Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

The Struggles of Southpaws

Education Expert Advice from Barbara Callaghan

Q: My daughter is a lefty, and has a hard time with her handwriting. Anyway, she is a somewhat sensitive child-- a perfectionist at the ripe old age of 8 1/2. When her teacher criticizes her handwriting -- "This is too sloppy!" -- it is hurtful for her. I am finding that her homework is neater, however, when she does it in a more relaxed environment where she can take her time. My question is two-fold 1) how can I encourage the teacher to be gentler with her, without causing a problem there and 2) what are your recommendations for her?

A: Being a lefty in a righthanded world is challenging. You are to be commended for not trying to change her, but wanting to help her.

Your child's teacher sounds like she tells it like it is. That is, your child does not do work that is as neat as it should be. Maybe she knows your child can do much better work, like the kind you see at home. This may be a case where the teacher could be gentler with her comments to your sensitive child. Meet with the teacher and tell her how much you appreciate the high expectations, but also tell her of your concerns.

At the same time, ask the teacher for suggestions to improve neatness. Some helpful ideas to try: Verify that she is correctly forming letters. Make sure she is using appropriate spacing between letters, that the letters sit on the lines, and that they are of the correct size. You can do this at home as she does some writing for you or some homework.

This is an area where early habits need to be correct because they are very difficult to change. Kudos to you for jumping right in and supporting your daughter.

More on: Expert Advice

After teaching in California for nearly ten years, Barbara Callaghan moved to New Hampshire in 1985 and became a principal. After 10 years as a principal, she returned to teaching, her first love and true vocation.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


10 Best Creative Apps for Kids
Looking for apps that foster creativity? Check out these top-rated art and music apps for kids.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

A New Intergalactic Reading Adventure!
Get your reluctant reader hooked on an irresistible new story, Galactic Hot Dogs! Join the Book 1 reading marathon, and get behind-the-scenes tidbits on the official Galactic Hot Dogs blog. Also, print this cool Galactic Hot Dogs reading log to keep your bookworm excited about reading!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks