Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

If your kids hate imitation based writing...

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    If your kids hate imitation based writing...

    Anyone have success with Classical Composition with a child who hates narration and rewriting? The child I'm concerned about will be in fifth grade, she is a lefty and very creative, but puts up a pitched battle when it comes to academic writing, and particularly dislikes rewriting fables. Has anyone been successful with Classical Comp with a child who has been resistant to this style of instruction? I know that there are some bad attitude issues that need to be addressed, but I want to help her achieve good writing in the best way I can. CC looks like a good path to me, but I know its not the only way. If you have been in this position, di you find anything that worked out well? Thanks!
    Last edited by sunset; 06-28-2018, 01:37 PM.

    #2
    Re: If your kids hate imitation based writing...

    Hi Sunset!

    I can understand the frustration you are dealing with regarding composition. Back in the day when my oldest was in fourth and fifth grades, she hated narrating. We were using WWE, and she COULD do it, but hated it. I did not see her writing actually improving in any marked way, so I decided to let it go and focus on the writing exercises in her Rod and Staff grammar books (which we were using by that time). My later children have all had varying degrees of like/dislike for narrating, but I really don't let that lead my decision about writing curriculum anymore. The reason is because the narrations they do in Fable and again in Narrative are just one exercise they do among many. The entire lesson they complete over the two week period includes a variety of exercises. Each exercise has a specific reason for being there. Each one develops skills children need to become well-rounded writers, and will benefit them as they continue to progress through the program. I know it can be hard to see that now when you have to fight a battle each time a narration is assigned, but in the big picture, this stage is only temporary, and persistence here will pay off with greater benefits down the road.

    From my experience, I honestly do not think you would be able to change to another writing program and end up with a child who likes everything about it. Learning to write is simply hard; it takes a lot of mental energy, and there are no "right answers." This frustration at having to narrate may seem like something you can eliminate by switching to another program, but really, being able to narrate a series of events or a sequence of steps or retell a brief example is at the heart of a great deal of writing - which is why it is such a foundational skill.

    I have given most of the writing curricula available a fair shot with my own kids, and I can honestly say that CC is the most challenging, but the most rewarding, too. My children who have progressed quite far through the levels handle it with ease now, and I have learned so much by seeing where those early levels lead. I no longer worry about whether any of my kids like it. It's like Latin, math, vegetables, bed-making, chores, and exercise - it's good for you, so you do it. Period. I handle crankiness over it the same way I handle sullen, bad attitudes about anything else. Because once they realize they are not going to "get out of it" by complaining or pitching a fit, they end up accepting it, getting quite good at it, and eventually (usually) even liking it.

    It's like my six year old and swimming. We had not done much swimming the last two summers, but this year decided to join a pool to have something to do for three months. I started right away trying to get her to put her face in so she could go underwater and swim like her sisters. She was not having it. Nothing I could do would convince her to do more than a split-second tap of her face on the surface of the water. We have been going to the pool for almost a month now. Know what she finally started doing yesterday? Going underwater...and suddenly, she loves it. Thinks its the greatest thing in the world. But I could not convince her of that, and she would not budge on it. They just don't know what they will end up loving right now. They hit something new, that they don't feel comfortable with or they don't like, and they want to avoid it. I have learned to let that emotion run its course, and keep putting in front of them what is good for them. Time and time again, they eventually end up appreciating the goodness of what we are doing. They don't always end up loving it, but they do end up appreciating it.

    AMDG,
    Sarah
    2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
    DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
    DS, 16
    DD, 14
    DD, 12
    DD, 10
    DD, 7.5
    DD, 5.5
    +DS+
    DS, 18 months

    Comment


      #3
      Re: If your kids hate imitation based writing...

      Originally posted by KF2000 View Post

      From my experience, I honestly do not think you would be able to change to another writing program and end up with a child who likes everything about it. Learning to write is simply hard; it takes a lot of mental energy, and there are no "right answers." This frustration at having to narrate may seem like something you can eliminate by switching to another program, but really, being able to narrate a series of events or a sequence of steps or retell a brief example is at the heart of a great deal of writing - which is why it is such a foundational skill.

