Ohhh, the power of the written word. As adults we know this by exposure to many great books written by many great authors. But we worked our way up to such authors, didn’t we? This brings us to the topic of writing. Do you have an aspiring “Dickens” in your family? Or does your child struggle with writing? How do we home school moms teach writing? Should we use a writing curricula?
Since my children are still in the elementary years, I can only speak to an elementary approach to teaching writing. I have a natural writer (my oldest) and a not so natural (my youngest). My oldest daughter loves to write. She has been making up stories since second grade. Most of her stories are adventure based, they are protagonist/antagonist based (good guy, bad guy), and lately tend to evoke more emotion. My youngest will imitate. She seems to be experimenting with writing through osmosis. In other words, watch and imitate her older sister (causing resentful emotions in older sister in a typical sibling relational style).
Upon seeing a budding writer in my oldest daughter, I promptly went out and purchased a writing curricula to do my “teacher duty” in order to improve on her writing abilities. And the result? A complete and utter failure. My budding writer looked at me with the same disdain reserved for her sister, as if to say “Why are we doing this?”. My darling dd resented being told what to write. She would rather not write at all rather than be restricted to writing about something “dumb” in our writing curricula. So, it was no surprise to see me shelf the famed writing curricula. It was back to the drawing board.
Shortly thereafter I took a closer look at her writing. Quotation marks and proper punctuation were in place. The sentences were complete and followed a train of thought. But I hadn’t taught her this….or so I thought. I then began to read more about the Charlotte Mason method of teaching writing. She claims that a good writing style is developed over time through a method of oral and written narration (another post), exposure to good literature, and listening to read alouds whenever possible. Then I realized that dd#1 had been doing just that. She had learned by observation (quite subliminally) where punctuation belongs in a dialogue. She had heard the complete thoughts before she had ever written them. Quite eye opening for mother. Chapter 17 in the Charlotte Mason Companion (see my side bar) expands on this topic if you’d like to find out more.
For those who may be interested, here are a few guidelines for the home teacher on the topic of what to look for in your childs writing (from the Charlotte Mason Companion)
- Is each sentence complete?
- Do the ideas flow from one sentence to the next?
- Are the sentences varied in length and type? (In other words, don’t start every sentence with the same word.)
- Are descriptive words (adjectives or adverbs) included?
As for the writing curricula, it sits on my shelf for now. Perhaps I will revisit it in a year or two, or perhaps it may be beneficial to dd#2, a more reluctant writer, who just may welcome, rather than resist, the suggested writing topics and ideas.