Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Two days ago I made a general list of everything we've done this year in sort of a portfolio form. One thing severely lacking was writing. Time to step up to the plate, ignoring my wait until 5th grade to start theory.

Yesterday I taught my son to use the four-square writing method. He wrote a really nice paragraph for me using that method. Next I decided we'd tweak it a bit and do a five-paragraph story using the same method. What I thought would be quick wasn't. I was so mad at myself. Why didn't I make him do more than journal this year. He did write a few stories on his Alphasmart this year, but bad mom.

In the afternoon after we'd done other things, I decided to get out our Writing Trails in American History book. We went through the example chapter and then I had him start the lesson on Paul Revere. It took forever for him to look three words up in the dictionary and put them in his own words in the book. Again, it took forever to look up those same words in the thesaurus and come up with the new words for the book. Yikes. Oh, he has dictionary skills. He's been using both a dictionary and thesaurus for the past year. His mind just wanders when he does things he doesn't like.

Next he had to do the key-word outline. That went very well. I was surprised.

Finally he had to do a rough draft report. He finished half and then we had to leave for scouts.

This morning I got out the book first thing. Whine, groan, moan. Immediately. Once he got his attitude adjusted (mom stating it's the law, kid, you have to - lol) he set out to work. He finished the rough draft. Since this was his first, I went through it with a green marker -- he loves green and I don't want him to fear red -- with him. Not too many corrections. Very nice sentence structure. Wow, I was very impressed. We then discussed two sentences that could have been worded better. Off he went to make his final draft.

Wow, Thomas, knock your mother's socks off. He did an excellent job. His handwriting, which is so painful for him, was beautiful. Spelling was all perfect. I couldn't be happier.

I think we'll work right through this book because I think it will be a great confidence booster. It teaches him how to put things in his own words, how to do a key-word outline, how to organize, how to use synonyms. I think it's a great start for my boy who doesn't like to write.

My only beef with the book is that if you want to use it with your American history curriculum, it moves so slowly that it would be nearly impossible to use.

Next year we are going to be heavy on writing instruction. I had planned that anyway, but I see the need to write in every subject as well as to write for fun.


Becky said...

Psst...what's the four-square writing method, Frankie? When you're feeling better, of course :)

samuel said...

If my oldest gets into the dictionary, he might never look up the word he started with in mind. He'll got stopped by other words all along the way. I can't say I comlain. I do the same thing.