      I have the ability to look back to see what did and didn't work with my Great Homeschool Experiment. What Sarah wrote, what I bolded, is the rock bottom truth. Building a writer is hard, and it is a multi-step and varied process. Making sure there is a language rich environment is key. Keep reading aloud to her, have her read her own books, memorize poetry, etc. Andrew Puedwa of IEW has created some amazing talks about these subjects. Then, there is the practice. The child must simply write. There are some products out there that specialize, if you will, in non-structured writing (my least favorite approach... golly, she can write in a diary for that), then there are others which are highly structured, but produce little fruit because they are artificial in nature. A writer must write from what she knows.

      Which is where the imitation portion of any classical writing program comes in. Yep, it is always the first act, when learning to write classically, to imitate. That is how Ben Franklin taught himself to write! You will see imitation in IEW, Classical Writing, Classical Composition, etc. It may help you to know that the imitation step has a very specific purpose. It allows the young writer to skip the worry about the WHAT to write (including topic, sequence, character names, etc) while focusing on word choice, adding interesting details which enhance the writing but don't change the story (which CC calls Figures of Description), the physical act of handwriting, word spacing, how to title and indent, and the basic "staring at a blank page". You see, when it is all said and done, the imitation stage lifts a heavy burden from the young writer's shoulders to make space for launching some of the early skills, then goes froward from there.

      To summarize, a writer is built from being exposed to a language rich environment, practicing the craft, and working within some basic structure. With those three elements in place, it simply takes TIME.

      Which, to be honest leads to the fifth crucial element. Parental involvement. Much like in the realm of math, time and time again I see homeschool moms fretting over this subject. Very often, the real root of the issue is that "mom" isn't following through and keeping the consistency. When a subject gets hard, kids will often instinctively push back, and then Mom has a decision to make. Definitely not saying that this is you (!). Writing IS one of the hardest subjects a child will learn since it is 100% on her shoulders, learning to be creative AND execute on her own. In teacher-speak, we call this "constructed response" which involves the student to a much greater degree than "selected response". A student having to write her thoughts on paper is a far superior way to assess her level of understanding than filling out workbook pages or taking a multiple choice/T/F test. Homeschool moms often accidentally lift the burden of learning to write far too quickly from the child for a myriad of reasons. But, no matter *which* writing program you choose (and CC is a good one, although it didn't even exist with my olders, so in all fairness I can say that there are other good ones out there), please do know that staying firm, fair, and matter of fact.... AND including snippets of "writing" every day, is the final element, in my opinion, of building a fantastic writer.


      If this didn't help, please feel free to ignore!




      Jen



      PS: Upon re-reading your post I see that narration is her nemesis. That is the second step in classical writing where the story sequencing portion of the decision making is lifted from the student's shoulders, and she must now construct the story with the original story's details. You might want to evaluate it this way: is she fussing because she has mastered it already (in which case, move on), or is she fussing because it is hard and she doesn't want to leave the imitation stage (in which case, slow down and get her comfortable again, then diligently work forward daily). My own 5th grader was the former. He mastered the narration stage so quickly, I grabbed another writing program from my shelf and we spent the last third of the SY with weekly writing projects from another series. However, if your child is the latter, I might recommend that you sit with her, "hold her hand" into believing that she can really do this, and the have her work though the daily steps in CC Narration every day of your school year (well, we compress into 4 days a week, but you kwim) until she has mastered the sequencing/details skill. Good luck!
      Last edited by Jen (formerly) in Japan; 06-29-2018, 07:28 AM.
      DS, 26 yrs, graduated from MIT (Aerospace), recently completed the design and execution of unhackable military software... in his spare time.

      DS, 24 yrs, graduated from SIU's School of Business, ENGAGED!

      DD, 21 yrs, Senior in Education at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC

      DS, 11 yrs, 6M: complete!

      All homeschooled.

      Comment


        #4
        Re: If your kids hate imitation based writing...

        I know a lot of families use CC at the beginning of year rather than all year long. Not having it go on constantly is a selling point. )
        Bean. Long time MP user.

        DD- 9th grade aerospace enthusiast. Using a mix of dual credit, online and classical materials for 2019-2020.

        Comment


          #5
          Re: If your kids hate imitation based writing...

          Sunset,
          Can you comment on how you actually do the CC assignments in your home? Do you do a section each day, or do you bunch them together for the week? Do you teach it or watch the a DVD together?
          Changing up the "dosage" might be helpful. My goal is for the level to be "eyerolling easy" by year's end. That's how I know for sure they are ready for the next level. In writing, you can always improve. Working with the rubric (maybe someone can attach?) to focus on different areas for improvement each lesson is a way to break up monotony. Just some cursory thoughts...

