Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Okay, so that was just the understatement of my posting career. One could deduce, then, that I also like to teach writing. And you'd be correct.
I am saddened when I hear my children say that they don't enjoy writing. Writing should be enjoyed because it is an extension of yourself. Unfortunately, much of the writing we do in life (particularly before the age of 30), is what we are told to write and yes, it's not always fun. Sorry, kids.
But I'm more saddened when a homeschooling parent sits with me in an evaluation and says, "We didn't do much writing this year. She doesn't really like to write and well, I don't, either." I suppose the argument could be made that this family plans to homeschool through the high school years so can continue to choose how much writing is assigned (or not assigned). My counter argument remains that not only is writing extremely important for a child, if your child decides to go to college, good writing skills will be of utmost importance. I've also had parents say things like, "Well, I didn't really teach writing this year but she wrote a lot of stories." I'm glad she wrote a lot of stories but how are her non-fiction skills? Can she critique a book? Does she know how to write a complaint letter? Can she effectively persuade someone of something?
I am thankful to have a great friend who is still in the trenches of teaching in elementary school (as compared to me, a has-been) and who is very interested in the teaching of writing. She has passed along so many good ideas and books. One of these has been the use of a Writer's Notebook and a Reader's Notebook. Sometimes the two overlap, and that's the point. A good reader uses what he's reading to become a better writer and vice versa. Through the writer's notebook the children can explore so many aspects of writing and on most days, can write what they want. However, there are times when we will look at a specific genre because it is necessary to consider various styles and themes.
Learning about writing gives us so many themes to discuss as well. I love having these conversations with my children. One aspect of writing that we often discuss, especially when it's done well in a book, is "show, don't tell"; when a writer describes something, or gives you clues, without coming right out and saying it. This morning I realized that my seven year old, who has been enjoying Beverly Cleary's Ramona books, "gets it" when she had this to say during a discussion of characterization in writing, "I love how the author writes and the way she puts things. You know that Ramona is curious but the author never says that. She doesn't call any of her books Ramona, So Curious or Ramona, The Curious, but you definitely know that Ramona is curious."
Yes, Eden, she is curious! And so are you. Keep writing and maybe someday, like your older sister, you will actually say to me, "Mom, I have good news. I got 100% on my history speech. And I need to give you a hug and a kiss because you taught me how to write great introductory and concluding paragraphs. My teacher said so. But since I know you don't like hugs and kisses I'll just tell you. So thanks."