I am once again having a difficult time with our writing curriculum and I feel that I am at the point of no return. KM is not complaining and does seem to be gaining a good deal of confidence, so those are pluses, but I just really feel like every single writing program out there is so unadaptable. They all teach the same sorts of writing, but in different orders and completly disconnected from any actual content areas. None of it truly makes sense to me, so how on earth am I suppose to help her understand it.
I had decided over the summer to pull back on any structured writing books, we would use the essay response questions in STOW and SOS, to do content directed writing work. However by the time the fall session rolled around I had caved in. KM had mentioned that she had taken a look at one of her friend's Spectrum Writing books and thought it might help her improve her skills. I went online, found it and ordered it. This was my first mistake. If I was going to not do a structured program, why on earth did I order another workbook? Well she had asked for it, it was inexpensive and I thought well she is thinking about it, so maybe I should be taking it more seriously. This then led me to the oh, I can supplement with this and maybe that will also help add to it, which in turn takes you down that slippery curriculum overload slope.
As I have been looking at the 6 different middle school program books that I still have in my house for writing ~ I say still because I don't even want to think about the number that I actually had last spring when I cleaned out the homeschooling book cupboard ~ I came to the aforementioned realization of: “They are all the same and NONE of them make sense.” I then really began to think about how I go about writing something, not that I am an expert in this area by any means, but I do feel that I can get my point across when I put my mind to it....I know, I know, there are some ramblings here and there, but let's just ignore those! I managed to achieve a perfect score on my essays for the GED, had two papers published and never got lower than a B+ on a research or term paper in college, despite NEVER having passed a high school English class.
When I have an idea for a blog entry, I just type. I don't systematically plan things out. When I was in college I did the same thing. When I had to answer an essay question or had to write a research paper, I would just start writing. I would get out as much as I possibly could and then I would edit, move things around, change things here and there, and make it better, clearer, and more concise. I didn't do venn diagrams, writing process trees, story webs, or anything of the like. I just researched and typed. As I sit here right now, I am just typing.....no preset direction, other than to get my point across.
So why do I feel the need to have my daughter do all of these ridiculous things that I DON'T GET?
It is another one of those tapes that blares in my head. You know the ones I mean. The ones that say things like - “all kids should be in school”, “Kids should be seen and not heard”, “What do you mean there is no oversight?”, “WHAT ABOUT SOCIALIZATION?” We all have them. They all say different things for various reasons, be it culture, background, religious beliefs, or some other random reason. While I have managed to destroy most of these wretched thought patterns, some still seem to creep back in and get their tape around the spindals causing a cacophony of negative statements and ideas flooding into my ears and causing anxiety to spread through my entire being!
I am done. I will not be doing any more writing curriculums. Though I will keep the few writing resource books that we have around the house, things that cover grammar and research paper guidelines, I will be getting rid of all the curriculum guides and workbooks. I will encourage my child to express herself on paper and assist her in improving answers to open ended and essay questions in a manner that is clear and concise, but that is IT!