Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Writing Challenges

Writing - not handwriting, but composing thoughts and getting them down on paper in a coherent manner - is currently my primary focus for Cullen this semester.

He will tell you adamantly that he doesn't like to write. That's not entirely accurate, however. He loves to write, as long as I don't ask him to make an effort at correct punctuation and sentence structure. In his opinion, the words "edit" and "revise" are the most dreaded in all of the English language.

And don't even bring up the topic of spelling! If a reader can manage to work out what the word is most likely supposed to be - well, that's good enough. Never mind years of 100's on spelling tests. It's not important enough to even make the attempt to remember correct spelling!

Other than those pesky mechanics, he will work for hours on his own little books and comics and lists, etc. He presents his ideas very well. Just take it slowly if you wish to read them!

Amazingly, his own distinctive voice is quite clear in his writing. It usually reflects his sense of humor, his habit of intentionally interrupting himself with asides, and creative use of punctuation (as he understands it at this point) to include rhythm and get it... right?

We've just finished reading through Grammar Island, taking our time and discussing along the way. I am so glad to have found this series! It takes a completely unconventional and refreshing approach to grammar with beautiful, playful language and artwork. Word nerd that I am, I just adore this book! Even better, though, is hearing my eight -year-old beg to do more grammar!

While it was originally created for gifted learners, its light-hearted conversational/narrative style is perfectly suited to the one-on-one setting of at-home learning. We made our way through at an easy pace, having fun with every lesson. Next, we'll continue with the companion, Sentence Island, which has a greater focus on writing and building sentences, and also review concepts with Practice Island at the same time. The entire MCT Language Arts Curriculum can be found here at Royal Fireworks Press.

I feel confident we are on the right track with grammar and mechanics. Now if I can just convince him that spelling really IS important... He thinks so independently, and just because something is a priority to me, he feels in no way obligated to adopt my way of thinking

Actually, he's been asking to start his own blog, but I've just been putting it off. Maybe if someone other than Mom will be reading, he might raise his standard on his own. Oh, I hope so!


Michelle said...

Thank you for sharing this! I am glad your son enjoys Grammar Island. I will have to look into that series!

See Jamie blog said...

These books sound great!

And tell Cullen that Kathryn & I will be reading if he starts a blog!

Kim said...

Oh, thank you so much for this link. My son is still young, but I foresee similar issues for us in the future, and I like unconventional ways of teaching him. How wonderful that Cullen enjoys creating at least. The rest will come with time..

Chef Penny said...

Thanks for the insight! I have a reluctant writer as well and these sound promising.

Christina said...

We are MCTLA fans, also. My eldest's spelling really took off when he began learning about word roots (of course, he was almost 12!). It had something to do with him being a whole-to-part learner, I think. Best of luck. I'm enjoying your blog!