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#1 of 6 Old 11-26-2012, 07:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have always felt like if I keep an eye on how well my kids' reading and math skills are developing, they will be fine.  Everything else is extra. My logic for this of course is, if they are able to read well, then they can read whatever subjects they want and educate themselves.  And if they have good math foundations, then they won't be intimidated out of the science, engineering, technology fields should they desire to pursue something in that direction.  

 

What about writing?  How did your kids' writing skills develop?  My kids are little so they don't "write".  But I was just wondering how it all worked for other unschoolers.  There seems to be tons of writing schooled kids do at a really young age.  I wonder if that helps, hinders or makes no difference at all vs kids learning to write when they are ready (which I imagine is years later than 1st grade for most).  What do you guys think?  

 

I am surrounded by schooled kids.  I enjoy finding out what they are up to because it causes me to ask good questions about the process of learning, the most efficient ways of doing it etc.  

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#2 of 6 Old 11-27-2012, 12:34 AM
 
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My eldest began writing like a fiend at age 8.5. It was like her cork came unstopped and it just poured out of her. She's an incredibly gifted writer. Creative fiction was her first passion, but poetry and eventually persuasive essay writing, reviews and editorials as well. She mostly uses a computer, but she developed decent handwriting around age 9.

 

My ds didn't begin writing until age 10 or 11, and then it was only on the computer, and rarely fiction, mostly computer game reviews, walk-throughs and such. He has dysgraphia, so handwriting never really worked for him: at age 16 his "signature" is still a tediously slow manuscript. But in the past couple of years he's become a highly entertaining deep thinker and expostulator. He keeps up several long-distance friendships by email. He has several blogs where he posts about things like man's basic nature, atheism, the war on drugs, true friendship, etc. etc.. He's active in various debate reddits and writes with great maturity. His social studies teacher used one of his blog posts (with his permission) as one of the assigned readings for a class exploring models of social justice.

 

My middle dd developed decent handwriting gradually around age 8-12. She isn't a huge writer, but she is certainly at least "at grade level" and is having no trouble now that she's in high school getting good grades in advanced English and Writing courses. Her handwriting is fine; not too fast, but quite legible and sufficient for her needs. She uses a laptop for a lot of her schoolwork, but unlike her brother she doesn't need it to cope; she just likes being able to edit and print tidy copy.

 

My youngest is now 9. She writes well, but not a lot. She hasn't completely mastered cursive, but has a nice hybrid style that she's happy with for now. Compositionally the quality of her occasional bits of writing is excellent; on a computer her spelling, grammar and vocabulary make her writing seem like the work of someone much older.

 

So on average my kids developed their handwriting gradually between ages 8 and 12 (except for ds). For the most part they only began doing a lot of writing only once they became much more independent and their worlds expanded: then they began to need to write in order to communicate with friends and explore ideas and make contacts out in the big wide world. That urge kicked in around adolescence. Even though my kids wrote almost nothing before age 8, and very little before age 12, they have totally excelled in the creative writing courses that our public school offers. The later start didn't seem to produce any lags or difficulties. 

 

Kids at school have to produce written work to facilitate the evaluation process. Conversation doesn't work well to gauge the mastery of 20 or more individual children in a classroom, so teachers have put tremendous emphasis on the early mastery of writing. It may be no big deal for many kids, but for others it can feel tedious, even painful, and interfere with their love of learning. I appreciate the way unschooling has let my kids come to writing in their own ways, on their own time.

 

miranda


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#3 of 6 Old 11-27-2012, 08:28 AM
 
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Handwriting kicked in for dd1 when she started to read more fluently.  That hasn't stopped dd2 from writing, but I bet she will write more when her reading skills kick in.  She has the tools to read, and recently she's taken to trying to sound out words here and there (she sounds out her words, as opposed to sight reading like dd1).

 

At nearly-8, dd1's writing is fairly decent.  She still uses upper-case letters.  She saw some double-lined paper in a toy catalog and has asked for it.  I think she wants to write and draw a picture with it, and I loved to do that when I was her age.  We are hitting the school store on Friday to pick up various paper products.

 

She started copying her "Oceanarium" book again, and was amazed at how fast she made it through several pages.  This is a book that has drawings of fish and marine mammals in various habitats, and includes their size.  Bought for .75 at the thrift store 4 years ago, this silly little book has done more for our homeschooling than any book could possibly do.  They are constantly pulling it out to read or copy from.  We would pull out the measuring tape to get an idea of how big the animals were (we used dh's 100' measuring tape for the whales).

 

She likes little gimmicky things, like sparkle-covered composition books and Bic 4-color pens.  Those pens!  Stocking stuffer last year, and they have been wonderful.


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#4 of 6 Old 11-27-2012, 09:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emaye View Post

 

 

What about writing?  How did your kids' writing skills develop?  My kids are little so they don't "write".  But I was just wondering how it all worked for other unschoolers.  There seems to be tons of writing schooled kids do at a really young age.  I wonder if that helps, hinders or makes no difference at all vs kids learning to write when they are ready (which I imagine is years later than 1st grade for most).  What do you guys think?  

 

  

I could get very long winded on this!

 

My oldest probably has dysgraphia.  His handwriting is atrocious. Truly.  He is 16.

 

I did a fair bit of handwringing over this for many years.  I wondered if I should push / insist on practice or if that would ultimately frustrate him and cause power struggles/dislike of writing.  

 

I came down on the side of not pushing  - that is what felt most right, but I am also well aware that there are these lovely things called keyboard, so even if his handwriting was never great, most jobs/higher education, etc ran on keyboards, so poor handwriting was not the end of the world.

