Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Meaning vs. Technique

Yesterday S-16 started Jensen's Format Writing which her older sister had loved a few years ago.  She had asked me for something that would shore up her writing skills in case she decides to go to college.  The first assignment was to take a sentence and using the various parts as a connection write  second sentences to go with it.  For example if the subject of the first sentence was Sam you would write another sentence starting with Sam, then one with a pronoun and perhaps one using the predicate or a second noun.  She asked if the sentences had to be about the same thing and I said that technically they didn't need to - they just had to have the same subject.  I gave a random example where the topics were completely unconnected except that Sam was the subject of both.  She dissolved into tears - very frustrated because there was no meaning, no real connection.  I told her it was better to make more connection - that is how it would be in real writing so that is how she did the exercise.  For me this was "just an exercise" - I grew up following the directions, getting by, not caring about the meaning (there often was no obvious meaning in my public education), doing the exercises as a game, (I did get good grades) but S, having grown up with a Charlotte Mason education feels that the meaning is the point.  Thinking about this makes me glad for her frustration and insistence on real meaning.  Her sentences were good and interesting besides. This morning I realize that I am perhaps more "successful" than I deserve to be in educating my children.  God's grace giving benefits I wouldn't have known to seek.  Maybe it's just her personality, but I think probably it has a lot to do with using a Charlotte Mason style of education and a God who is bigger and better and gives us more than we could ask or think.  

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