I remember when Colin was a baby that he would never be hitting the baby "milestones" until the day after we went to the doctor. It was as if he heard the doctor say "he should be doing this by now," and said to himself "oh, well, in that case..." and he would immediately start doing that thing. It was uncanny how many times it actually happened.
Lately he's been learning how to write. He wasn't progressing too far along, mostly due to the fact that he had no interest in actually practicing. I didn't compare him to kids in the class, but just to himself, comparing his writing now to how it was last year. In fact, last year he seemed to be doing much better. And that was only in forming the letters - he had no interest in actually putting anything in writing. I wasn't even sure how to help him get further, other than trying to encourage him to write different things, like letters, or labeling his drawings.
Two days ago his teacher sent home a "writing progression" chart that actually showed about 12 different steps to the evolution of learning to write. I had never considered all the different steps, but as I read through the chart it made perfect sense.
Just as his response to the doctor was as a baby, Colin all of a sudden progressed through 8 different steps in two days! It was like he heard the teacher saying "this is how it's done" and Colin responded with "oh, well, in that case..." I didn't coach him through anything - his writing simply evolved on its own!
Important to note is that I'm not all that concerned about him meeting a certain step by a certain time. What I really want is for him to love writing. Yesterday he asked to write a letter to his Great Grandma Cairney. He dictated the letter to me, and then I spelled out the letters for him to write. I thought about helping him sound it out himself, but I figured one skill at a time. No need to worry about that anyway - today he started another letter to her and was sounding out the words on his own. I think he got a real kick out of writing a letter, putting it in the envelope and mailing it himself. I guess the art of letter writing isn't dead after all, because an email just doesn't have the same kind of thrill to a 4 year old as getting your own letter in the mailbox!