Friday, October 26, 2012

Nebby recently wrote A Few Thoughts on Writing and it got me thinking.  You can read it here and my comment in response below. 

  Dear Nebby: I agree that Charlotte Mason’s approach to writing is successful and much easier and more sensible than most writing programs. Years ago I used Understanding Writing and it gave me good insight into where I was going with writing. She covers her subject from a Christ-centered and God honoring perspective which I appreciated. Eventually I had the confidence to work on my own. If someone wants a formal program I can recommend it at least as a good starting place but I don’t think it is necessary. There are two parts to writing – the mechanics of getting words neatly on the page. This includes handwriting, punctuation and capitalization. The second part is the content. Oral narration is the foundation of this skill and this is where Charlotte’s method works so beautifully to develop good writers. As their ability to get it down on paper increases or they develop typing skills to keep up with their thoughts they can put this together with the mechanical part. I do like to have my children write something every day whether it is copy work, a letter, a nature journal entry, or a written narration. I think that any type of journaling works well for reluctant writers and used it more when more of my students were boys (only the youngest of my five current students is a boy). I have found that my girls write naturally and voraciously and that my boys tended to be more reluctant but were usually willing to keep a journal of current happenings. They tended to be more concrete and less creative in their writing. Overall I try to keep in mind the two parts of writing – mechanics and composition as I assign writing. Both parts need development. One friend whose children have beautiful handwriting simply has her children carefully color a coloring book picture each day in their first couple of grades developing their fine motor skills. As stated earlier children who compose their thoughts for an oral narration are practicing writing skills. Sometimes I type out my children’s narrations and read it back to them or have them illustrate it and let them keep it in their notebooks. Thanks for the great post and from my experience you can be confident that Charlotte’s method works well to develop writing skills.

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