Saturday, January 24, 2009

Fine (?) Motor and Writing

I started to write a response to a comment asking if Gunnar likes to write, but thought I'd make a post about it... in sympathy with other moms of boys.

NO, he does not like to write. None of the boys do. At least, not for "school".

Well, to be fair, Wyatt likes to write when the topic is his choice - like journal writing - and I'm not being picky about "GPS" (Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling). But really, it's all about Fine Motor skills.

While they'll play with Legos and build incredibly complex inventions, they have very little patience for doing nit-picky fine motor stuff... like writing. Neatly.

Back when I was getting ready to begin homeschooling , I went and observed/interviewed several of my homeschooling friends. One of my really helpful friends highly recommended a program called "Spell to Write and Read". (Notice the sequence there?)

She explained how it worked, and it all made a lot of sense. Sounded great. Simple. Very organized and sequential. Totally appealed to my brain. And she was having great success with this.

With her three girls.

Thankfully, I thought that through before launching into it, because it would've been a disaster for my boys. That particular program starts with writing and spelling and then progresses to reading.

Well, that is exactly backwards to how my boys have learned. Their comprehension and creative thinking have always been way, way out in front of their fine motor ability - like their ability to write legibly.

So this is my dilemma, almost daily. Of course they need to write, spell, read, and learn grammar. They need adequately neat penmanship. We practice all these things.

But when an idea strikes them, and the light of understanding glows on their faces, and they're bursting with something they want to express, and they have to write it down... frustration hits. Their hands can't possibly keep up with their racing minds.

So we struggle.

When - which times - should I make them write it "all on their own"? How much help should I give? When are the ideas more important than the mechanics of writing, and I should let them dictate to me? When I do let them dictate, should I make them rewrite it, themselves, for practice? Or just print it out on the computer?



Deborah said...

Arrrrgggghhhh here too!

leahlefler said...

Being one of the rare girls with penmanship issues (oh, the horror of those dittos with practice letters on them), I find it easy to sympathize with the boys! Trust me, they're just future doctors or scientists in training, lol. All kidding aside, their writing may eventually improve in high school (it did with me). Then again, it may not (thank goodness my husband only has to type on the job)!

Maybe one of those neat calligraphy kits would spark an interest- complete with old-school ink well and quill pen. Or a study of Chinese calligraphy. Sigh... I am thankful for the ability to type every day!

Denise Portis said...

My son didn't start writing "well" until about 9th grade. I thought I was going to lose my "marbles" as my husband and I both love to write. (And I won't mention that my daughter began writing and ENJOYING it at a much younger age) But I won't belly-ache as he did eventually learn to write well. Now as a junior in H.S. he writes very well and still maintains a sense of humor as well.

Julie said...

So, there is hope :0)

Stretch Mark Mama said...

Oh! I am RIGHT THERE with you! Oh, the whole writing experience is p-a-i-n-f-u-l. Someone told me recently (another homeschool mom who used to teach in the public school) that boys do not even START to write well (as in, fine motor control) until age 8.

My 7YO is still writing in mostly caps with an occasional lowercase letter stuck in for good measure. And he hates to write on the lined paper, so he'll grab some blank scrap paper and write all meandery over that. And when he doesn't like the way a letter looks, he just scribbles it out! Of course! So most of his assignments look like this:


Last year was so stressful w/ the "writing" expectations I had, so I'm taking it easier this year. Drives Hubs nuts, though. But I'm all like ONE MOMMY, ONE NERVE.