The Homeschool Minute ~ Deborah Wuehler
Mercy Every Minute
I am a writer. Not necessarily a grand writer; but when given the proper time and outlet, the words do come forth. However, most of the time, I just throw my thoughts on paper and then use the majority of my writing time rearranging those thoughts. I move words around like a dump truck; all the while praying those words will make sense to the reader.But teaching writing can overwhelm me. I think it’s because most of my children are not like me. They are not natural writers. So, how do I teach something that just feels inherent to me? I can’t just give them a curriculum or a prompt and let them have at it and hope they succeed. They need help navigating, so I walk them through the wonderful land of word crafting.
What they learn is that we do much more re-writing than actual writing. We do a lot of thinking and moving words around and polishing them until they shine. We take it slow and easy, one step at a time.
When they are young (even non-readers): they dictate to me what they heard, learned, or observed. I write their words down for them, and then ask pointed questions. What happened; where and when? What did they see, hear, or feel? What did they learn? This frees up their mind to think (as they didn’t have to worry about the act of writing it down), they enjoy it, increase their vocabulary, and are proud of their finished product.
As they get a bit older, I have the children write about the books they are reading, or reports on their hobbies or interests, or poetry, letters, or devotional writing. In junior high and high school, we concentrate on essays and style.
Sometimes their language arts curriculum gives writing assignments, and sometimes I give the writing assignments. Either way, we write, we think, we rearrange, we write some more, we get rid of “regular” words, use good synonyms, make arguments, and come up with strong endings.
When we are working on a writing assignment, we skip anything else for language arts for that time period. We take it one day at a time–one piece at a time. We can actually take our time and don’t have to rush. We can read good writing, find out why we liked it, and then imitate the style. We can practice small portions at a time, trying new things as we go along.
I have learned that if we do a little, and then a little more, and stay consistent, we can teach our children to write well.
Oh, and by the way, God is a writer. And what He has written is the best writing in the world. Have your children study God the Writer! Why did He write? What did He write? To whom did He write? How can we write like Him?
Pray continually, and God will be faithful to show you the “write” way for each child. And whatever your child does, teach him to do it with the strength God provides, and for the glory of God Himself. He will bless his efforts and yours as you honor Him.
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