gratitude wrote:My ds9 (going into 3rd grade) says that the physical act of writing is still painful. I told him that perhaps he was holding his pencil too tight (his grip is correct). His response was that if he held it more loosely his handwriting would be sloppy instead of neat. It does take time to learn to write as fast as we can think, and this too I know is another part of the equation. He wants to be able to write it down neatly, at the speed he is thinking it, and he can not.
The physical pain from writing has been an issue since K. Each year I have had a different solution. In K we did handwriting for his letters once a day. All of his math, spelling, and phonics we did orally. For MFW1 he would take 2 to 4 days to copy his Proverb. I would set the timer and at the end of 10 minutes he was allowed to be done for the day. Usually he had completed 3 - 5 words in that 10 minutes. All of his math we did orally. He did write his spelling tests in the blue student note book. He dictated his Bible note book, and usually gave some pretty lengthy narrations as a result (more CM style for that age). Last year in 2nd grade I had him write everything. By the end of the year he went from loving school to hating school. Writing out math, ADV note book, PLL, and science was painful for him physically. I had him dictate one paragraph summary of a book he read and it was fabulous. So he can 'think' the sentences to write, but it hurts him to write it down and it is painstakingly slow for a kid whose brain and body moves at lightening speed.
What do I do? As the year looms ahead I am dreading this aspect to teaching him school. I think the other issue is I feel like I am holding back the development of his abilities due to the fact writing is painful for him to do. We accomplished about half the math last year by doing it with pencil instead of orally; yet doesn't he need to learn to do it with a pencil? I am also not helping him develop his writing abilities, that would take far too long with a pencil; yet he is ready for paragraph writing in his head. What do I do?
P.S. Julie, I saw a paragraph once on the board that your son wrote in 3rd grade, and he did not like pencils either. It was very good. Did he dictate that paragraph to you? Or, did he write it down? I don't think my son could physically write that much down in a single day. I bought him a squeeze ball to strengthen his fine motor muscles, but he still say the writing hurts. What did you do?
I'd have to check to be sure, but I can say with relative certainty -- he typed it.
My family is very computer-savvy and Reid has long known his way around a keyboard. He has never really used proper form. I had him do a proper typing program in about 3rd grade, but the next year I think it was, he "proved" to me that he didn't need to type in proper form, by finding an online speed test and beating the clock in typing the alphabet.
Over the years, sometimes even typing wore the poor pitiful boy out, so I'd take over for a while. It depended on my goals, but if I wanted him to keep going and the only thing holding him up was the typing, I might chip in. I'd be sure to type it as he said it, or I'd stop and act befuddled by what he'd told me to type when it was grammatically incorrect. I've even done this with my grandson on my lap, or in between dialysis machine alarms, so it isn't as time-consuming as it sounds.
I realize this isn't the way everyone chooses to do things, and I'm sure there are those with more success than I in developing writing endurance. I realize Reid has had a mom who is a bit wimpy being that (a) he's the last one, (b) he's had to put up with a sick dad, and (c) he's tolerated homeschool as my choice and not his. However, in defense of this kind of coddling
my other son, a very independent oldest, did have me type up some of his public school papers, and edit some of his college and even his early engineering work papers. I know another mom who typed all her daughter's college papers. Even back in my day, I occasionally was paid to type college papers for classmates. I also worked temp jobs during college for many executives who never used a pencil or a typewriter, or did so very poorly. So in my mind, the physical act of writing isn't the most important skill.
And I can reassure you that my youngest son who was coddled in this way was able to hand-write his timed, proctored college admission essay this spring (meaning he had to go in and hand-write the essay himself in front of a witness without any notes or other help), and it was accepted.
Lastly, I want to say that even though I didn't push the physical part of writing, I did push my son in the area of writing. Sometimes folks assume that if you do things orally or in other ways (marker boards etc), you are basically skipping through them, but for us it's been almost the opposite, often freeing up more time to delve further. Probably the student is spending less time thinking things thru on his own, but he's spending more time picking the brain of an adult, so I think it comes out at least even, educationally?
P.S. Yesterday at Reid's college orientation, they mentioned that some kids even take notes using a laptop, rather than a pencil...