At the beginning of this school year, I was a bit concerned about where my two elementary aged children were, regarding their comprehension of basic math skills. I did what has turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever done as a homeschooling parent–I asked for help.
Our tutor turned friend turned family was a huge gift. She gave our Princess what she needed to be able to approach math with a different attitude–a “can do” attitude. And I am thankful.
So while I am still very focused on math and practice practice practice, I have shifted my concern over to writing. Both in content and in handwriting. *sigh* We have a lot of issues around here.
While they both love to tell stories, and they both are avid readers, when it comes to writing those stories down, well–the motivation factor seems to be *ahem* missing.
So I’ve been encouraging more creative writing, especially with our Princess. She has a workbook that we get writing prompts and activities from. We choose one together and she works on it on her own.
On Wednesday, she had a list of twelve words–nothing spectacular–and she was to write a sentence or two about each one. Mailbox was one word. I think flower was another. Pretty basic words. She did this task without too much gnashing of teeth, and I was pleased. The next day the assignment was to pick one of those words and write about 200 words–anything having to do with the subject.
And then it was meltdown mode.
“Mama I can’t think of another thing to say about any one of those words!” she said, adding in a bit of whine for good luck.
Oh me. I decided to take a different tactic than the one that came to mind first. Raising my voice and telling her to sit down and think probably wouldn’t be good for getting the creative juices flowing.
“Okay, fine. I will give you a subject, and you can write whatever you want to about it, okay? At least half a page or longer, okay?”
She nodded through her frustrated tears.
I thought for a minute. “Okay, Aunt’s. You can write anything about being there or anything having to do with her place. Got it?” I wondered if she’d write about picking vegetables from the garden or playing with her cousins or our yearly family get together there.
She smiled. “Can I write about the Easter Egg Hunt?” It was on her mind since it was coming up soon.
“Sure,” I said, relieved. Now we were getting somewhere. There would be a lot she could write about.
A few minutes later, she came back. “Mama, how ’bout I draw a picture instead of writing about it? I will go get the paper now, and it will look great…..” She started to go after her art supplies.
“Wait. What? No. Nonono. You are not going to draw a picture. You have to write about it.”
She turned back around. And smiled. While she can be the sweetest and most tender-hearted child most of the time, she has these moments of pre-teendom that make me worry about the future. This was one of those moments. I saw the glint in her eye, and I wondered what was coming.
“Well, Mama, they say a picture is worth a thousand words. And since you only asked me to write 200 or so, I’d really be doing more than you asked.” And then she smiled. Knowingly.
Y’all, I may wind up with more than one of my offspring becoming a lawyer. I mean, really? #Loophole.
She began to giggle, and I couldn’t help but laugh too. Unfortunately, contrary to what she thought, my laughter did not equate to letting her off the hook.
She wrote her story. She decided to interview everyone in our family and ask them what their favorite thing was about the Easter Egg Hunt/Wienie Roast/Family Hootenanny.
It turned out pretty good too. She used complete sentences and proper capitalization and her reporting was spot on. While more than one said the hot dogs were their favorite part, it was usually paired with being with family. Her big sister threw in that her favorite part was sneaking our Princess’ Nerds from her Easter basket. (Princess correctly used parentheses to note “I’m going to get her!”)
But what really got me, and what told me that no matter what her calling in life is our Princess will always have that same tender heart, were her closing words:
“For me it’s seeing everybody happy.”
Oh baby girl. Me too.
(And just for the record, she was wrong. There’s no picture that could have been worth more than those six words right there.)
May you all have a ray of sunshine around to remind you of the important things in life.
Love to all.