for some reason, i've always felt rather wobbly about the *teaching my children to write* part of home education. oh i'm ohk with the handwriting/spelling/grammar/
inspired? me neither.
of course i repliKATEd the classroom when i first started home educating. so we got blood out of a stone with "i went to the zoo. i saw a lion and it said rawr..." but blow me down, when Danny was about eight i fortuitously (love that word) came across a loidy called Charlotte Mason, who had this fabulous idea that we don't bovver with any formal written language until the child is around ten to thirteen, when after years of being immersed in wonderful literature, the child's lights will come on and fabulous prose will just flow out of them in the style of all the wonderful authors that they've been reading for all their infant years.
i'll buy that for a dollar.
so we left the formal written language stuff for a few years and just concentrated on reading beautiful books, classical books, rich in history and language. we talked about books, we lived and breathed books.
and guess what? Charlotte is right.
Woozie has been at school for nearly three years now. she had half a day off yesterday. well most of a day off. she'd been given a history project by this fabulous teacher and it has really captivated her - so much so that she sat at the pooter for four hours and finished her epic 7300 word linen-bound diary of a girl moving from Ireland to New Zealand during 1881, playing various Mamma Mia songs and creating prose in the style of Jane Austin, one of her favourite authors. her diary has a cleverly-woven plot with lovely little intricacies of learning to embroider, making dolls, and there's even a bread recipe! Woozie has aged the pages by soaking them in tea, and sewed them together at the spine. it looks real. i feel like i really know Francesca Barclay, a fifteen year old girl who was just a name that Woozie lifted from a passenger list on The Lady Jocelyn, the emigrating ship.
it made my heart sing to hear her beautiful alto as she poured her heart onto the the pages, cos i wondered if i'd sold the big kids short by not being so teachery.
it seems so obvious: fill and fill and fill these children up and one day *splash!* their cups shall runneth over...
(so i'm hoping that my little lads' sense of creativity won't be squashed by being in a classroom next year. i hope their teachers give them room to breathe and move and be boys. cos we've been practising our handwriting, but Mouse is still at the "i went to the zoo. i saw a lion and it said rawr..." phase (although he uses capitals) and Sam prefers to dictate his ideas and i write 'em down. which is fine if there is one mummy and a coupla kids...
uh, no prob's with Charlie - his dam has already burst.)