Well, not really, but close. This past week has been very draining. And very telling about my skills as a homeschooling mom and teacher.

I’m afraid if we could hear the angels in Heaven while on any particular day school was in session this past week, we might have heard something to the effect of, “Woe! Woe! Woe unto them who are schooled by Karen!” Yes, it was that bad. I should be so much better than this, shouldn’t I? After all, I spent copious amounts of time putting together lesson plans, coordinating schedules, checking and rechecking curriculum…not to mention, this ain’t my first rodeo — I have been homeschooling Katie now for four solid years.

But no amount of preparation could have readied me for trying to teach my daughter how to write. Not just write, but write well. Move her from her childishly constructed sentences to actual prose. I have completely forgotten what it was like to be in 5th grade. My memories of school are a jumble…it seems I have placed such high expectations on my child that I have only set her up for what is certain to be failure if I continue down this same path. We have both spent too much time in tears of frustration this week, that I have realized I must change something…and quickly. So I’m going back to the drawing board – I spoke with several other homeschool moms who have already been through this with their own children and they had several ideas for me as to how to break down the writing into smaller chunks so she wouldn’t be overwhelmed. I won’t obsess about her spelling to start with — instead, I’ll just include those words she mispells in her weekly vocabulary lessons. I’m still not sure what to do about the grammar or sentence structure…

I use daily writing prompts where we learn about something and then she chooses one element and writes her thoughts about it. I have been so obsessed with her spelling and grammar and punctuation that I haven’t allowed her to just…write. I want her to LOVE writing as much as I do. In college, my professor once told me that I was a gifted writer – that my stories about my childhood were so good that I should compile them into a book. I have never had the desire to publish a book, plus I no longer think I have those writing skills. And right now, all I can think about is how to transfer some of those skills to my child, flesh of my flesh. Anyone out there have anything for me? Anyone?

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5 Comments on Help, I’m in Homeschool H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks

  1. Training Hearts
    September 29, 2007 at 10:38 am (10 years ago)

    {{{Hugs}}} Oh those hard times trying to rope those precious cattle into the training arena (playing in on your rodeo reference!) ….

    Writing is a tough topic for most children. For me, we concentrate far more on “heart training” and the other difficult areas are finally falling into place. Copywork can spark descriptive conversations which eventually will help with the creative writing.

    For the fun stuff (instead of actual writing) you could get index cards and write Nouns in one pile, Verbs in another, Adjectives in another….etc, etc. and then using the index cards have her write some really creative sentences. To further spin off and encourage creative writing on paper…you could then (using the index cards) write a story starter and have your child finish the story on paper.

    It’s still early for me this morning–still drinking my coffee– but I hope this helps a bit 🙂

  2. Kim from Hiraeth
    September 29, 2007 at 1:51 pm (10 years ago)

    I had a very reluctant writer. Asking Sam to write anything was a pull and a tug.

    I followed some very good advice from Susan Wise Bauer of “The Well Trained Mind” and stopped assigning “writing assignments” and simply kept up with outlining his history lessons then re-writing them in his own words a day or two later (from the outline alone). Eventually, he was able to write over the skeleton outline of someone else. Didn’t feel like writing to him but he assimilated it all effortlessly. We kept up with all of his grammar lessons but cut out all the writing prompts and busy work compositions from about 5th-7th grade.

    He is now a phenomenal writer–no longer reluctant. The only thing that remains from his reluctant years is that he still hates purposeless, busy work composition assignments.

  3. My Twenty Cents Keeps Moving
    September 29, 2007 at 2:17 pm (10 years ago)

    I wholeheartedly and unequivocally recommend Writing Strands. Before we used it, there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth whenever we did writing. Seriously, I would recommend it to anyone– it is very child friendly and seems to help so much!

    ~Leslie

  4. Anne Glamore
    October 1, 2007 at 7:43 pm (10 years ago)

    I found you through BlogRush. ANyone who can homeschool is doing GREAT in my book- although based on one of my sons’ behavior lately, I bet there are plenty of moms who wish I was teaching him at home so he wouldn’t be teaching the others so much at school.!

    Good luck on the writing- it will come…

  5. Sniz
    October 2, 2007 at 2:24 pm (10 years ago)

    Hey, have you tried Excellence in Writing or Imatation in Writing? This is also my 4th year homeschooling. I’ve got an 8h grader, a 5th grader, and a 3rd grader and I LOVE to write (which I call Compostion as opposed to Grammar). My son hated to write, but hated Grammar even more. I gave up hope…but I still made him read, read, read. But when I recently pulled out some of the stuff he wrote last year, I was surprised at how good it was. He actually likes to write this year, but he still HATES Grammar and sees no reason to learn it. I used to feel so helpless about that, but now I see he is a good writer even if he doesn’t totally understand past participles. The doesn’t mean I don’t teach them, just that I don’t hold the Grammar rules as high as I used to and am more concerned with the COMPOSITION, you know? Can he communicate and express himself well? Anyway, I didn’t mean to write a book. Just know I’m right there with you. Like I said, my oldest was a very reluctant writer, but despite that he still can write well. (And it only took 3-4 years!)

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