Can’t Write, Won’t Write.

Most home educated children that I know or have known hate writing, actually, the problem is worse with boys in my experience. So what is there to be done?

I remember when my second son was 5, who up until then had been 100% home educated, almost in tears on the phone to a friend who is also a home ed Mum,

“He just refuses to write, says its too hard, you do it, Mummy, I’ll tell you what to write”

She was awesome, made soothing noises and said things like

“He’ll write when he’s ready”

To someone like me, a complete control freak who worries about everything…

E V E R Y T H I N G! That didn’t help much at the time.

I was sure that I’d completely failed my child and he was going to grow into an illiterate man, who would, of course, blame me and it would be my fault that he would live on benefits all his life, become a delinquent, never be happy and my grandchildren would say

“Well Papa (I’ve always imagined my grandchildren calling my children Papa, with a southern drawl) would love to have learnt to write but Granny stood in his way, what with the home education an’ all”

So you can see why I put that small shy boy into school for a few years, yes he learnt to write and write well, he also had his fragile confidence bashed by his ruthless peers.The thing is he could already write, he’d sit up at night writing reams of gibberish on a notepad that he kept under his pillow. He went to school for a few years before we made to definite decision to go back to home ed, he is now a man, at college and the home ed years have been the best of his life, he’s become confident, articulate and decisive.

Ok, case study number 2, this son is my youngest and so I’m more laid back, been there done that so to speak. I did have a minor wobble a couple of years ago when he was 6 because he seemed to be behind with his reading, behind what the Government say a child of his age should be doing, in fact, he was doing just fine just not where I wanted him to be. I remembered the wise words of my friend ” He’ll do it when he’s ready”

” He’ll do it when he’s ready”

And my previous years of nuttiness, panic, sleepless nights. Instead of looking at schools as I had done with his siblings, I bought a massive set of ladybird reading books, level 1 to 5. I put them in his room and every night I’d read a couple to him, it didn’t work, I didn’t point to the words (not often anyway) and we had fun, he now reads fluently.

So why the panic overwriting, well, to be honest, it’s because he just hates it so much, he’d much rather type, but then wouldn’t we all!

Every day we do a small session of writing if he offers to write a story or something without prompting I smile a bit wider and pat myself on the back! It’s stressful letting them go at their natural speed, only because we are all so socially conditioned to have set standards for age groups, all completely inappropriate for home educated, child learners.

Have you ever seen a doctor’s writing? complete scrawl, of course, a lot of that is a form of arrogance however they are highly educated. Don’t we all have a family member who thinks every child should study medicine or engineering? So what if they never write like Elizabethan scholars, as long as they enjoy learning I hope my work is done.  Of course, I’m a complete home education freaky mother and am now planning a complete course of calligraphy with quills and fresh ink pots because writing the phrase “Elizabethan scholars” triggered something! A Tudor week here we come, oh I just remembered the local museum has a new display gallery dedicated to Henry VIII. Do you see how my mind works!

I guess what I’m saying is, I shouldn’t let my own insecurities about how good a teacher I am/am not affect my child’s learning. he is learning at his own pace. Isn’t that why I began this whole crazy thing? Learning at their own pace we nod and say to one another at home education meet ups, while secretly waking at night to worry ourselves into ulcers about how little our children seem to “get done”!!

Trust in my child’s love to learn, love to better themselves, love to do what they need to get what they want. here I am worried about a child who decided he’d ride a bike at 2 years old, three weeks later we took the stabilisers off and he was away. He’s got a stubborn streak, like his Mum. Do you remember trying to get your children to love writing, pulling your hair out at the slow progress? Share in the comments, I’d love to know the paths your children took.

I’m off to browse India ink on eBay!

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