Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Blog Worth Visiting

All because of a pin, I stumbled onto Wonder Farm, a website written by homeschooling mom Patricia Zaballos who "loves to write and wants others to love it too." I was immediately wowed by both her writing and content.

The pin was about writing workshop. What's there not to like about writing workshop?! It's an excellent way for students to write the content they want in the format they want for an audience of peers who give personal feedback. She had my attention.

I saw a post describing a method of research using post-it notes. Someday, and hopefully someday soon, I will find a student to test it.

Then I saw her eight-part series: "Becoming a Writing Mentor to Your Child." Now here is a campground where you can pitch your tent awhile. She writes lengthy posts explaining her philosophy on nurturing student writers, including practical tips for application.

Come with me. I'll take you on a quick tour.

In the first post, Zaballos contrasts a teacher and a mentor. During my homeschooling years, my teacher hat has constantly beckoned me. I've had to intentionally resist it and wear my mentor one instead. Which hat do you wear?

In part two, she contrasts two approaches to learning writing: scope and sequence, on one hand, and osmosis in a language-rich environment on the other. This one came easily for me from Day 1 of parenting; bathing my girls in words was one of my favorite parts of their younger years. On which side of the spectrum do you find yourself?

In the third post, Zaballos shares three "gems" she learned from Verlyn Klinkenborg, author of Several Short Sentences about Writing. I had never heard of this book before reading her post, but you can bet I've already placed a hold on it at the library. The gems further illustrate what it looks like to be a writing mentor, especially helpful to those of us who didn't grow up with one.

Typically, homeschooling moms think they must appropriate the "eye for an eye" philosophy when dealing with spelling and grammar. We all had to suffer through pages of spelling lists and grammar exercises, so of course our children should, too, right? Not if you want to mentor your kids. Zaballos shares her views and tips on spelling in the fourth post. Then, in the fifth part of the series, she does the same with grammar.

In part six, Zaballos offers a mother of reluctant writers advice for engaging her kids in the writing process. One of her more intriguing ideas is list-making. Seriously. Did you ever consider building paragraphs (and an essay!) from a list?

We learn in part seven how to offer positive feedback to students' writing because, after all, don't we all thrive more when we see what we're doing right rather than focus on what we're doing wrong? She continues in a similar vein as she wraps up the series with an eighth post.

If you've ever read something and thought, "Man, I wish I had written that!" you know how I feel now. This is good stuff. Really good stuff. Let me know what you think.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this lovely review of my website, Sherri! I'm honored. I'm always happy to meet another word lover!


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