One the year goals I have for Anna's school-time is that she will be able to do "copywork". Which means to me that I give her a couple of sentences (hmm..... a poem, memory verse or lines of a book she wants to create) and she can copy them onto her own paper.
So with this being a goal... almost everyday she does some sort of writing. Usually it's on regular notebook paper with guide lines drawn by ME (like the picture on the right)! Or sometimes it on one of our wipe board books (paperless... LOVE it)!
During a recent trip to Walmart, her and I spied a writing tablet that had already lined paper! She immediately asked if we could get it for her schoolwork..... sometimes she is such a "little Kelly"! I told her that we would at a later time and that in the mean time we needed to practice how to write better between the lines.
Last night during a quick Walmart run after our dinner with the deacons of the church. Brian and I picked up the Tablet! And this morning as we were taking out our "school" stuff I showed Anna the tablet... she was soo excited and "ready"!
So I wrote a letter that the kids "dictated" to me for Miss Sue-Sue, the sweet neighbor who kept the kids for us last night! When I finished writing the letter, I got Anna started writing the letter on the writing tablet......
After she finished the first word I looked down at her work and cringed... she wasn't using lowercase letters and it was "sloppy". I almost started to take the tablet away..... but then I got a GRIP!
Here is my sweet four-year old writing a letter of thanks and maybe her heart isn't into it.... but the worse thing for me to do is harshly criticize her work. So I gently reminded her to use lowercase letters and to do her best work! And I demonstrated a couple of letters or reminded her to trace mine from the originial letter, if she needed help.
When she was finished I praised and praised and praised her! Even though I thought her first couple of words weren't as formed as I liked, I thought she did an amazing job. Especially for her 1st copywork assignment, which ended up being longer than I would have normally started with. But she did great!
I was reminded through this internal struggle of mine how my "job" as the kids' mom and teacher is to encourage and guide them. Sure, I need to instruct and teach them what is right but I need to do so with much love, gentleness and graciousness. I think of God's gentle ways with us..... "He leads me beside quiet waters.... He guides me in paths of righteousness..." (from Psalm 23).
This picture is one of my favorite "schooling" pictures....so far!! It looks like she is "just" coloring but it's actually a color-by-word number.... so she's using her reading skills! Anna loves our school-time. She is soo ready for some structured learning and so school-time can be soo fun and exciting.
My daily hope and prayer is that I can challenge and encourage my children in their "studies" without it being stressful or trying to accomplish what I want!! And I am able to enjoy this time with the kids when I'm not so "driven"!! And I'm able to model and encourage character traits - self-control, patience, hard-working, etc - during school-time which is a HUGE benefit to homeschooling....