          For reference, my oldest finished ref/con this spring and I'm tickled pink with his writing and the CC program.
          Festina lentē,
          Jessica P

          SY2019-2020 · 8th MP Year
          @ Home, HLN, & MPOA
          S · 10th, MPOA Henle 3
          D · 8th
          D · 5th
          S · 2nd

          Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

          Comment


            #6
            Re: If your kids hate imitation based writing...

            I should have explained better. We have not yet tried CC. I've only looked at samples. We did a sort of Mom-devised fable rewriting thing a few years go, a little WWE, and attempted a sample from CAP's writing and rhetoric which she hated. Then we did a very schoolish sort of workbook on paragraphs, which she hated, but completed about half of. I think sometimes I just expected too much with the narrations.

            If I needed to retell a story to my satisfaction, I would need to work it out in my head several times, or possibly write it out first, before telling it. (I am a writer myself, and often expect too much, or too little, or too something.) I think my kids take after me. Writing is actually a little easier than talking at times. Over the last year this particular child has responded badly to answering things out loud. (A big change from previous years. She doesn't like to write, but would frequently rather write an answer than say one. Her older bother was similar at this age - it doesn't bother him as much now.) I sometimes wonder if some children really don't benefit from all this oral work. Or maybe that's why I need to send more time on it, if it's especially hard for us?

            The swimming analogy was really helpful. Thank you. I'm reading all your responses and thinking it over. I have definitely given in too many times to complaints and tears over school work, hence the bad attitude. And after a new baby arrived this year, writing stopped all together, except for a rambling, serial story she wrote on her own. (Which she worked hard on, actually. But if I had suggested it, it probably wouldn't have happened.) So I've made a lot of my own troubles. I know whatever we do, I'll have to be very firm about it, but I want to get as close as I can to a good fit.

            Bean, I don't know what you mean about only using it at the start of the year. Could you elaborate on that?

            I'm hopeful that the variety of activities will make it less intimidating. (Writing and rhetoric and WWE didn't offer much help in my opinion.) But it occurred to me yesterday after I posted, that maybe I don't need a writing program for her this year. If we do the guides, there will be more writing than she is used to. Honestly, MP is going to be a big step up for her. I think she can do it, but she is not academically minded and this is going to challenge her. And there are sometimes writing assignments in the guides, yes? And there is some creative writing in Spelling Workout. (We already covered paragraphs and touched on outlining.) Maybe that would be a better route for her.

            Comment


              #7
              Re: If your kids hate imitation based writing...

              Sunset,

              Thank you for the additional information on your situation. I would not hesitate to get started with CC this year. Fable is a very gentle level, and it gets you going on the series. The real heart of the challenging work comes in at level III, so you don't want to put that off too long.

              Also, the great thing about CC with your specific concerns is that there are samples of most of the exercises in the teacher manual...so you can get an idea of what is reasonable. This does not include the narrations, but as a suggestion for that, I pretty much take whatever they give me at the beginning of the year, and try to gradually increase my expectations of them throughout the year. Wherever they are when they start is where they are. I don't fuss over anything they do in those first few lessons. I just try to encourage them to get better from that point as they go through the year. Baby steps, and all that.

              AMDG,
              Sarah
              2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
              DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
              DS, 16
              DD, 14
              DD, 12
              DD, 10
              DD, 7.5
              DD, 5.5
              +DS+
              DS, 18 months

              Comment


                #8
                Re: If your kids hate imitation based writing...

                We have tried numerous writing programs including CC Fable, IEW, and many others--some of them we've tried multiple times. The only one we've managed to stick with has been WWE & WWS from Well Trained Mind. She breaks everything down into baby steps and it's been very helpful for my more reluctant writers. I am still hanging onto my CC Fable books & DVD with the hopes that we can give it another try down the road after they've built more confidence in composing sentences and paragraphs.
                Holly,
                mom to:
                DD 16 & DS 13--8M
                DD 11 & DD 8--3A
                DS 4--jr. K

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: If your kids hate imitation based writing...

                  It's a beautiful Saturday morning here and I hope you are all out doing fun things today, but I was thinking more about this and thought I would like to elaborate, in case anyone has some ideas. I might use this program with my son next year anyway, so she would have an opportunity to try it either way.

