Let’s start with a confession:
When I was younger (grade school-ish) I loved to write reports. A lot. So much so that I would ask my mother for subjects to research and go about researching and writing a report outside of any school assignment. It was years before I realized that this was totally nerdy….and many more years that I realized that I liked being nerdy and embraced it.
And now and announcement:
I have a nerdy daughter! And I am loving it!!!
After looking at (read: totally devouring) a book on homes throughout history she asked to write a report on one of the homes for her writing each day. A report? Yes, please!!!
After a little assistance creating the book for the report she has been working each day independently on her report! The first few pages consist of information she learned from the book, illustrated of course!!! The remainder of the book is an adventure story she wrote about someone that might have lived there, in this case a little girl named Lily, who falls down a courtyard pool into a magical land and becomes a mermaid!
I put no parameters on this report, and left it completely up to her, without correcting spelling, handwriting, grammar, etc. I really believe in this style of free writing. Now don’t get me wrong, we spend a great deal of time on handwriting, grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc. And the things that she has learned are very evident in her work, and are more and more evident as we’ve gone through the year. But, free unrestricted writing allows her to put her thoughts and ideas onto paper without being hindered by making sure everything is just right. It allows her to know that she has something to say, and that is so very very important to me. That being said I don’t ignore the rules! As we read over what she has written it gives me a clear idea of where she could use more practice in terms of the “rules.” We focus on those areas during some of our other lessons and can see the results of those efforts in further free writing activities. As a result all of the correcting and modification is done separate from the expression of her thoughts and ideas, to ensure that there is never a misunderstanding that those need alteration.
It’s serious business teaching a child to be a free thinker who can express herself clearly and freely, and without grammatical error! This is how we’re attempting it…! Any thoughts or suggestions?!
“They lived happily ever after. The end.”
“It was Lily’s first day in school. Lily was nervous. What will it be like. She said.”
“We are talking about Rome. Sometimes there is a feast in a lavish room. Lavish means fancy. I like fancy words.”