Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Writing... Can I Do This?
I have owned The Writer's Jungle, and eagerly read through the Brave Writer Lifestyle pages, for years now. I am working on my MA in English Education & Rhetoric, with the goal of helping remedial college students learn to write cohesively and fluently.
I find myself looking at this writing curriculum, or that one, or yet another one. And I do this despite the fact that every writing curriculum I've bought for The Boy ends up on a shelf, coated in dust. I find myself thinking "Well, we use a text book for math, why not writing?" And today I was bright enough (ha ha) to post about this on a classical homeschooling message board. Apparently, my writing demands are nowhere near high enough. But then, Julie Bogart - Brave Writer creator and guru - says:
"A mother asked us at Brave Writer if she was doing enough writing with her child. She told us that her son wrote in his journal on Monday, wrote a poem on Tuesday, crafted a short three paragraph essay on Wednesday, sent a thank you note to his grandmother on Thursday and polished a written narration on Friday. Was that enough writing for her 11 year old? she sincerely wondered. We responded, “That’s more writing than anyone should do in a week!...As a result, we suggest that students only be asked to complete (start to finish) one writing project per month. Just one."
And I did some reading over at Ambleside Online about a Charlotte Mason approach:
"Written Narration begun around age 10-11. (Handwritten or typed narrations are fine. You should accept most written narrations without attempting to correct all the mistakes. Becoming proficient with written narration will take a couple of years. Begin with one written narration per week, and increase to 2, then 3, as your child is ready to do more writing. Once a month, perhaps, you may want to edit and correct one narration.)"
Now I do have to say, in defense of the person who relied to my post, she suggested I look at what the end goal is, THIS YEAR, and work backwards. I can do that!
Goals for The Girl:
Her goals are mostly reading related, but I would like her, by the end of the year, to be able to write a good, solid paragraph. She's already writing short stories, almost completely on her own, so this is mainly teaching her structure. And I would like to continue working on basic dictation.
Goals for The Boy:
I actually have two writing goals for The Boy over the next year. One, is to learn basic outlining. And the other is to write a simple essay (which means he should review paragraph structure). And I want him to get back into free writing... he was doing well with it for a while, but then lost his oomph. So yeah, that makes three goals. I'm pretty sure I could come up with more, but those are the most important.
Well, for starters, I discovered that Julie Bogart has free podcasts on her website, talking about different developmental stages of writing. [As a side-note, I am delighted to discover that despite her late reading, The Girl fits squarely in her actual age group, developmentally, as far as writing goes!]
So I am listening to those. I am re-reading The Writer's Jungle. I am looking through my copy of Write Source 2000 for clear instructional material.
And I am taking note of what seems to work, and what doesn't. What they like, and what they don't. For example, The Girl loves copywork, so I should take advantage of that. The Boy likes writing silly dialogue, so I'll should work that in.
I can do this, right? Without a program to lead us through it all step-by-step?