I sent my daughter to a one-day essay-writing class for teens. She has never taken a writing class before. The only writing assignments in the past years from me have been written narrations, Charlotte Mason style. I introduced the essay format only a few weeks ago for the first time, though my daughter did have a smattering of written assignments in a Shakespeare class last year. Written narrations have been essentially her only writing assignments until this fall.
I signed up my daughter for the class not only for her to receive instruction and feedback from someone other than me, but because *I* wanted to know how we were doing. How does her writing compare to her peers? Did I ruin her writing by waiting until this year to give formal instruction? Should I have asked her over the years to write about her summer vacations, or about what she wanted to be when she grows up, or about her opinion of grilled cheese vs. peanut butter sandwiches? Is she hampered by not mastering the mechanics of a three-point paragraph? Did I mess up by waiting so long to tell her why clauses and phrases are separated by commas most of the time, but not necessarily always?
"Well, what did the teacher say?"
|Nice place for an essay-writing class, don't you think?|
"Mom," my daughter said, "the class was so much fun!" And I relaxed.
Apparently the instructor complimented her on her vocabulary (thank you, living books!). on her references to examples in literature (thank you, living books!), and on her engaging writing style (thank you, living books!). She also commented on my daughter's legible handwriting (thank you, copywork from living books!).
The area that needs correction is proper use of commas and semi-colons. I already knew we needed to cover the technicalities of punctuation. Not a surprise, and not a problem.
"That's it?" I asked. "Anything else?"
"No, except the teacher told me to keep writing and to keep reading. She said the best way to learn to write is to read a lot."
I know I've heard that advice before. Oh, thank you Charlotte Mason. Thank you, thank you, thank you.