 

He cyber schooled in grade 9 and entered a brick and mortar in grade 10 (last year).  He has excelled at writing.  He did very, very little writing before that - and what he did do was largely on Runescape and WoW.  He has great ideas, always has - and we have had wonderful and deep conversation over the years on current events, logic, the importance of making your case, etc, etc.  All of this has helped him be a great writer!

 

DD entered school in grade 7.  Her handwriting was never the best, but it is passable.  She entered school with very little history of writing and did just fine.  She does not have the same love of writing that DS does (despite the fact she had less initial issues vis a vis letter formation).

 

DD, age 10, is USed.  She has always enjoyed writing, but her spelling is pretty bad, and her letter formation is not great.  She is probably somewhere between her siblings in the mechanics of writing, and is, perhaps, my worst speller for her age.  I tried spelling lists and games, but honestly, they do not seem to "take." Moreover, she learned to read later, and some research suggests learning to spell well comes after a few years of reading.   Providing paper (and in her case that is all I need to do as she is self driven wrt writing) and answering her questions over and over again on how things are spelled seems to help.  Sometimes we play spelling games in the car.  She write books, lists, games that she shares with us.  All of her writing is shared.  Being interested in their stories helps them want to write stories.  

 

HTH


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#5 of 6 Old 11-27-2012, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

Kids at school have to produce written work to facilitate the evaluation process. Conversation doesn't work well to gauge the mastery of 20 or more individual children in a classroom, so teachers have put tremendous emphasis on the early mastery of writing. It may be no big deal for many kids, but for others it can feel tedious, even painful, and interfere with their love of learning. I appreciate the way unschooling has let my kids come to writing in their own ways, on their own time.

 

miranda

 

This makes a lot of sense to me.  Good to know about your experiences with your kids.  Thanks for sharing.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

Handwriting kicked in for dd1 when she started to read more fluently.  That hasn't stopped dd2 from writing, but I bet she will write more when her reading skills kick in.  She has the tools to read, and recently she's taken to trying to sound out words here and there (she sounds out her words, as opposed to sight reading like dd1).

 

At nearly-8, dd1's writing is fairly decent.  She still uses upper-case letters.  She saw some double-lined paper in a toy catalog and has asked for it.  I think she wants to write and draw a picture with it, and I loved to do that when I was her age.  We are hitting the school store on Friday to pick up various paper products.

 

She started copying her "Oceanarium" book again, and was amazed at how fast she made it through several pages.  This is a book that has drawings of fish and marine mammals in various habitats, and includes their size.  Bought for .75 at the thrift store 4 years ago, this silly little book has done more for our homeschooling than any book could possibly do.  They are constantly pulling it out to read or copy from.  We would pull out the measuring tape to get an idea of how big the animals were (we used dh's 100' measuring tape for the whales).

 

She likes little gimmicky things, like sparkle-covered composition books and Bic 4-color pens.  Those pens!  Stocking stuffer last year, and they have been wonderful.

 

Funny about the book and how much you use it.  Sometimes it is the things you never suspect that spurs so much activity!  I have always believed being able to read precedes writing.  So, it makes sense to me that this is how your daughter did it.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

I could get very long winded on this!

 

My oldest probably has dysgraphia.  His handwriting is atrocious. Truly.  He is 16.

 

I did a fair bit of handwringing over this for many years.  I wondered if I should push / insist on practice or if that would ultimately frustrate him and cause power struggles/dislike of writing.  

 

I came down on the side of not pushing  - that is what felt most right, but I am also well aware that there are these lovely things called keyboard, so even if his handwriting was never great, most jobs/higher education, etc ran on keyboards, so poor handwriting was not the end of the world.

 

He cyber schooled in grade 9 and entered a brick and mortar in grade 10 (last year).  He has excelled at writing.  He did very, very little writing before that - and what he did do was largely on Runescape and WoW.  He has great ideas, always has - and we have had wonderful and deep conversation over the years on current events, logic, the importance of making your case, etc, etc.  All of this has helped him be a great writer!

 

DD entered school in grade 7.  Her handwriting was never the best, but it is passable.  She entered school with very little history of writing and did just fine.  She does not have the same love of writing that DS does (despite the fact she had less initial issues vis a vis letter formation).

 

DD, age 10, is USed.  She has always enjoyed writing, but her spelling is pretty bad, and her letter formation is not great.  She is probably somewhere between her siblings in the mechanics of writing, and is, perhaps, my worst speller for her age.  I tried spelling lists and games, but honestly, they do not seem to "take." Moreover, she learned to read later, and some research suggests learning to spell well comes after a few years of reading.   Providing paper (and in her case that is all I need to do as she is self driven wrt writing) and answering her questions over and over again on how things are spelled seems to help.  Sometimes we play spelling games in the car.  She write books, lists, games that she shares with us.  All of her writing is shared.  Being interested in their stories helps them want to write stories.  

 

HTH

 

I have never heard of dysgraphia before this thread with you and Miranda.  Interesting.  Thanks for sharing your experiences with your kids.

 

Overall it seems to me that kids that start writing later don't necessarily do worse in upper grades (high school) and higher education as long as they have had good learning experiences and skills.  

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#6 of 6 Old 11-27-2012, 09:43 PM
 
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My kids are quite young so I can't say much about this, but my oldest(5) loves writing. It could be because I'm a writer, but her handwriting is very good.  My mom bought her some dry-erase books for handwriting and her other grandma bought her a huge book with a few dry erase boards and letter/word writing games.  We don't use them a ton, but I think using them, as well as seeing me write and having me write things for her has interested her in writing.

 

She's not much of a reader.  She will sound words out and has spelled(and probably memorized) a few words, but she will write letters and pretend they are words all over the place.  I would never force it though.

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