                  What I expect to happen with Classical Composition and my daughter : I will go through the assignment with her and ask her to do it. She will then refuse outright to do it. (I will keep calm, because I will be resolved on this before hand. I will, I will...) I will offer to help, I will give suggestions, and try to walk her through it: she will get more upset. I will insist she do it. (i.e. you may not leave the table or go outside until this is done.) It will be the depths of despair. She will cry, (wail is a better word), for a good 45 minutes or so. If I stay really firm and don't give in, she will eventually do a really poor job. If she realizes the assignment is short and not that bad, she will do better next time. But it may get worse, (this has happened before.) The crying will last longer next time. The entire family's peace will be shattered for the day. She will have done a bad job at writing, learned to hate writing...etc.

                  We already have all these problems sporadically with math. But math, I know, must be done, in some form or other. (And translating latin sentences causes these problems too, which is why I'm thinking of switching to first form.) Writing too must be done, but it probably doesn't have to be done this way. Do you see what I mean? She is not a bad writer - she still needs plenty of instruction, but she's capable of doing this. There is no other method I've found that she consistently likes, but rewriting and narration have been the worst. At what point is this worth doing? I suppose only I can answer that, but as of yet, I have no answer!

                  I have Writing with Skill - I used it with my son for a while this year. (He's 12 now.) It taught him to do a written narration and a one level outline. (yea!) But the longer writing assignments bombed. I know there are boys who would love to write about Ivan the Terrible and use the eruption at Pompeii as a model, but my son hated this stuff. Too depressing. My daughter is much more sensitive and would never be able to handle this.

                  We tried All things Fun and Fascinating (no videos, just me trying to teach it) a couple of years ago - they both hated it the most. So I'm reluctant to try IEW. Rod and Staff is not well loved here either. (We like the grammar explanations, but the format is too crowded. My daughter in particular is very overwhelmed with too much print on the page.) At this point, any writing that doesn't make her completely shut down in resistance would be a good thing to me.

                  She told me once that she loves to write - except when it's a school assignment.

                  Any thoughts are welcome. If all else fails I guess I can just have her write in a journal everyday. I suppose it wouldn't damage her for life

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: If your kids hate imitation based writing...

                    Originally posted by sunset View Post
                    It's a beautiful Saturday morning here and I hope you are all out doing fun things today, but I was thinking more about this and thought I would like to elaborate, in case anyone has some ideas. I might use this program with my son next year anyway, so she would have an opportunity to try it either way.

                    What I expect to happen with Classical Composition and my daughter : I will go through the assignment with her and ask her to do it. She will then refuse outright to do it. (I will keep calm, because I will be resolved on this before hand. I will, I will...) I will offer to help, I will give suggestions, and try to walk her through it: she will get more upset. I will insist she do it. (i.e. you may not leave the table or go outside until this is done.) It will be the depths of despair. She will cry, (wail is a better word), for a good 45 minutes or so. If I stay really firm and don't give in, she will eventually do a really poor job. If she realizes the assignment is short and not that bad, she will do better next time. But it may get worse, (this has happened before.) The crying will last longer next time. The entire family's peace will be shattered for the day. She will have done a bad job at writing, learned to hate writing...etc.

                    We already have all these problems sporadically with math. But math, I know, must be done, in some form or other. (And translating latin sentences causes these problems too, which is why I'm thinking of switching to first form.) Writing too must be done, but it probably doesn't have to be done this way. Do you see what I mean? She is not a bad writer - she still needs plenty of instruction, but she's capable of doing this. There is no other method I've found that she consistently likes, but rewriting and narration have been the worst. At what point is this worth doing? I suppose only I can answer that, but as of yet, I have no answer!

                    I have Writing with Skill - I used it with my son for a while this year. (He's 12 now.) It taught him to do a written narration and a one level outline. (yea!) But the longer writing assignments bombed. I know there are boys who would love to write about Ivan the Terrible and use the eruption at Pompeii as a model, but my son hated this stuff. Too depressing. My daughter is much more sensitive and would never be able to handle this.

                    We tried All things Fun and Fascinating (no videos, just me trying to teach it) a couple of years ago - they both hated it the most. So I'm reluctant to try IEW. Rod and Staff is not well loved here either. (We like the grammar explanations, but the format is too crowded. My daughter in particular is very overwhelmed with too much print on the page.) At this point, any writing that doesn't make her completely shut down in resistance would be a good thing to me.

