Tag Archives: writing

Writing, part II

Last week I posted about EJ and writing. My struggle to strike a balance. I want to nudge him so he progresses but not so much that he shuts down. There seems to be a very small window between the two. This week he completed the second All About Spelling writing activity I mentioned in the previous post.

Objective: Use the following words in sentences. You may not use all the words in a single sentence, but you may combine one or more words into each sentence. The sentences may be unrelated to each other or related forming a paragraph.

I let thirty minutes go by before checking in on him. He had nothing on paper, and no ideas. My husband saw both of our frustration and stepped in to help. I don’t know if what he said helped EJ, but I do know that five minutes after his dad talked with him he brought this in to me:

feeding | spoonful | toothless | sobbing | plays

“I am feeding a toothless baby blue bird spoonful of bird seed. It eats, it plays, and it naps. feeding birds is fun!”

2011-Oct-20_001

This is beautiful! Aside from some minor errors, for a boy who dislikes writing so much to come  up with something unexpected, is just an amazing thing! He has a great start here and I’d love to take it further, develop his idea a bit more, but I’ve made a decision to not critique his writing at this time. I feel he is a baby bird just peeking over the nest and will all too easily startle.

I have had a hard time pinning down exactly what my goals are for EJ and writing. In the long-term I hope that he is able to write well even if it’s never his passion or spark, but I know arriving there may take years.  Finally though, I think I’ve discovered my goal for the near future. That is to help him forget that he hates to write. To help him break the cycle of believing he cannot do it, to actually begin thinking of himself as a writer.

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The Writer Within

My 8-year-old son despises writing. Although it’s not a big factor, I do count this fact as one of the reasons we homeschool. He is a creative, energetic, verbal, bright boy, but if you ask him to write anything from his head he can’t do it. Tears are not unheard of no matter how gently I approach writing. Fortunately for my own peace of mind, I have found that this is not at all uncommon for boys this age. There have been several interesting discussions over on the Secular Homeschool forums of late that help me reinforce my approach with EJ and writing.

Despite all of the angst over writing, every once in a while EJ surprises me with some spontaneous original writing! For example he came up with this during a math lesson and dictated it for me to write:

Things I could do if I was flat.
Inspired by Flat Stanley.

  1. I would win more often at hide and seek.
  2. I could slip under doors.
  3. I could repair a sail on a boat at sea with just myself.
  4. I could fly like a kite.
  5. I could mail myself in an envelope.
  6. If I turn sideways no one would really see me.
  7. It would be easier to climb a rock wall.

This summer, much to my amazement, he wrote a poem that he wanted to put in the birthday Thank You notes he was writing. We typed it up and glued one into each note below his handwritten thanks.

Summer’s fun will last forever.
No matter the time, no matter the weather.
Summer’s fun will last forever.

Recently his spelling lesson (All About Spelling) added a new activity that I knew would cause angst. Of course I had a choice, I could have skipped it entirely. But the reasoning behind the activity was well explained and felt it was valuable. He was given the related words below and was to create several sentences using these words.

rainy, dripping, ponds, melting, quickly

Ultimately he didn’t do the assignment. When he was stuck, I tried to help by suggesting he imagine a scene where the words might all fit. He was unenthusiastic so I sent him off to figure it out himself. After a while he came to me with this:

It is spring.
The birds are singing, the snow is melting, getting warmer.
It is spring.

I’m so happy that he took the assignment and made it his own. I could focus on the fact that he only used one of the five words, or the fact that it is really very simple. I know that his peers are probably writing fabulous book reports and essays about their weekend, but for EJ and today it’s enough that he was asked to sit down and write and he succeeded! I’m so proud of him.