I recently had an opportunity to talk to a fellow homeschool mom about her fears of teaching her daughter to write. She has looked at all the Georgia Performance Standard with all their educational lingo and has had a sudden onset of fear. I can totally relate to this newbie homeschooler. I remember being so afraid that I couldn’t teach T to read. I would often say, “If I can teach him to read I think I can teach him everything else.” After T quickly mastered reading my fears soon changed to the fear of teaching him how to write effectively. I didn’t know anything about GPS or QCC or whatever standards were being used at the time and had no way of knowing what level of performance was acceptable for children at certain ages. So, that became my source of fear. Am I pushing him enough or expecting too much for a child of his age?
Long story short–the son that I so worried I would not be able to teach the art of writing is strongly considering a journalism or creative writing major. He is taking a creative writing course this semester and came home two weeks ago and spent every waking moment he wasn’t working on writing a 12 page short story. Last weekend he came home with the short stories of many of his classmates with the assignment of critiquing them. As he read the essays of his peers he began to doubt the strength and beauty of his own writing. “My story is ordinary. My characters are boring. I should have chosen another storyline.” I had read his story and thought it was beautifully written and assured him that this first draft had a lot of potential. This weekend he returned to tell me that his instructor loved his story, thought it was one of the best first drafts she had ever read, and assured him that he would have no trouble getting it published when he was finished revising it.
Although I cannot take full credit for his ability to write well, I was the one who laid the foundation. I can’t help but beam with pride every time he brings in a new book, goes to hear and author speak, or I see him curled up with a good book just for the fun of it. I did that. I taught him to read, helped him create a love and passion for reading that surpasses my own, and started him on the writing path that ended with him seeking to be a published author someday. While attending traditional school he was blessed to have a few really good teachers that recognized his potential and helped him to reach the point he is today. I am so proud of my talented son and am grateful to God that He allowed me to be the one to teach him to read and write among many other things. He won’t admit it often but the homeschool life created a spark for learning that still burns in him today. Who else but a homeschooler follows the Iditarod, chooses a rookie and a veteran musher and follows them daily to check their progress? Oh, how I love my T.