View Full Version : Something I Didn't Expect

12-19-2011, 02:32 PM
We began homeschooling this year; before then, the kids were in our local elementary school (DS9 finished 3rd grade and DD6 finished K).

In kindergarten the teacher strongly encouraged the kids to write and didn't correct them much, so it was a lot of letters all over the page, often backwards, and words spelled phonetically (they called this "kid-writing"). I *love* kid-writing. To me it is childhood distilled -- completely pure and so very earnest.

When the kids were in school, I assumed DD6 would unlearn the kid-writing eventually on the school's schedule. But now that I am the one guiding her learning, it is suddenly my responsibility to teach her correct spelling, punctuation and handwriting. It's my responsibility to take away that kid-writing that I find to precious. With most other things I find it really exciting when she learns something new, but with the kid-writing thing I feel more like I'm taking something away than adding something.

Then there's the flipside of this where I'm worried that her spelling really is terrible and that she will be a hulking teenager still spelling breakfast "berecfist."

Oh, the angst. Any thoughts?


12-19-2011, 03:18 PM
She's 6? You don't have to teach writing at this age if you don't want to. Keep it totally separate. There are many schools of thought - especially in classical circles - that you don't bother teaching kids that kind of writing anyway for a long time. Instead teach handwriting, spelling, grammar, read books and do oral narrations - where kids summarize something they learned. Let her write her little notes or stories and don't correct or worry about them. And slowly, unless she has other issues present, she'll start spelling better, writing more clearly, etc. until slowly that kid writing becomes legible and readable outside of explanations and then you start doing more of what we traditionally think of as teaching "writing." I see this happening with my ds7's. Just a few months ago, they were spelling everything wrong on notes and letters, more is right now. They were still writing in a mix of all caps and lower case - it's more standardized now. They weren't staying on the lines - they usually do now. But I haven't been editing their notes to friends or their poems (one of them really likes to write acrostics, which are funny when the acrostic word is misspelled!) or their picture captions or the like. But we've been doing spelling, some copywork, and some activities to encourage that sort of kid writing, so that they feel more comfortable doing it.

Stella M
12-19-2011, 04:33 PM
What Farrar said, except we do even less :)

Legibility is the (eventual) aim; for everything else there's spell check. Just kidding :)

Enjoy your sweet 6 year old in all her six-ishness!!!

12-19-2011, 05:11 PM
My kids do daily copywork, mostly to practice penmanship, but I also slip in info about grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling. They pick what to write--it could be a story, a joke, an inventory of stuffed animals, a recipe--but the rule is that it has to be neat and correct.

I don't correct what they write for fun, but they're now are in the habit of asking me how to spell things. I see them use the things we talk about during copywork, like punctuation and capitalization, in their own writing.

My advice would be to pick one place for your daughter to spell correctly--copywork, a journal, etc.--and you may see her become more conscious of her spelling for other things.

12-20-2011, 01:35 AM
Thank you all for the reality check! I need to remember that this is a process, and the process can be enjoyed. We'll just keep doing what we're doing and have some fun with it.

Accidental Homeschooler
12-20-2011, 07:02 AM
My dd is also six. When we do handwriting she holds her pencil properly and starts at the top.... I absolutely don't worry about it any other time. We aren't doing spelling yet so I don't worry about how she spells when she writes her little notes. She likes to write and illustrate stories and asks for the correct spelling or for me to write her words so she can copy them, but if she wrote them without help and lots of errors I wouldn't worry about correcting them. Your post reminds me of how I used to feel when my dds were learning how to talk and would learn to say a word correctly. I would always feel a little sad about the loss of their first efforts to say something (ex: eesh for cheese or hamgerber for hamburger).