I have found that if I follow a pre-set plan in a book for what and when my children should write, my children seem to lose interest in writing at all. I made the mistake of starting our school year with a new language lessons book, and it does just that. While I love the poems and literature excerpts in the book, since these are encompassed by a book with questions and expectations of the kids, they have already lost interest before we started. This is not at all what I want for/from my children. On the other hand, simply by reading good books in abundance over the years, my children have been inspired in their writing in the past. I am now taking a step back and returning to the direction I really desire for my children – inspiration to learn, not forced “learning”.
I wanted to share a little bit of a story my daughter wrote almost a year ago. During school I started my two oldest children each writing a story of their own. This was written when my daughter wasn’t yet 6 1/2 years old. Note: there was no complaining, no struggle; unlike the response I can get when I have my children read from their language book and are required to answer the questions and write what is required there. With this writing, she wrote first, then I helped her correct a handful of spelling, punctuation, and capitalization errors. Each “chapter” was written on a separate day. Here I’ve typed it up as corrected.
Chapter 1, Hanna
One day Hanna woke up, and looked out the window. She saw a tree, that looked like a willow trunk. It had lots of leaves. And beyond the tree she saw a different city. It wasn’t her own city. It was a different city. It looked strange. It also looked like a willow.
She decided to sing a willow song, this is what it sounded like,
i like a
i like a willow
Chapter 2 Hanna at Home
Then she stopped singing, and said, “I’m sleepy,” and laid on her bed and fell fast asleep. And when she woke up it was evening. Her mother was cooking dinner and her older brother was doing school, while her older sister was sitting beside her doing her multiplication. Then she saw her sister go away, and then come back. She handed Hanna her school with a pencil. Hanna did not know what to do, so she started her school. It was too hard for her so she asked her sister for help. Sigrid said, “okay”. “Now,” said Sigrid, and looked at the paper. “Wha——————————————–t in the world has happened here?”
Chapter 3 The Journey
Her older sister was fainting. “What is the matter?” Hanna asked and woke her sister up from the faint. “It’s blank” said Sigrid. “What did you say” said Hanna.
I said it “it’s blank.” “Oh” said Hanna “Let’s ask Mom what’s wrong.” They went down stairs and Sigrid said “Mom, Hanna’s school is blank. Why?” “Oh no” said her mother.
“What? Why? Oh no!” said Sigrid.
“Because,” said Emily, “there’s a ‘Mith Maker’ that makes things blank, which is bad.” “Where is it?” said Sigrid. “It’s far far away from here
(and this is where it stops)
I love seeing my child’s imagination revealing itself in her writing. While my daughter was writing this little story, my son started a fantasy story about a knight defending a land against foes.
I am now on the lookout for a concise grammar book with all of the parts of speech and rules of writing laid out so we can learn these in a straightforward way without mixing it up with so many other aspects of writing and taking away my children’s inspiration.