                    She told me once that she loves to write - except when it's a school assignment.

                    Any thoughts are welcome. If all else fails I guess I can just have her write in a journal everyday. I suppose it wouldn't damage her for life

                    What you're describing -- the way it extends in some part to other subjects -- sounds like more than a writing issue. Has she been evaluated for learning challenges? At the very least, it sounds like her overwhelm isn't limited to cluttered pages, but rather to other work that she feels (for one reason or another) is beyond her. I have children who are like this as well -- we've had the exact same interactions you describe, complete with tantrums, crumpled papers and the addition of turned over chairs. The triggers for my kids' overwhelm range from:

                    1. physical discomfort with writing because of poor muscle tone
                    2. not being able to see each step clearly in their mind so it ends up blending into one giant blur
                    3. feeling like it will take forever (often related to other triggers)
                    4. not being academically and/or emotionally ready to do an assignment on their own without at-elbow support throughout all portions of it; lack of confidence can play a role here as well

                    A couple of things that might help:

                    1. Do each part of the lesson AND its assignments together. Stay by her side and coach her through it, asking very specific questions to guide her
                    2. Gradually (only after she is COMPLETELY and consistently established/confident working in the subject), begin taking a one or two minute break to do something else, while she continues working.
                    3. When she's doing really well with that, increase your time away in small increments; but maintain that one-on-one time at the beginning of every lesson and the beginning of every day's assignment for that lesson

                    One tip I've learned the hard way is to never tell them "This is easy. You can do it." For whatever reason, it's not easy for them and when we tell them it is or that it should be, it kills their confidence even more, which in turn leads to more frustration/refusal to work because they don't really know how else to solve the problem (they're kids): "Everyone says this is easy. There must be something wrong with me. Well, fine, I just won't do it at all. Problem solved."

                    Another thing to consider would be Memoria's Simply Classical Writing Book Two. It would help fill in any hidden skill gaps that may be killing her confidence with academic writing.
                    Last edited by jen1134; 06-30-2018, 09:37 AM.
                    Jennifer
                    Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

                    DS16
                    MP: Lit 10, VideoText Algebra
                    MPOA: High School Comp. II
                    HSC: Spanish I, Conceptual Physics, Modern European History, and electives

                    DS15
                    MP: Biology, Lit 10, VideoText Algebra, Greek Tragedies
                    MPOA: High School Comp. II, Fourth Form Latin
                    HSC: Modern European History

                    DS12
                    7M with:
                    Second Form Latin, EGR III, and HSC for US History

                    DS11
                    SC Level 4

                    DD9
                    3A, with First Form Latin (long story!)

                    DD7/8
                    Still in SC Level 2

                    DD 4/5
                    SC Level C

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: If your kids hate imitation based writing...

                      Originally posted by jen1134 View Post
                      What you're describing -- the way it extends in some part to other subjects -- sounds like more than a writing issue. Has she been evaluated for learning challenges? At the very least, it sounds like her overwhelm isn't limited to cluttered pages, but rather to other work that she feels (for one reason or another) is beyond her. I have children who are like this as well -- we've had the exact same interactions you describe, complete with tantrums, crumpled papers and the addition of turned over chairs. The triggers for my kids' overwhelm range from:

                      1. physical discomfort with writing because of poor muscle tone
                      2. not being able to see each step clearly in their mind so it ends up blending into one giant blur
                      3. feeling like it will take forever (often related to other triggers)
                      4. not being academically and/or emotionally ready to do an assignment on their own without at-elbow support throughout all portions of it; lack of confidence can play a role here as well

                      A couple of things that might help:

                      1. Do each part of the lesson AND its assignments together. Stay by her side and coach her through it, asking very specific questions to guide her
                      2. Gradually (only after she is COMPLETELY and consistently established/confident working in the subject), begin taking a one or two minute break to do something else, while she continues working.
                      3. When she's doing really well with that, increase your time away in small increments; but maintain that one-on-one time at the beginning of every lesson and the beginning of every day's assignment for that lesson

                      One tip I've learned the hard way is to never tell them "This is easy. You can do it." For whatever reason, it's not easy for them and when we tell them it is or that it should be, it kills their confidence even more, which in turn leads to more frustration/refusal to work because they don't really know how else to solve the problem (they're kids): "Everyone says this is easy. There must be something wrong with me. Well, fine, I just won't do it at all. Problem solved."

