Writing Gone Well

Writing essays and paragraphs are often preceded by crying and fits of rage in our house.

Writing essays and paragraphs are often preceded by crying and fits of rage in our house. This week was different. As we began, Chris clearly was looking for a reason to flip out. "Is today a writing day?" while we're working on Bible worksheets. We were able to talk it through -- how he was asking me that only to find a reason to complain ahead of time.

When it was time to write, he was able to calm down and talk with me about what was causing the anxiety in him. We found he was essentially giving up before he started. He remembered how he had trouble with the given topics in the past and decided he would have the same struggle again -- before ever thinking about the topics.

He was able to calm himself quickly, which is such a pleasure for me to see. He has matured so dramatically over the years. We talked through the options and came up with one topic that looked the best. Then some prewriting was in order, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

I loved this. I loved being part of the process of coming up with this little essay. And I don't mean just the BaiBoard brainstorming; I mean the conversations yesterday and through the years. I used to give Chris the writing assignment box (in Shurley English) and let him work out what to do -- since we had thoroughly learned and practiced it leading up to that point and since I knew he knew how to do it. It was important for us to go through that period of frequent frustration but still, I've found that telling a child he can do something that he thinks he can't do, isn't usually helpful. He's got to see it.

We found he was essentially giving up before he started. He remembered how he had trouble with the given topics in the past and decided he would have the same struggle again -- before ever thinking about the topics.

It's not about completing assignments. I need to constantly remind myself of this. It's not about the assignments. It's not about a good grade. We don't really even do grades, but that's another post altogether.

For brainstorming, we first choose a topic, and then, we write any ideas that come to mind. To make it fun, we often try to come up with something worth a laugh. While writing ideas, we try to narrow the topic and also make decisions about the target audience. We group like points together, creating summary statements to describe each grouping. These become the three main points which make up the body of the essay.

Right now we have not added IEW grammar and style back into our routine. We will get back into that in the coming weeks. I'm still figuring out how to work IEW into our school day. I have not gotten to consistency in this. When we do work on it, we do it all together as a family study time. We'll see how we improve on that this year.