Saturday, June 25, 2011

Leaving the Room

Today we finished Scott Foresman Free Grammar & Writing Unit 1.

It was a struggle, as English is my son's second language, but we did it!

I'm not afraid to admit that I like workbooks, especially for grammar. That my son learn to write decently is essential to me. I remember having workbooks in 3rd grade and learning very quickly from them. Creative writing is just as important, but no matter how creative you are, if your grammar is bad, readers just won't take you very seriously.

Not that I'm a spectacular writer but, knowing how to write well has allowed me to: get what I wanted; help other people get what they wanted; get money for social projects; get money for my art; and, most importantly, express myself in an often more effective form of communication (for me) than the spoken word.

Thing is, I was writing 20-page illustrated stories by the time I was my son´s age. I kept a diary. Wrote letters (yes, actual letters on paper - we didn't have computers at home back then). Wrote my auto-biography... I loved to write when I was his age, but he starts blanking out after the first sentence.

So, I've been putting a lot of pressure on him.

What changed today?
I left the room. When he saw me leaving, he started to freak out - he´s used to having me looking over his shoulder as he writes in English, and helping him with the spelling. I told him not to worry about it. He responded "but it will have too many spelling mistakes and you'll get mad."

I kissed him on the cheek and told him that if he didn't make spelling mistakes, we wouldn't know which words to work on, that I was really sorry if I had ever gotten mad about it, and I left the room.

The Unit was a build-up towards writing an interesting paragraph - correct punctuation, organizing ideas, using details... and, he wrote not one, but three paragraphs about a trip we took last year. I actually shed a couple of happy tears when he read it out loud with a strong, proud voice. I love this kid! He teaches me so much more than I will ever be able to teach him.

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