Thursday, November 18, 2010

On writing well, especially for the reluctant

One of my goals for the  upcoming months is to work on all things writing, especially with the older two.  So I've been trying to come up with some kind of a framework or an approach to that end.  I like the idea of copywork a la Charlotte Mason.  It's a way to combine penmanship exercises with grammar, while introducing examples of good writing at the same time.  Imitation, at least initially, is a proven way to learn something.  Also writing something down helps one absorb and remember it.  I think that is also a Montessorian idea, giving things to the hand first as a way get it into the child's mind.  The trick is to do it in just enough quantities to achieve one's aim while keeping it interesting enough and avoiding unnecessary frustration especially with the children that have a harder time with hand eye coordination, dislike the physical act of writing and generally have a low frustration threshhold.  I also would like to get them to write things down because they both are very articulate, like to analyze things and are creative each in his own way.  I've tried various things in the past, but none really took off.  So today I had an epiphany which might combine creative writing with all these other things I've wanted them to practice while minimizing their frustration of having to figure out the spelling, the punctuation, etc. Here it is in a nutshell.  I'd propose a writing idea or give an open ended writing assignmnet and have them dictate  to me what they'd like to say, I'd then write it down, taking care of all the nitty gritty and have the kids copy what I wrote down in their best handwriting.  So this is my idea for a beginner writing program.  As they progress I can reduce the props and have them do more of the work on their own, but for starters, it just might work.


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