Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Whatever Wednesday - Homeschooling: Writing with Yip and Yap

If you have been following along with my homeschooling posts, you know I've discussed why we sort of homeschool the boys in math and reading. Today is the writing post.

Boys and writing....ugh!! Do you know any boys who have nice handwriting? It's just part of their nature as boys I believe not to write nicely or even care about it. But the way of the world is going more toward writing and verbal expressions of ideas. When we began working on our writing, the boys were against it and it was a struggle. Therefore, we've tackled writing from a lot of different directions.

First, we've used the old style manuscript papers. The boys begin by tracing the letters, then writing them on their own. This is boring but important to learning their letters and how upper and lowercase are formed. We don't do this everyday...if I did I would have a revolt on my hands!

A much more fun way to approach writing is using story picture pages.  We usually start with a topic such as, "Where do you want to live?" The boys draw a picture, like that at left by Yip, then I write a short sentence for them to copy. For a while, I tried to have the boys phonetically sound out the words then write them,  but they needed a little more structured guidance before that. The boys really enjoy this since it becomes their creation. We've done topics such as sick days, favorite food, movies, etc.

Here's another fun thing to do to get your kids to write. Start by having them write their name, or some other word, large on a sheet of blank paper. Like "Mommy" at left. Once they've done a nice, neat job of that (because remember we are emphasizing writing) have them turn the letters into something else.  For example, the letters MOMMY have been turned into two faces and two kites.
Once a week I also give the boys a short Bible verse to copy and then we recite it everyday and talk about its meaning. This week's verse was No one can serve two masters. Matthew 6:24. It also gives us another opportunity to work with numbers. We've also learned how to address envelopes and of course, sign cards to put in those envelopes, as another way to incorporate writing.  

I also ecourage the boys to write on the sidewalk, the basement walls (concrete blocks), garage floor....almost anywhere. I want them to like to write and feel comfortable with it long before they hit a structured writing curriculum in school. We've been at this for well over six months and the boys are doing so much better. They are confident in what they can write and, in the words of Yap "I concentrate and go slow so I don't make a mistake!" I don't think I can end on a better note than that!

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