesson in digging with tooth picks for fossils using chocolate chip cookies. The goal was to find as many chocolate chips as possible while keeping them in their original condition. Sounds delicious!


Also, the second graders have been reading and writing about farms and they had a very special guest who owns a farm, but also happens to be the PRINCIPAL!


I love their school principal so much he is really involved and I love how he cares so much about connecting with the parents and children.


Quick story to share what I mean. One day I was picking Z up from school and he said he had something he wanted to show the principal so he bolted through the administrative office down the hall to the principals office. I was mortified! It happened so fast I couldn’t stop him. I mean he might as well have broken into the white house. You just don’t do that! The secretaries came over to see what was needed and just then the principal walked up and Z showed him the little game he made. The principal was completely interested and focused on every word this little 1st grader had to say and was showing some of the other staff members what impressive work they were doing in his class. As I watched and eaves dropped from a  distance I held back the tears.

It was the perfect picture of our heavenly Father and the relationship he has with us. He has authority and power and yet he give us ACCESS so that even if it’s something so simple or seemingly insignificant we have his undivided attention. Oh. How grateful I am for the direct line I have of communion with God. Ephesians 3:12 In him and by faith in him we can approach God with freedom and confidence. Thank you Lord.

I know that’s a total side note, and I understand their have to be some rules and boundaries at school, blah blah blah, but that was such a wonderful reminder for me of Christ’s love for us and now I have it written down.

Okay, so now that this post is really lengthy and all over the place I will just end with saying yes I do love my children’s schools. I am so happy that the Lord has placed us here and divinely orchestrated everything for them to be in such good care. I look forward to the months ahead.

By |2015-10-15T12:23:05+00:00October 15, 2015|Schooling|8 Comments

Are Unexcused Absences Ever Excusable?

I take school and academics very seriously, but I am not opposed to missing a day every once in a while even when the reasons aren’t related to death or illness. Maybe you’ve seen some of the headlines in the news lately.

Mike Rossi is a dad who wrote a very passionate letter to the school’s principal which then went viral. The letter came as a response to the disapproval of him taking his kids out of school to watch him run in the Boston Marathon.


Then there was a mom, who was also a substitute teacher that was ARRESTED because her 10 year old honor student had too many unexcused absences. He was allowed 6, but had 12. Some of those were excused with a doctor’s note, but the mother, Julie Giles, claims they were all illness related. Giles says:

“The truth is, l cannot afford a copay every single time they are sick, but I never want to send them to school when they feel bad or could possibly get others sick,”

No doctor’s note, no excuse. Sometimes your child is too sick for school, but not sick enough to have to see a doctor. I completely understand what that’s like! On the other hand there are always two sides to every story. I do realize the importance of rules and protocol, but it’s like Mike Rossi said in regards to his children’s Boston Marathon absences

“Zero tolerance equals zero common sense, and in this case, they made this blanket rule and say, no exceptions? It’s silly.”

Thankfully I haven’t run into this problem with our schools. My children have missed school for various reasons, including trips and family events. I know their classmates have too. I haven’t heard or experienced any backlash from this.

When my husband J was wrapping up his last semester he wanted to bring Z to his college campus to see a project he had been working on. J had spent months working to perfect a Tic-Tac-Toe game. I know that might sound ridiculous for a grown man who is in college, but maybe a little less silly when you realize he was programing software that would enable a robot to play Tic-Tac-Toe. J had been sending updates and videos to Z every step of the way and now that it was finally complete he really wanted Z to be able to see it in action. So I emailed his teacher and told the school exactly what was going on knowing that this was technically an unexcused absence. His teacher and the faculty were extremely supportive. Z was able to be a part of invaluable learning opportunity visiting a college campus and playing Tic-Tac-Toe with a robot in 1st grade! Not to mention the priceless memories with his dad.


I really hope these irrational standards for school attendance are isolated incidences and that the majority of our schools really do support the families they are serving.

So, let’s chat.

Did your parents allow you to miss school for certain events when you were growing up? What about your children? I think you know how I feel.

By |2015-05-29T09:28:46+00:00May 28, 2015|Schooling, Uncategorized|16 Comments

My Peek at the Homeschool Life

I have always said that I would never EVER homeschool. Many of my closest friends do. They do it well and I respect them all the more for it. So, it’s not that I am against it, it’s just that I never felt like I was cut out for it. I have done a lot of homeschooling research lately since we had to pull the 5 year old out of Pre-K. It’s a slippery slope I tell ya. The more I get into it, the more I am intrigued and start to picture myself getting lost in the creativity of new ideas and rewarded by the delight that comes when you see a child’s eyes light up with discovery. Then I snap back to reality. I am not saying that it could never happen, but I would have to hand them over to a tutor or a DVD teacher by 3rd grade. I am so bad at math. No really, I am not talking about trigonometry, I am saying that I am intimidated by fractions.

