Sunday, August 30, 2009

Growing Good Writers

I just finished listening to the speech given by Andrew Pudewa for Heart of the Matter's Online Conference. The conference was a few weeks ago, but the registration fee included MP3s of all the speakers. I am slowly but surely making my way through the speakers and feel that this one may just have revolutionized my homeschooling approach.
Mr. Pudewa is the director for the Institute for Excellence in Writing. I will be researching this program more fully, but there are a few points that his presentation brought up that feel like amazing "ah-ha" moments for me!! There have been a few moments (too few, probably) that I have felt God's immediate nudge, directing me in this homeschooling adventure. I am convinced that I need to slow down more and seek that direction more often. This is one of those nudges! To sum up Mr. Pudewa's points that I will be thinking about and probably posting about in more depth:

-Reading aloud to children in large quantities and increasingly complex quality is the best way to help them develop sophisticated language. When children hear good literature read to them their comprehension increases as well. They develop a resource from which to draw when they are communicating and writing. They will be able to use more sophisticated language when they have a better resource. (He pointed out that many children only have the language they hear in media as their primary resource for language used for communication and writing.) 2 hours a day of reading aloud would not be too much!

-The other way to build their resource is for them to memorize: poetry, scripture and speeches. He said that it is vital to memorize and to continue to review the memorized pieces.

This is a link to his article that contains most of the presentation that I listened to today.

I am left thinking that I have been drifting toward "busy work" and leaving off some essential things that are easier. i.e. "Do this worksheet," instead of really focusing on learning something. I am going to really examine our routine, our day, and see how we can fit in more reading aloud. I did not realize the importance of memorization. Now that I have heard why it is important I am asking myself if I can muster up the diligence to memorize and require my students to memorize! I will be seeking God's grace and strength for that one!
It seems I am constantly discovering ways in which I need more diligence!


Mommy Reg said...

I got to see Andrew Pudewa last year for three workshops and we bought the other one we missed at the homeschool conference. I love him!
We memorize Bible verses mostly. I have a hard time memorizing poetry only because the only practical application I can put it to is quoting Keats while rowing in a canoe in a man made pond in the middle of nowhere with my sweetheart. lol
I was thinking of adding hymns to our list of memory this year.
My girls love Sense and Sensibility. I read the Narnia series to the kids a few years back and went from there. :)
Do you know what you guys are going to memorize yet? Or read?

Corrie said...

We visited a church last night that does AWANA, a kids' program that emphasizes Bible memorization (along with fun games) so that will be where we start. We were already memorizing Scripture together. As for poetry I'm still looking. We're reading a book from the library called Penderwicks. We've loved reading Narnia! I was trying to find something Kaity would get into as she is my reluctant reader. I found and Hilare Belloc, at Mr. Pudewa's recommendation in his presentation for poetry for boys. I read some poems to Charlie that were supposed to be funny and he said, "I don't get it." lol
I like your idea of a row-boat ride with a sweetheart! Hymns would be a great idea and set to music already to help in memorization!

Mommy Reg said...

AWANAs is a good place to start. I just remembered about Where the Sidewalk Ends. I bet your kids would like those. (And probably all the other Silverstein books) I was thinking maybe having mine memorize those poems. They are very funny and I memorized them as a kid.
You might try the Laura Ingels books with your daughter or maybe Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott - that is probably my favorite story of hers.
I am still trying to fine tune this years plans/routines. I hope that by mid September I have figured what is going to work best with them.