                      Another thing to consider would be Memoria's Simply Classical Writing Book Two. It would help fill in any hidden skill gaps that may be killing her confidence with academic writing.
                      I was thinking the same thing. It might actually just be TOO hard? A lower level (or delaying) might be a good option to fill any gaps and gain confidence?
                      Christine

                      (2019/2020)
                      DD1 8/23/09 - SC5/6
                      DS2 9/1/11 - SC3,4, 5/6 combo
                      DD3 2/9/13 -SC2 to start, MP1 second semester

                      Previous Years
                      DD 1 (MPK, SC2 (with AAR), SC3, SC4’
                      DS2 (SCB, SCC, MPK, SC2)
                      DD3 (SCA, SCB, Jr. K workbooks, soaking up from the others, MPK)

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: If your kids hate imitation based writing...

                        Jen’s points are really good. Definitely keep those in mind.

                        Also, I have done IEW also and it was not our favorite either. Honestly, the Fable exercises really are not that long and not that involved. Early on, they really don’t take that long. If you do them as assigned, and let your early expectations be really low, she may realize that it’s not so bad. The fables are not at all like a lot of the longer pieces from WWE. They are all very very short and very simple - which really does make it easier to retell. And the retelling, or the narrations, are only done on day one, day three, and day 8 of the lessons. The other five days are other things to do.

                        But even with that, yes, in the early days of this, with a really reluctant child, I would not hesitate to jump in there and “do it” yourself first, as a model. Whether or not she tries it herself - be patient on that. But if you go through a lesson (2 weeks) or two (4weeks), or even three (6 weeks), modeling it for her, she will eventually start to recognize what you are doing, realize there are not going to be any surprises, and she might feel like giving it a try herself. Remember, if she were in a classroom, there would be other children she could see doing it long before she might get called on to try it. You may need to be those “other children” for a while to help her get comfortable.

                        My kids always have certain exercises they really don’t like doing. And those are the ones where I jump in every time, usually trying to do something ridiculous so they lighten up about the whole thing, get them giggling, and then either call it a day (because at least she paid attention) or see if she wants to try it.

                        But I am with you on not wanting to make this a battle. So don’t. Don’t make it be something she has to do “or else.” Make it something you plan to do, that she can sit with you and observe, hopefully making it funny, and let it sink in a bit for her. Eventually, my guess will be that she will forget to feel pressured and might want to try it.

                        AMDG,
                        Sarah
                        2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
                        DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
                        DS, 16
                        DD, 14
                        DD, 12
                        DD, 10
                        DD, 7.5
                        DD, 5.5
                        +DS+
                        DS, 18 months

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: If your kids hate imitation based writing...

                          Originally posted by KF2000 View Post
                          Jen’s points are really good. Definitely keep those in mind.

                          Also, I have done IEW also and it was not our favorite either. Honestly, the Fable exercises really are not that long and not that involved. Early on, they really don’t take that long. If you do them as assigned, and let your early expectations be really low, she may realize that it’s not so bad. The fables are not at all like a lot of the longer pieces from WWE. They are all very very short and very simple - which really does make it easier to retell. And the retelling, or the narrations, are only done on day one, day three, and day 8 of the lessons. The other five days are other things to do.

                          But even with that, yes, in the early days of this, with a really reluctant child, I would not hesitate to jump in there and “do it” yourself first, as a model. Whether or not she tries it herself - be patient on that. But if you go through a lesson (2 weeks) or two (4weeks), or even three (6 weeks), modeling it for her, she will eventually start to recognize what you are doing, realize there are not going to be any surprises, and she might feel like giving it a try herself. Remember, if she were in a classroom, there would be other children she could see doing it long before she might get called on to try it. You may need to be those “other children” for a while to help her get comfortable.

                          My kids always have certain exercises they really don’t like doing. And those are the ones where I jump in every time, usually trying to do something ridiculous so they lighten up about the whole thing, get them giggling, and then either call it a day (because at least she paid attention) or see if she wants to try it.

                          But I am with you on not wanting to make this a battle. So don’t. Don’t make it be something she has to do “or else.” Make it something you plan to do, that she can sit with you and observe, hopefully making it funny, and let it sink in a bit for her. Eventually, my guess will be that she will forget to feel pressured and might want to try it.

