Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Work in Progress

It's interesting being a home school teacher because I can notice steps of growth more closely than I did even as a classroom teacher. In the classroom, the curriculum dictated to a great degree what I was to teach and when I was to teach it, so monitoring the individual students growth was often set aside as I evaluated if the class as a whole was prepared for the next step. I can honestly say I wasn't as aware of doing this then as now that I only have one student on which to focus.

Narration is a big part of the Classical Education concept, so starting even last year with FIAR there are many times that after reading something I ask Micki to tell me what it was about and then I write down what she dictates to me. I usually try to use her handwriting paper and her penmanship style so as a way to review penmanship skills with her. Another nice aspect is a little less hands on work for me! :-) Win-win!

The next step was for me to write down things and for her to copy them onto her paper. This started with simple things like labeling items & spelling words to more "extensive" things like notes. I usually write things on a small white board using her penmanship style. Sometimes I will even erase items as she completes it or only write one sentence or word at a time, so she doesn't feel quite so overwhelmed.

Just within the last few weeks, Micki has made a nice big jump. She has thank you notes to write for her birthday, so I thought I'd see how well she did writing them straight from brain to paper. I was right beside her assisting in sounding out words as need. I always knew I could pull out the white board if it was too much, but she was ready for the challenge.

It was really cool to see her put various tasks she had learned to use. She knew how to spell and write many words especially sight/Dolch words from memory. Some may think this is not that big of a deal, but it is. Being able to spell a word orally is a different skill than being able to write the same word. That's why writing spelling words over and over again may be helpful to remember them for a written spelling test but not as helpful for a spelling bee.

She also did a great job sounding out words that she didn't recall from memory such as "gifts" or "present." It was encouraging to hear my 5 year old say, "OK, end of sentence, so I need a peradid [Micki speak for period]."

So, this means that I will be turning more and more writing over to her. Not all at once by any means, especially since she's only 5 and doing 5th grade work, but definitely giving her more opportunities to grow in personal writing skills beyond just penmanship.

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