Thursday, January 10, 2008

On Thursday, The Lord Said, "Let There Be Tracing Paper"

You know how you know that something is a good thing, and that you should buy it and keep it in stock always, and yet you forget all about it -- for like three years?

Thus it has been with tracing paper in this house. When we first began homeschooling, Amicus was a kindergartener, and I bought piles of tracing paper. He would dictate things to me, and I would write them down, and he would go over them with tracing paper and a pencil. Later he progressed to copying, and I stopped buying tracing paper so much, and eventually I forgot all about it.

Today Helier was tracing letters again -- we have one of those Memoria Press Copybooks, which have been wonderful for Amicus, but which Helier has regarded with apathy, until this week -- when it occurred to me that he, and Crispina, too, might benefit from the addition of tracing paper to their academic diet. So off I went in the rain to Walgreens to buy some.

There's nothing in this world like something new, which largely accounts for the amount of writing which has gone on here today. Helier traced most of the alphabet from the copybook before abandoning that as too -- impinging on his personal freedom, I guess -- and launching into writing his own letters, his own way. He also did some "math," which looked like this: 6-3+9. Only his 3's looked like capital E's, and his 6's and 9's were circles with sticks going either up or down. But he wrote a lot of it, and I praised it.

Eventually I guess we'll have to work on letter and number formation. I didn't do this with Amicus, and I'm sorry now, because while he can write reasonably well, in terms of composition, his letter formation tends to be more tortured than is conducive to easy, fluent writing, which is why I'm making him do so much cursive copywork. In truth, that's going pretty well. He wrote out two substantial paragraphs this week, with no more than the standard-model complaining.

Anyway, I'm already thinking how I can tackle this good-handwriting issue (not perfect, mind you; just good in the sense of being both easy to accomplish and moderately readable to the untrained eye) with a person far less malleable than Amicus.

Who plowed through his regular load of sitdown work today -- nothing unusual to report. He seems to be having one of those "steady but uninspiring" years. Already trying to think how to make next year both livelier and more challenging for him.

Epiphany read Pygmalion and did Latin. Both big kids went to choir this afternoon. I'll be posting more about high-school English soon at Abandon Hopefully, so stay tuned for a term-paper schedule for the semester, plus some grammar goodies.


Martin Cothran said...

Mrs. T,

I just caught your blog, and was greatly amused by both its title and subtitle. I'll have to share it around the office. I think I'll post it on my own blog too:

Martin Cothran
Memoria Press

Mrs. T said...

Thanks very much for stopping by. Cruise by my family/culture/general-whatever blog, Fine Old Famly, when you have a chance.

I've enjoyed my visit to your blog as well.