From the Editor
As you teach the history of Thanksgiving to your children this month, check your own knowledge of the events with this excerpt from James W. Loewen’s book, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. I am continuously amazed at what is omitted from or outright incorrect in the textbooks I used in school. I am so thankful to have the world of knowledge at my fingertips now! For more about how to teach accurate history, take a look at Loewen’s book, Teaching What Really Happened: How to Avoid the Tyranny of Textbooks & Get Students Excited About Doing History.
You’ll find some ideas for children’s Thanksgiving activities in our blog archives as well as Rebecca’s Confessions of a Homeschool Mom’s Thanksgiving which reminds us of the beauty in the chaos of dust bunnies, book piles, and (gasp!) whining children.
Enjoy the newsletter!
Mary Ann Kelley
Recent Blog Posts
Scribes, Narration, and Homeschooling
Your child can’t hold a pencil very well? Your child thinks faster than she can write? Your child’s handwriting is illegible? Your child can’t compose in writing even though he can tell you a great story?
Your child might benefit from having a scribe.
What’s a scribe? That’s a person who writes for someone else. It’s sort of like the old days, when a boss dictated an oral message to a secretary who took it down in shorthand and then typed up for the boss to sign. It was still the boss’s writing — the boss’s composition — the secretary was the scribe.
If your child experiences difficulty with handwriting, you or another person more capable with handwriting (another adult, a tutor, an older sibling) can listen to your child tell a story or make observations and write them down. Then the story can be typed up or read back to the child — or the child can read it — so he or she can feel the power of having composed those very words.
Depending on the age, interest, and developmental readiness of the child, passages that have been scribed
- can be illustrated by the child, so he is adding a personal touch, and connecting words with paper, even if it is through pictures rather than text
- can be set in small portions as copy work, so that a child with weak handwriting can actually practice using his or her own words
- can be bound into a book with other passages, creating the satisfaction of a finished writing project for a child who may feel timid about writing ability
- can be reviewed for “mechanics” with a parent, so the child can learn about punctuation and capital letters
- can be typed on a keyboard to be added to a child’s blog or kept digitally for other purposes, such as sharing with a friend or relative
- can be the basis for keyboarding practice for a child herself
You can start scribing really naturally, just by asking a child to tell you a story and writing it down. I did this with all my preschool aged kids, and they always found it fun. For an older child, it’s sometimes easier for him to start if he’s seen scribing in action. I’ve taught in homeschool co-ops where half the kids use scribes during our freewriting and composition periods, making it easy for kids to try it without embarrassment. Some will want their own parents as scribes; others will prefer a different adult volunteer.