Once I talked on the Language Lady Facebook page about how many times I had said “A paragraph is a unit of thought” in three days of teaching. (Too many to count!) And promised a post about designing paragraphs, paragraph breaks, and general paragraph help. Here you go!
Dividing paragraphs is one of the most challenging aspects of writing for young writers and adults alike (along with many other challenging aspects!). That is why when people who do not write a lot write a full page with no paragraph breaks. That is also why middle school writers start writing and have no idea when to indent–so they randomly pick a spot (“Hmmm….looks like I’ve written enough to change paragraphs now…”) and indent.
1. They use my Directed Writing Approach!
In my Directed Writing Approach, every detail of every project is laid out for your student. None of my writing projects are “writing ideas” or “writing prompts.” Every writing assignment contains step-by-step instructions with much hand-holding along the way. The student is “directed” in how to write and what to write at all times—from brainstorming to research to outlining to rough draft and finally to revising.
Thirty years ago, Ray’s mentor said, “Sit down with Donna every week and ask her, ‘What change do you think we need to make? What do you need for me to do?'”
He continued, “After you do this for a long time, it will give Donna peace, and she will feel secure that you really care about your family and how to improve it.
He said, “Then one day, you will ask her ‘What do you need for me to do for you?’ and she will say ‘Nothing at all. What can I do for you?'”
So now that you are convinced that “delighting in the dailies” will help you accomplish your goals, how do you get them started (and keep them going) during the initial stages—when there isn’t a lot of fruit to show for your efforts, and you are convinced some day that you should just forget making dinner and go play solitaire or buy some sort of farm equipment (on the computer…lol)?
Here are some tips for learning to truly “delight in the dailies” and make those dailies a long-term reality in your home:
If you have heard us speak or read any of our blogs, you have probably heard my stories about how I used to be a “closet lady.” That is, I always cleaned out closets, organized toy cubes, shelved books in order, and made one hundred freezer meals in one day—instead of doing the dishes, laundry, trash, and other “dailies.”
It took me a while as a young mother to get to the point where I could set all of my projects aside—all of the more “creative,” fun, and cool things–in order to do the things that I needed to every day….the dailies.
But once I did, my life was forever changed. You see, it is the daily ins and outs that truly make us successful in homeschooling (and in life!).
We all want to raise children who love learning—and if they love homeschooling, too, well, that’s even better. I wanted my kids to love learning and homeschooling so much twenty-five years ago that I wouldn’t teach a child to read unless he could learn within a few weeks with no tears. (Otherwise, we put it on the back burner for a couple more months.) I was serious about this love for learning stuff!