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.