Thursday, March 31, 2011
Hope for the Reluctant Writer After All
So my homeschool plan has been to delay teaching certain skills until my kids are old enough to grasp it quickly and effectively. However when that time came for my older son, we were dealing with his visual processing disorder treatment and he somehow went directly to the 'reluctant writer' category.
So here we are now with him in eighth grade. My son is working on a merit badge doing a class with a merit badge counselor. For the second class (of three) he was sick with fever and just diagnosed with an ear infection and was just starting antibiotics so he missed the meeting. I told him to do all the work that was not yet done before the next/last class. He didn't know what was missed versus what was planned for the last class so he did everything but one writing assignment.
He wanted the badge done and over with so he worked independently after I reminded him the deadline was looming. He went to the last meeting and was directed to do a written piece as one of the last things to do.
The assignment was to research and write about a specific career in meteorology. In all honesty it was a career I'd never even heard of and it was not easy to find the information which had to include details about the education for that job.
It took my son about two hours to research all over the Internet and find the answers then to write it out. The merit badge counselor is a grade 11 and 12 science teacher in a public high school. I don't know what her take on homeschooling is but I know that town is currently going after one family who pulled their kids out of public school in order to begin homeschooling. The school staff in the different schools in that town has a history of going after the families who withdraw their children to begin homeschooling.
I told my son he'd better do a good job on the writing since she's a teacher there and that presently the school is going after a homeschool family. I said what she sees of his work will give her an impression and an opinion of homeschooling and it had better be a good one. He didn't like hearing of what seems like us to be an abuse of power and he didn't like the idea of people having a negative impression of homeschoolers.
He declared he was finished writing, without any writing help from me. To be honest I had low expectations.
I checked his writing and there were no spelling or grammar mistakes. I almost gasped. He had also followed her directions to use one of two fonts of her choosing plus to make the font 12 point and to do one page.
I was impressed with his ability to write. The content was NOT plagarized, I verified that. I was surprised at the writing so looked at the readability score and it rated at grade 11.7 with the Flesch Kinkaid rating that Microsoft Word uses. I couldn't believe it. The kid wrote three years above grade level!
I guess there is hope for my reluctant writer, dyslexia-symptom, dysgraphia symptom kid after all.
The other night at the Scout Troop meeting the counselor came with the papers. Due to a mix-up in communication we found out my son has one more thing to do that he missed out on doing when he was not at the meeting back when he was sick.
The teacher/counselor told our Scoutmasters that she was impressed with my son's initiative to have come to the last meeting with a lot of work already finished rather than showing up empty handed. She also wrote "Well done!" on his paper (just like a teacher does). (Being homeschooled he is not used to that kind of feedback.). Lastly she told the leaders that she was impressed with his writing and instead of giving a 5 minute talk to the Troop about safety in certain storm emergencies, which he missed at that meeting, she would take a written piece from him on that topic instead.