May 29, 2009

Lesson Completed -

Our proverbs lesson "April Showers Bring May Flowers" was completed this morning and I think the lesson that I needed to learn was completed as well. The title alone could not have been more perfect to me. We started this a while ago and at the time had no idea where it was going to lead us, so I thought I would share the incredible results that have come from this very simple art project.

I have expressed how much KM disliked the process of writing many times here on my blog and in real life to nearly anyone I can think of, so when I was looking into curriculum choices for next year I decided to speak to my all-time favorite homeschool guru, who also happens to be a published writer and has a daughter who received a perfect score on the written part of the SAT, so I felt she surely would have some incredibly wise words of wisdom for me and sure enough she did.

After a long discussion of what the situation was and how KM behaved when given any sort of writing assignment, we came to the conclusion that she was self-editing in her head as she was writing and this was causing her to be blocked right from the get-go. She was so worried that it wasn't going to come out perfectly the first time that she wrote something down on paper that she just wasn't able to cohesively express herself through the written word. So my guru gave me some tips and exercises to try.

The first suggestion that really made sense to me was to have her write for two minutes - either giving her a prompt, word or whatever - she was to just write for the full two minutes whatever came into her head. She shouldn't stop, erase, correct anything, worry about punctuation, spelling or anything else. She just had to have pen to paper for a full two minutes. Well this made so much sense to me, if she was not worried about it being corrected it should alleviate the blocks. So we started doing this every few days using the proverbs that we had written out for our April Showers Bring May Flowers project. It worked like a charm. KM would pick a proverb from the bag, think about it for a minute and then I would set the timer for 2 minutes. She would just write and write and write, what she thought the proverbs meant. There were times when the timer went off and she wanted to continue writing. It was as if I had another child sitting there with a pencil in hand.

The results have baffled me. Although of course they are not perfect grammatically or content wise, she has written down at least 3 to 4 sentences each time. There have been no complaints, arguments, or begrudging stares. The more we have done it, the more she grabs a new proverb out of the bag in the morning and wants to do it.

She is growing so much and truly becoming an independent learner. She is very happy to take the books and go. She wants to be able to learn these things on her own without someone hovering over her. When she has a set assignment she is completing it with no problem. Who is this child? How can this be the same individual that I had to stand over and watch her complete every word she wrote down to make sure it was done - just a year and a half ago? She is not the same child. She is a homeschooler, even better a home learner now. She truly enjoys learning and wants to find out more about EVERYTHING!

So this morning when she grabbed the last proverb out of the bag, it literally brought tears to my eyes...
One today is worth two tomorrows.

This is one of my favorite proverbs, the truest to my heart. You must cherish today because tomorrow may not come. You must love life for it can be taken away in an instant. You must enjoy the time that you have with your family because they could be gone at any moment. Though I do not want to live in constant fear of losing everyone or of tomorrow never coming, it is good to remember those that I have lost in order to remind myself that I need to cherish the people that I have in my life while they are hear.

I cannot tell you how proud I am of her accomplishments. I can tell you the joy that I feel in my heart when I see her completing a project and suddenly the light goes off in her brain. She got it! Something made the concept click and now she truly understands it. She does not remember long enough to complete the test and then proceed to dump it to learn the next information, she truly and completely is becoming educated! Every day that I spend with her I learn more about her and myself. I am truly grateful this path that we have chosen has brought us to such an incredible place.
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