Journal Entry – Wednesday 28Oct09

Since I had to run Luke to preschool (and deal with his new fear of preschool ever since a teacher was stung by a bee and they called the paramedics because of the swelling!), I had Jack do a strategy exercise from Image Grammar. He went through one of his favorite books (Lightning Thief), and pick out phrases that appealed strongly to him or seemed to utilize brushstrokes from the book (absolutes and participial phrases). He spent 2 hours on it, and came up with about 30 phrases, and next week, I’ll have him write some things with those phrases.

Jack is also noticing writing more – he told me about a great sentence as he was reading Luke some poetry today, it was more about the word choice and the alliteration, but he was struck by it. I need to remember to have him put it in his notebook!

The boys listened to lots of astronomy (Teaching Company DVD) – on lecture 4 of Volume #1 (there are 5 volumes total in the library). Each lecture is about 30 minutes, with 98 lectures total, so this will take the rest of the semester.

I need to come up with a checklist with the work he needs to get done everyday, we are still doing open-ended work, mainly because we are trying to catch up when we have a few busy days in a row with extra-curricular stuff. Jacklikes to hear we’ve accomplished a lot of work in a day, but I should come up with a way he can figure that out for himself. Working on the writing also takes thinking and discussing time that is hard to schedule and account for, but I do think we are moving forward with it, so it is so worth it!

We talked about writing some more on our daily walk – I asked him what it feels like to be working on writing so intensely, and does he think it will help him not dread sitting at the computer and writing? Jack didn’t think anything is going to help him feel better about writing, he just feels like he is just not a good writer, so he doesn’t see how working on it is going to help. I talked to him about practicing skills, how for most people, even gifted writers, need to hone their skills and practice. It is all about letting messages percolate into Jack’s brain, little by little, so I’ll keep on him. I also think that getting him his guitar and lessons will show him how practicing a skill every day, while it seems like such baby steps can really improve your playing (or writing) a lot in the long run.

He also doesn’t know why he dreads it so much – a combination of spelling and perfectionism, he thinks (more in tomorrow’s entry about this). He knows he needs to work on it, but it is hard work, and he will never look forward to it, he thinks, but he also understands how important writing is in the real world, so he is willing to try. I asked him if there was anything he could think of that would help, either in making him dread it less, or make it easier, and he couldn’t come up with anything, although he did admit that finding things he wanted to write about does help a little.

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