Writing structure and style is not something that comes with ease to us and the reason for this is because it was not something that was taught to us. Most adults I've consulted with have memories of topics and word counts but no formal knowledge on tackling the written paper.
Composition com·po·si·tion (kmp-zshn) n.
- a. The combining of distinct parts or elements to form a whole.
b. The manner in which such parts are combined or related.
c. General makeup: the changing composition of the electorate.
d. The result or product of composing; a mixture or compound.
- 2. Arrangement of artistic parts so as to form a unified whole.
- a. The art or act of composing a musical or literary work.
b. A work of music, literature, or art, or its structure or organisation.
- A short essay, especially one written as an academic exercise.
Charlotte Mason says "The earliest practise in writing proper for children of seven or eight should be, not letter writing or dictation, but transcription, slow and beautiful work... Transcription should be an introduction to spelling. Children should be encouraged to look at the word, see a picture of it with their eyes shut, and then write from memory." v1 p239
In the Charlotte Mason philosophy composition starts with the art of Narration. Once a child can narrate with ease he is then ready for written narration (composition).
"...Composition is not an adjunct but an integral part of their education in every subject "Charlotte Mason ~Vol. 6, p.192
- Spelling - without a good grounding in spelling a student will struggle in formal written work.
- Writing - A student needs to be comfortable with letter formation and do so with ease before starting the formal written assignments. Copy work is a two edged sword: it serves to learn letter formation and correcting spelling.
- Vocabulary - Without a sufficient vocabulary it is difficult to express oneself. Vocabulary is easily acquired via listening to excellent literature read out loud and reading quality books to oneself.
- Narration - helps the student to organise their thoughts with ease.
The art of written composition is started at around the age of ten after the student has a sufficient efficiency with the mechanical necessities of writing and a good grounding in the servant spelling. There is very little point in overwhelming a student by expecting too many things all at once. It is to our benefit to equip our students with excellent vocabulary via great literature read out loud and to themselves. Teach them to spell well and practise organising their thoughts via narration.
At this point introduce the lessons from the Student Writing Intensive. This program is a good transition into formal compositions as the student does not have to compose any written work simply from imagination. IEW teach the student how to take good notes from supplied stories and re-tell the story in their own words on paper. Once this step is complete the students are then equipped with how to improve their written work and formulate excellent presentable work with no stress.
- My number one recommendation for teaching writing is from Institute for Excellence in Writing.
- Language Arts - Poetry
- Language Arts - Composition writing prompts
- Language Arts - Composition
For Further Reading
- Does using the Charlotte Mason method of teaching writing through copy work, dictation, and narration really work? over at A Slice of Home school Pie
- Teaching Writing over at Simply Charlotte Mason
- First Compositions over at Living Charlotte Mason in California.
- Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival – Topic: Composition
- Teaching Writing. Starting Late
- Composition the Charlotte Mason Way: Language Arts, part 5
- Teaching Writing in Your Home school – It’s Not That Complicated over at Hip Home school Mom's
- 4 Deadly Errors of Teaching Writing
- Why Teach Composition ?
- Writing and Composition in High School
What is your favourite resource for teaching children writing ?
This post is part of the Homeschool Help series brought to you by a group of home school Mom's from around the globe. Do not forget to visit and read their inspirational insight.
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- Lucinda 5 Writing Games Your Kids Will Love
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