The parenting experts tell you to model good behavior for your kids. If you want kids who are readers, you should have your nose in a book, subscribe to lots of newspapers and magazines, and read out loud to your children for 20 minutes every night. If you want fit kids, you should model good eating habits, take them for bike rides, and go as a family to swim at the rec center.
Well, I've been modeling picking up my clothes, not throwing gum wrappers on the floor, and preparing sandwiches on the kitchen counter. Yet my kids can't find the hamper without being yelled at. They also believe that the house is a dumpster, and leave garbage laying around. My daughter Lucie thinks the couch is just the right place to make a raspberry jam and Wonder Bread sandwich, too.
Gack! No wonder I yell so much.
Just Do It!
But wonders never cease. Nathan has become a writer. No, not because I'm modeling all that writing behavior by blogging, emailing and Twittering all day. It's just through shear determination, all those writing prompt assignments, and practice, practice, practice.
Last summer, he had to write a three sentence assignment each week for his teacher, Mrs. Boatman. Nathan's stories were variations on a theme. For example,
We went to the baseball game. I like watching baseball. Going to the baseball game is fun.
I went to the playground. I like playing at the playground. The playground is cool.
You get the idea.
Since then the writing prompts have increased to eight sentences due every Monday to Mrs. Boatman. At first, Nathan would take one hour to write a couple of sentences, mostly because he was goofing around in his room. The assignment would take most of Saturday to complete, and part of Sunday to rewrite since his handwriting is so awful. It also involved a lot of yelling by my husband, "Dammit Nathan, stop messing around and get your homework done. JUST DO IT!"
My Son, The Writer
This week Nathan had to do his writing prompt early so he could go camping with his dad over the weekend. He finished it while we were preparing dinner, and read his work to us at the table.
It was a terrific story considering it was only eight sentences. It had drama, a conclusion, and even a moral. And here it is, a story by Nathan Nichols, 8, typos and all:
Ellen went to the field to find the ball. It was in a snake hole. She was scard to get it but, she found a stick on the ground and picked it up. She tried to pick up the ball but she needed more help! She called more of the Baseball Players to help! She even asked the coach to help! Every body stared at the problm. It was a Delay of game! They even called the Pollice. The Pollice got bitten by the snake! the animal Patrol came and the snake died! If you saw a snake while you are playing baseball do not touch it!
Finally, I'm growing a writer! I'm thrilled and oh so proud of the boy.
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