Saturday, January 26, 2008

Lessons from writing

Having a few concerns about the lack of writing in the Ambleside Online program, I decided to add a traditional writing workbook from Evan-Moor publishing to our day. It is called Writing Fabulous Sentences and Paragraphs, Grades 4-6. We are doing it 2 days a week, alternating with our grammar program.

This is our 2nd week working in it, and Austin's assignment on Thursday was to write at least 5 sentences of his own. In case you cannot read them clearly, I will type them below:

I have a cake.
Are we there yet?
I love cake!
Do you love cake?
So, do you have a PSP?

At first glance, you might not think those are good examples of writing done by an almost 12 year old, 5th grader. And maybe they aren't, according to a public school or classical education/WTM model. Allow me to explain what isn't quite so obvious:

1. A year ago, Austin would have written every sentence beginning with the word "I". They would have read like this: I like cats. I like cars. I like math. There would have been no variation. He would have written to complete the assignment.

2. He has an example of every type of sentence that we have studied, except for the command: Declarative (1), Interrogative (2,3,5) and Exclamatory (4). This was not an explicit part of the assignment! Austin wanted to do that because he wanted to show me that he knows the types of sentences!

3. There is a sense of relation in these sentences. It's not just stating facts or repeating things he has read or heard. There is a feeling of experience sharing when I read these sentences!

4. He was terribly excited to begin that last sentence with "So,"! He pointed it out to me, and asked me if he used it correctly!

So, (hee hee) instead of being concerned that he isn't writing according to someone else's standards, I look instead at the progress he has made! He is doing well for where HE is developmentally, and he is making progress at HIS pace.

That is something to be proud of and to celebrate!


The Glasers said...

Way to BE in the zone of proximal development!!!

Yeah, Austin and his Mom!!!! :-)

Prince Andrew and the Queen Mum said...

Looks great to me!