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March 16, 2010

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Melissa R

You are full of surprises :)
First, please let us read something you've written!
Second, could you post a link to the hand held dictionary that has been helpful to G? Any chance it's voice activated?

Melanie

First, a disclaimer: I, in no way, think I know what the heck I'm talking about!

Second, I have a kid in college, one in high school, and a 2nd grader. I didn't homeschool the first two and they went through whatever writing program the district liked for that year. They are "mechanical" writers in that they will produce a correct (although sterile) essay.

I missed it with my first. I missed that they were drilling any love for the written word out of her. I don't know how I missed it, but I did. Perhaps it was that blind faith that the school district knew what they were doing. Hey, I was young! At any rate, she'll write when she has to...but she'd rather not.

With my second, I was a little more prepared. I kept her supplied with journals and I never even peeked at them. I think that so much of writing is a confidence thing. I so wanted to control and guide her writing, but I held myself in check and waited for the invitation. I sometimes get the invitation to read or edit, and I've learned that my role is to encourage; simply encourage. She has learned the mechanics and can churn out an essay with the best of them, but has somehow she retained her need/love to write down those stories/thoughts/snippets.

So now I have the 2nd grader who can spell anything on a list, but can't relate that to words she writes on paper. A 2nd grader who hates the physical process of writing. That's one of the many reasons we chose to homeschool. Through this first year of homeschool, we've found three programs that work for us: The Complete Writer: Writing with Ease (a bit boring to her, but I see the results of this gentle approach, Step Up To Writing (a kind of visual approach to the mechanics of a paragraph or essay - we do a paragraph a week), and Small World's WordSmithery for the creative writing bit (this is my daughter's favorite part of the week). I hope that I am finding that balance between teaching the mechanics and nourishing the love of writing.

I just realized how long this comment is...ugh. So sorry. I guess the real comment is that I understand that high wire act of knowing when to teach and when to step back. I'm really wishing I had a crystal ball about now!

Oh...and a writer?....I'm so totally impressed (not surprised, just impressed!)!!

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