Regardless of whether or not homeschool is even part of the equation (Equation. Yuck.) I will still always be involved in my children’s education in the most hands on way possible. I think that all parents should be. I have learned so much since embarking on this new academic territory. Some of the most enlightening advice I’ve received came from one of Z’s teachers. She was seeing signs that Z may be gifted and talented because of how quickly he picked up on things and eagerly wants to learn more. Counting to a hundred was never enough so she challenged him with counting in spanish. She told me with GT kids your goal is to broaden and expand the level they are on rather than just have them scurry off to the next one. The key is learning not just vertically, but horizontally. That’s when I reached up and pulled the chain that turned on the light bulb over my head.

I have been able to apply this method when teaching both of my kids together when they are not only different ages, but completely different learning styles (SJ’s pertaining to her special needs). I’ve been doing this all along, but it’s clicking and making more sense now. Let’s say you are working in the garden together. The baby may be experimenting with soil and learning that it does not taste good while the preschool age child is learning that seeds grow into plants and healthy foods. The parents and elementary age child may be working together to understand the science behind germination and life cycles.

Lately I’ve been trying to increase the amount of reading time I have with my kids. Z is learning to read along and SJ is learning to listen. One of the books we read on a daily basis is First Words.

I know it’s a book for babies, which I only have one of, but even though SJ is 3 her hearing age is 3 months. We have to be able to go back to the BASICS for her to be able to listen and speak. When we go through this book SJ is able to practice saying AHHHH for airplane and her imitation of watermelon is totally unintelligible but she gets that it has 4 syllables and makes 4 grunts. At the same time Z is able to read some of the words in the book and enjoys helping me work with his little sister. In the meantime Ezie is like whatever. He likes to watch them though and I just keep on learning more and more from all three of them. It’s like a mutualistic symbiotic relationship. Okay, I had to look that up, but I couldn’t resist adding a little science. There it is.

By |2015-05-25T23:15:04+00:00March 16, 2013|Lifestyle, Schooling, Uncategorized|3 Comments

I Don’t Care What Color His Shirt Is

Will he be mature enough for kindergarten? Is it better to be the oldest or youngest? Will he be challenged enough? Is 17 too young to be thrown into to the “real world”? These are just some of the questions that rattle around in my head when I think of Z starting school. I’ve mentioned it on this blog three times already, but I’ll say it again. In Texas Z would have started Kindergarten next year and by Kentucky guidelines it should have been this year, but we held him back. He’s right on the bubble for the cut off date. Even though I know it is not true, I feel like the fate of his future rests on my decision. That’s a lot of pressure! I change my mind about this matter more than a driver with road rage changes lanes.

They actually call it “redshirting” when you hold your child back from starting kindergarten on time. I’ve recently read some articles about it and it can be pretty controversial. Some parents use it as a way to give their child an advantage in sports or an extra year of maturity for a competitive edge academically. Apparently I have become part of the 10% of American’s that are redshirting their children. We fit the statistic since it’s most commonly seen among white boys from the suburbs with late summer birthdays. J and I both have summer birthdays, but I went to Kindergarten twice so I know what it’s like to be the oldest in the class and J knows the feeling of being the youngest. There are some studies surfacing that show that it doesn’t help the student to have an extra year and in some cases may even hinder a student’s success. Then there is other evidence that supports the contrary.

I am not setting out to make my son an academic and certainly not athletic powerhouse by holding him back a year. Maybe if it were the Hunger games, but fortunately it’s not.  Waiting an extra year just happened to work out for our situation. I don’t care if his shirt is red, blue, or fuchsia (okay, maybe he would look a little weird in fuchsia). From what I’ve researched and what his teachers have told me Z is 100% ready for Kindergarten.
So for now we are working on retaining what he has learned and preventing boredom. I’ve gotten some helpful information from some of my homeschooling mom friends and I will share some of that in my next blog post. This whole ordeal is stretching me, but in a good way. To be continued…

By |2015-05-25T23:18:09+00:00February 8, 2013|Schooling, Uncategorized|4 Comments
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