In the past two weeks Eric has finally figured out how to write neatly and legibly. Or print actually. And to spell. He is 10. This is a boy who would not have done well with a printing/writing curriculum that required repetitive handwriting practice. He has always been a free thinker. Very artistic. He would only write in capital letters and had consistent letters and numbers that he reversed.
Because he has great recall of stories and wonderful comprehension I did not worry too much about his lack of hand writing skills. I learned to decipher his writing and to understand his creative spelling techniques. And I knew that when he was 20 he’d be able to write neatly enough for someone to read what he had written. And that he would be able to spell. And that he would no longer write his number 3 backwards. Because eventually it would all “click” for him.
Well, thankfully it happened long before he was 20. Today he spent an hour carefully writing out a title page, intro and first few pages of a story book. He used both upper and lower case letters. he used proper punctuation and he took extra care to use correct spelling, verifying with me when he was uncertain. All completely self initiated.
I have not had to use an expensive writing or spelling curriculum with him to have this happen. I allowed nature to take its course. Provided him with the material and encouragement when necessary. Stoked his creative genius with appropriate books and drawing tools. And as maturity level was reached he blossomed. By the time he is 13, I am sure there will be no sign that he used to write his “k”’s backwards or could only write in all capitals.
This is what I love about unschooling. I firmly believe that with a mind and talent like Eric’s that a traditional school method would have severely limited his creative genius. As it is he has been allowed to grow in the areas that he wanted to grow in, and when he realized that having others understand his writing, and that writing was just another form of drawing, it all has come together for him and “clicked”.
Today he asked me, “Mom what is your favorite letter to draw? I like ‘g’ and even ‘d’ is pretty cool too.” I had to quickly print out the alphabet and informed him I’m partial to "'f, j and q”. Try it and tell me what your favorite letter is!