                          AMDG,
                          Sarah
                          Sarah, I love what you shared here! Not the OP, but I can tell you my son is going to benefit greatly from your words. I never even considered treating writing this way (by modeling it first and keeping it lighthearted). I have a feeling that this is going to improve our experience with CC this year! Thank you!
                          2018/2019
                          Dd 12: MP 7A and First Form Greek
                          Ds 10: MP 5M
                          Ds 5: MP K

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Re: If your kids hate imitation based writing...

                            Originally posted by jen1134 View Post
                            What you're describing -- the way it extends in some part to other subjects -- sounds like more than a writing issue. Has she been evaluated for learning challenges? At the very least, it sounds like her overwhelm isn't limited to cluttered pages, but rather to other work that she feels (for one reason or another) is beyond her. I have children who are like this as well -- we've had the exact same interactions you describe, complete with tantrums, crumpled papers and the addition of turned over chairs. The triggers for my kids' overwhelm range from:

                            1. physical discomfort with writing because of poor muscle tone
                            2. not being able to see each step clearly in their mind so it ends up blending into one giant blur
                            3. feeling like it will take forever (often related to other triggers)
                            4. not being academically and/or emotionally ready to do an assignment on their own without at-elbow support throughout all portions of it; lack of confidence can play a role here as well

                            A couple of things that might help:

                            1. Do each part of the lesson AND its assignments together. Stay by her side and coach her through it, asking very specific questions to guide her
                            2. Gradually (only after she is COMPLETELY and consistently established/confident working in the subject), begin taking a one or two minute break to do something else, while she continues working.
                            3. When she's doing really well with that, increase your time away in small increments; but maintain that one-on-one time at the beginning of every lesson and the beginning of every day's assignment for that lesson

                            One tip I've learned the hard way is to never tell them "This is easy. You can do it." For whatever reason, it's not easy for them and when we tell them it is or that it should be, it kills their confidence even more, which in turn leads to more frustration/refusal to work because they don't really know how else to solve the problem (they're kids): "Everyone says this is easy. There must be something wrong with me. Well, fine, I just won't do it at all. Problem solved."

                            Another thing to consider would be Memoria's Simply Classical Writing Book Two. It would help fill in any hidden skill gaps that may be killing her confidence with academic writing.
                            Thank you so much for this post. It's hard to admit that one's home school is not full of happy, smiling faces - it is very helpful to know that others are dealing with this same kind of thing. She is my only girl and is so different from her brothers, so I think that makes her own unique challenges seem that much harder, since she's the only one dealing with them. I will need to try and be mindful of all these things this year. She used to want me with her during school all the time, but this year she really changed and started asking me to leave her alone when she was frustrated. (We school at the kitchen table, so she is never really alone...) But what you say about telling them how easy it is...I am so guilty of that. Thinking about it reminded me that I told my daughter this year that she needed to work more independently and that's what the kids in regular school do. But I never meant to suggest she ought to do it ALL herself. I will talk to her about this and see if her expectations of herself are off.

                            Not emotionally ready is probably a big culprit. She can make a salad, climb a tree or fry an egg, (and happy to do so), but she hates sleeping alone at night and is always asking for a hug, and seeming in need of reassurance. (Which, to be perfectly honest, drives me nuts, because I have three other little boys who need reassurance and hugs all the time). But I don't know that I really connected all this as one problem. Or, maybe I shouldn't call it a problem. Because I think of it as a problem, but it isn't really a problem to be emotional immature - we don't expect maturity of children, do we? But she absolutely needs to grow in this area. A lot. Thank you again for your practical suggestions on this. I myself have a hard time breaking a task into baby steps sometimes, (she is absolutely her mother's daughter), so it helps to have someone else break it down for me!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Re: If your kids hate imitation based writing...

                              Originally posted by howiecram View Post
                              I was thinking the same thing. It might actually just be TOO hard? A lower level (or delaying) might be a good option to fill any gaps and gain confidence?
                              I thought this was the problem too, but she got very frustrated when I tried to back up to sentences and paragraphs and copywork again. Then she started writing this story on her own, with complete sentences and indented paragraphs and decent punctuation - she still has a lot to practice and to learn, but she is definitely ready to move on. I just haven't figured out how yet.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X