One of my current homeschool goals for Violet is to lessen the emphasis on math for a while and give her some encouragement to develop her critical reading and writing skills further. She’s a little down on “school,” which I can understand. I’d be down on someone trying to get me to expend so much energy on advanced math when I had both passion and talent for stuff like writing and languages. (More on that mix-up another day.)
King Arthur’s Academy: Descriptive and Narrative Writing Exercises is a workbook I picked up at the Prufrock booth back at the NAGC conference, so long ago. I had forgotten about it, but I thought this little period of February doldrums would be the perfect time to pull it out.
Violet is very excited. Today her assignment was to write a letter of application; the next assignment is to write a reply to her letter of acceptance. The writing prompts give some suggestions for how to proceed (e.g., “think about what good qualities you could bring to the school”), but they are also very open-ended. There’s a lot of drawing prompts too. The whole “fantasy school” is right up her alley as a fan of Harry Potter, but I like that it’s not about wizards, which would probably encourage her to copy Hogwarts rather than stretch her imagination.
I’m using the workbook because I want her to write by hand. I think it’s more of a mental challenge (not to mention the neatness challenge) for her to write by hand — it forces her to think more about what she’s writing, because she’s going much more slowly than she could when she keyboards. We’re not abandoning keyboarding — not by a long shot! — but this fun theme is helping her make a willing effort to write longhand.
I had forgotten that we had times when I would announce a lesson and Violet would say “yay!” (For a while, we even had that with math — anything that was not long division was a “yay!”, but now long division is easy and she doesn’t have much interest in the complex problem solving strategies that are a focus of our current level.) We’ve been missing that for a lot of this winter. But this fun writing book — admittedly pitched a little below her ability level — seems to be bringing it back.