Last December, my son learned how to type using online site Typing.com.
Or so I thought...
Turns out he only learned how to type while peeking at the keyboard. The Website he used tells you how fast you type and how accurate you are. My son treated it as a game, and always aimed to get a high score. In his eagerness for a better score, he "cheated" by looking at the keyboard.
I discovered it only a month or two ago when I sat next to him while he typed. Surprised, I asked my son about it, at first he reluctantly answered, then pretty quickly it went south.
"Yes, I look at the keyboard, I always do."
"What does it matter how you type?"
"No, it's not that slow."
"Yeah, the other friends in class know how to type." He's getting upset.
"It'll never work. I just can't type without looking first." He said, crying now.
Aww... Not easy to deal with these tough feelings of frustration, disappointment, and feeling like he's behind his classmate. I had to wait for my son to calm down first, and took the time to google just how long it takes to learn.
"You can re-learn how to type without looking." I said after my son calmed down, "It only take 10 hours total."
"It's so hard. It's gonna take me a year to learn!" Still sad, my son said.
Seeing that he's open to learning but just feels it's very difficult, I tried to explain a different way.
"You see it's like this, your brain has two ways of going about typing. " I showed him two paths like neurons connecting.
"Looking at the keyboard then type is one way; typing without looking is another way. Right now this way has been used a lot so it's much easier. But if you practice typing without looking more, the then the other way will get used a lot more. And eventually the 2nd way will win."
My son nodded in understanding... and began to try to practice typing the new way.
"Is it okay if I look once in a while?" He asked.
"Yes, but only if once in a long while. Else you're still practicing the old path."
A few days later I asked my son how he's doing. My daughter whispered in my ear that her brother's still looking sometime. Disappointed, I asked my son about it.
"Uh, I look about a quarter of the time..." My son said sheepishly.
"Hey how about type with a sheet of paper on your hand, like this, then you can't peek."
"But then I'm only doing 7wpm (words per minute)."
"Yeah that's totally fine. Better to learn the right way and you can speed it up later. That's how mom can type fast."
We'll see! ;-)