Friday, June 17, 2011

Fruits of his Labor

Photo by Jo Christian Oterhals via Flickr
When we were discussing homeschooling, my son's father gave him an assignment: write a 1200 word essay on the pros & cons of homeschooling.

This is the same 13-year-old-boy who would write exactly 3 5-word sentences if that's all he was required, whose IEP writing goal in 8th Grade was to write 3 paragraphs.  His main problems being a huge reluctance to write due to handwriting issues when he was younger, years of handwriting remediation, and having convinced himself (and others) that he "can't" write.  His paper comes out with approximately a 10th grade readability level!

Obviously I'm a writer, and I did coach my son to start with on how to organize his thinking, gave him some recent articles to spark his interest in pulling current events into the paper, and I did help him edit his work.  However he put in a great deal of research effort, expanded the original premise for his paper to a comparison of public school, private school, homeschooling and unschooling, including some critical thinking that he's never been able to express in writing before.

He's given me permission to distribute the fruits of his labor.  After years of pointless school assignments, one of the things that excited his passion was the idea that what he was compiling would actually be useful for someone in the future.  So I thought it was important to share, on this eve of him finally being homeschooled.

Please grab a copy from my dropbox link below!  Note, the contents are copyrighted, but you have permission to distribute it in its entirety.

Right-click to download - PDF


  1. You must be a very proud mother. Welcome to homeschooling!

  2. That's a fantastic report. It was thoroughly researched and it seemed like he actually enjoyed writing it! Bravo to your husband for giving him this challenge. I can't believe the government schools actually labeled him remedial. On second though, I can believe it, which is why you're going to homeschool! Kudos to him (and his proud parents too!)

  3. Thank you both!

    I think the pointlessness of writing and homework in schools is one of the big reasons that kids are reluctant to produce quality work. It's not going to make any difference in the world, a world the children are becoming increasingly aware is in trouble. So his 7 or 8 years of occupational therapy for handwriting trounced his motivation, and it only improved some with the use of computers/Alphasmart. Online, he actually writes/roleplays fan fiction with other people who actually read his stuff. It's not novel-worthy, but it's more practice writing because he WANTS to not because someone required him to write a boring dry summary of a book he read.