Writing Getting too Hard to Handle?
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Difficulty with writing
Dictation: For younger elementary ages, I have the children dictate to me whatever they are to write about. I ask appropriate questions along the way, such as, "What happened next?" "Where were they?" "What time was it?" etc. I write or type it as they dictate, and then they read it back to me (or if very young, I would read it back to them). This not only freed up their minds to think (as they didn't have to worry about penmanship), but they also enjoyed doing it, increased their vocabulary, and were proud of their finished product. I still have them physically write, but I separate the writing process from penmanship or handwriting. Requiring both at a young age will tend to frustrate both of you. Hang on, moms, it does come to pass. I have a couple of college students who are very proficient writers now but were boys with many tears in the early years.
Handwriting: For penmanship/handwriting, we would copy Bible verses or complete a daily workbook page in manuscript or cursive writing. Right now, I am looking into Cursive First for my younger kids.
Five-Day Essay As the kids get older and it is not physically hard to write anymore, I would have them write or type their own assignments according to a "five-day essay" fashion. It looks like this:
Day One: Pick a subject and brainstorm with me some ideas, coming up with three main points. Write the opening paragraph, which includes a brief description of the three main points.
Day Two: Write paragraph two, which describes main point No. 1.
Day Three: Write paragraph three, which describes main point No. 2.
Day Four: Write paragraph four, which describes main point No. 3.
Day Five: Write the closing paragraph, wrapping up the three points above.
The second week, we would take each of the five days to go over the entire essay and correct only one paragraph a day.
The third week, they would rewrite the essay, focusing on getting rid of "boring" or ordinary words and replacing them with better verbs, adjectives, etc., until they ended up with a polished, finished product. This was not overwhelming and taught them the basics of essay writing, which is important as they go into higher learning environments.
Contests: Another great way to inspire children to write is to give them a purpose for writing--places like local homeschooling newsletters, library poetry contests, bookstore writing contests, Internet contests, etc. Anything to get them to write with a reward attached to it seemed to inspire greatness. You will be proud of the effort, and of course they love the prizes!
Other People: As the children have gotten older, it has been helpful occasionally to have them under the tutelage or requirement of other teachers (co-op writing classes, presentation days, community college classes, etc.). Take advantage of what your homeschool community has to offer.