OBJECTIVE: To help children not only learn the mechanics of writing, but to help them love writing.
John Milton, who gave the world Paradise Lost, rejected the idea of school compositions,
calling it "forcing the empty wits of children to compose themes, verse and orations,
which are the acts of ripest judgment, and the final work of a head filled by long reading and observing."
"Wouldst thou write a living book thou first must live."
"I know of nothing which so tends to accuracy of thinking and self-expression as the writing habit. It increases one's vocabulary and one's facility of expression. The very act of writing a thing tends to fasten it upon the memory, to impress it, to clutch it in the mind."
--Orison Swett Marden
Outlines of Literature by John Drinkwater
My mother had/has the most beautiful penmanship. Her 95 year old eyes are fading and her arthritic hand is shaking, but she still carefully crafts everything she writes. When I was a little girl, I'd notice that when she was talking on the phone, she'd pull out a piece of scratch paper and start drawing circles and lines all over it. I was fascinated by it and copied what she was doing. Even today, I find myself doodling with the same circles and lines. Well, when I was looking for some penmanship books for fun in the old classic books, the first one that popped up was the Palmer method. And when I opened it up, there were all the familiar exercises from my childhood! After all these year, I finally understand what these doodles were all about. If you've ever wanted beautiful penmanship, and are willing to craft the art, I'm sure the Palmer method will get you there. Here's the book I found: The Palmer Method
Here are the top 6 handwriting picks of Jamie Martin at Simple Homeschooling.
X: 247-362 Survey of American Literature
Mother's Learning Library: Volume 9
There are 3 sections in this month's volume on Writing. First, I included an entire book with tips for young writers. Its approach is unlike any I have read anywhere else. While our modern approach is to focus on the mechanics of writing, this is a reminder that all great writing flows from the heart. Then I included a little book called 'Grammar-land' that teaches the parts of speech in a fun story-like way. It's a story you may want to share with your children or you can read it to clarify the parts of speech for yourself. Finally, I included Strunk's Elements of Style. This is the classic straightforward and to-the-point manual for writing well with a review of punctuation and other writing basics. It's not that the mechanics aren't important, it's that focusing on them too soon kills a love of writing before it takes root. E.B. White, who wrote Charlotte's Web, added some of his own suggestions in a later edition which can be read online, but it's not in public domain so I couldn't include it in this printed copy. And you will notice--rules have changed.
Just a word on spelling. OK, maybe more than a word. It seems as though the world is divided between those who can spell and those who can't. I am one of those people who can look at a word and determine if it's spelled correctly or not. I never had to study for spelling tests. Yet, I had friends who could practice and practice and practice and still miss the words on the spelling tests. Thankfully, spell check is a wonderful tool for the spelling challenged. There's no shame in using it! There is a story of Robert Louis Stevenson in this month's Stories of Great Writers book that reveals he was a horrible speller. But that didn't prevent him from sharing his huge heart with the rest of the world. So, if your child struggles with spelling, take heart! He is in good company. Don't stress over it.
Why Some Kids Can't Spell and Why Spelling Tests Won't Help
Why Stevie Can't Spell -- A professional writer sets out to find out why he can't spell. An insightful read.
There are spelling programs out there, but most children learn to spell through copy work and writing. I wouldn't give them random spelling lists... if they're able to learn by a list, let that list be of words they have misspelled in their writing.
Rachel deMille (a familiar name to many moms in this group) has had good success with this little book.