1 : to give assistance or support to (help a child with homework)
Yesterday, K brought home her folder with her schoolwork for the week in it. While I was in the kitchen, she pulled it out and was reviewing it on her own. When I came into the room, she showed one worksheet to me and said, "Mom, look at this 5. It's horrible. It's just horrible. I can't write 5's." First of all, I thought it was adorable that she used the word horrible to describe her handwriting - mine was and still is. I also found it endearing that she cared about her schoolwork. K is enjoying kindergarten just fine, but that's because she has a wonderfully kind and engaging teacher and is surrounded by 19 cool kids her age. From K's perspective, the least important part of school is the learning.
So I was encouraged that she was reviewing her work on her own and that she cared. I was also a tad bit dismayed that handwriting was the subject she chose to care about. I can't even really help her very much since #1) my handwriting, as mentioned, is horrible and #2) I'm left-handed and she is not. Luckily, this inadequacy on my part allowed someone else to step in and use their gifts.
Eight year old B to the rescue. She came into the room as K was lamenting her handwriting and she immediately grabbed a pencil to start helping her sister. After they had used all of the available space on the original worksheet practicing the numeral 5, B went to her room and came out with a handwriting workbook from her own first grade year.
The two sisters laid on the floor, side by side, working on handwriting. B came up with a new way for K to try writing it - she put dots that stood for several points along the 5 and had K connect them. With about a half hour of time together, K was noticeably better - and more confident! - about writing her 5's. In fact, B was such an enthusiastic teacher that I overheard her trying to teach K how to write the alphabet in cursive. I gently reminded her that her five year old sister was still learning to print the alphabet and perhaps we should make sure she could do that well before moving on to cursive (which B hasn't even officially been taught yet!).
So I find myself able, just for a moment, to be thankful for my inadequacies, my failures, the things I lack as a mother. Because it is those things that encouraged B to sit with her little sister and not just help her, not just teach her, but love her.