The questions we are pondering are:
What place do you see writing have in your high schoolers education? Do you use a writing program? What approach do you use? Which ‘tools’ did you use in the younger years that helped prepare your high schooler to write and prepare them to join "the Great Conversation"?
Speaking of The Great Conversation:
The tradition of the West is embodied in the Great Conversation that began in the dawn of history and that continues to the present day. Whatever the merits of other civilizations in other respects, no civilization is like that of the West in this respect. No other civilization can claim that its defining characteristic is a dialogue of this sort. No dialogue in any other civilization can compare with that of the West in the number of great works of the mind that have contributed to this dialogue. The goal toward which Western society moves is the Civilization of the Dialogue. The spirit of Western civilization is the spirit of inquiry. Its dominant element is the Logos. Nothing is to remain undiscussed. Everybody is to speak his mind. No proposition is to be left unexamined. The exchange of ideas is held to be the path to the realization of the potentialities of the race. (exerpted from 'The Great Conversation', by Hutchins)
What place do you see writing have in your high schoolers education?
Writing definately plays a large role in our homeschool in the highschool years. We write in pretty much every subject in some form or another. Not all assignments or projects are lengthy compositions, but a few meaty writing assignments each term set the groundwork for better writing style and ease of mastery in this essential part of learning and self-education. Another form of writing or composition is oral narration which we use regularly in conjunction with written work.
Do you use a writing program?For highschool we have relied heavily on The Little Brown Handbook, this is a very nice volume of writing instruction and information for a highschooler (or anyone for that matter). We have not used the workbook, but it could be useful for someone I am sure :) We have also used Element's of Style. Another resource that I had forgotten about, but which I was recently reminded by Charlotte Mason Help is the Guide to Grammar and Writing site, very helpful!
What approach do you use?
Forms V and VI. (High School) "In these Forms some definite teaching in the art of composition is advisable, but not too much, lest the young scholars be saddled with a stilted style which may encumber them for life.” (CM Vol. 6, p. 193)
Our approach is relaxed and somewhat flexible. I have not held to any hard and fast requirements for our writing projects as I believe that if a child is willing to write and has a desire to write, they will write much and write well. Especially with my first highschooler, Violet, this has been the case. She enjoys writing and the process of it, so it comes more naturally to her than say her brother, who is an excellent writer when he puts his mind to it, it just doesn't come as naturally to him as his sister. It could also be a case of 'what's the point' for particular assignments for him. He would rather make up a comic strip or a poem about something he has read or learned about rather than write an essay. So, this is where the flexibility comes in for us, I let him, and he has produced some delightful poetry, comics and whatnot for some of his writing assignments! C'est la vie, dit moi!! And we most clearly used a Charlotte Mason approach to writing and composition which leads to the next question...
Which ‘tools’ did you use in the younger years that helped prepare your high schooler to write and prepare them to join "the Great Conversation"?
In terms of 'tools' we used lots and lots of reading good literature, reading aloud good literature, listening to good literature (you get the point) then narrating these gems orally at first, then beginning to write narrations around 9-11 depending on the child, and finally full blown essays, compositions and critical papers. Grammar forms and all areas of language arts can be learned within this framework of reading, narrating and writing. Good spelling is attained by constantly seeing correctly spelled words within literature, and Copywork and Dictation lend very well to learning proper punctuation and correct grammar use. This has been a good model for us and has carried us well into the highschool years for Writing and Composition work. We are always learning though and can't wait to see what others have to share in this realm.
Thanks for stopping by today, enjoy the rest of the carnival, there are sure to be some great posts!!