The writing curriculum I’m doing with the kids emphasizes quality over quantity, and word games and poetry over drills. There is a single writing project per month, which to me doesn’t sound like much. I know I have to trust the process and give the curriculum a chance to work its magic, but I can’t help but wonder if my kids are writing enough.
K hates writing. She’s articulate and insightful when she speaks, but ask her to write it down and you may as well be pulling out her fingernails with rusty pliers. These days N writes when he needs to, and he’s getting much better at checking his own work for punctuation and capitalization. I’ve never seen him go out of his way to write anything, though, with the exception of a “do not disturb” sign for his bedroom door.
But my faith has been restored by R, who asked for a locked diary for her recent birthday. “I’m reading some books that are like diaries now,” she said of the historical fiction she’s been enjoying, “so I thought I might write my diary sort of like theirs. I have an imaginary person I’m writing to in the diary, and I have to explain everything about our family and our home and stuff.”
Every evening, and sometimes during the day, I find her sitting on her bed, knees drawn towards her chest, balancing her diary on her thighs, writing furiously.
I have no idea what she writes in there, but she’s doing it voluntarily every single night. Not only that, but she’s conscious of having to tailor her writing to her intended audience (in this case, an imaginary one.) I can’t help feeling that what she’s doing is so much better than an arbitrary writing assignment. At nine years old she’s already a writer. And thanks to homeschooling, she has the time and flexibility to practice her craft.