Everyone knows Roger has always had issues with writing. It is unorganized and hard to understand. We recently started using a visual map (the annoying story maps with all the bubbles and lines we all hated in school). They work. This is just one example of the difference:
Being asked to write a short summary of a book:
without using the visual map:
Artemis Fowl By: Eoin Colfer
Artemis: 12 year old genius
Butler: Artemis’ bodyguard
Juliet: butler’s little sister
He discovers fairies. Gets attacked. Catches a fairy. Almost gets blown up
Same book but with the map:
Artemis Fowl is a 12 year old genius billionaire boy. He lives in a mansion on an island with Butler (his bodyguard), his mom, and Juliet (Butler’s little sister). His goal is to capture a fairy so he can get more money for his family. His full name is Artemis Fowl the 2nd. His family’s motto is Aurum potestas est (gold is power).
Fowl manor is where pretty much everything happens in this story. It is a 200 acre estate near the city of Dublin, Ireland. It was built by Lord Hugh Fowl in the 15th century. Fowl manor has several floors including one with prison cells, one with a karate dojo and one with a tech room. The tech room is where Artemis translates fairy language.
Artemis Fowl starts out the story looking for a fairy. He finds one and shoots it with a tranquilizer. He then puts the fairy in one of his prison cells. He sends the other fairies a ransom note for 2000 pounds of gold (1 ton). The fairies then attack Fowl manor with an ogre and a nuke. The fairies end up getting back half of the gold they give him but Artemis survives the fairy nuke.
I did not help him with this other than helping his set up the map. Just looking at this example the difference is clear. Not only is it more organized and easy to follow but there was no fight to do it. Three full paragraphs done when it used to be a battle to get 3 sentences out. The other thing we do is he uses a computer for everything. No more handwriting things out. Yes I know he has to know how to write but with the way the world is going when was the last time you sat down with a pen and paper to write anything? We just don’t do it anymore.
At his school all the books are online, our school is even chartering the use of google for school assignments, they were even telling us at back to school night by the time our kids get to high school the schools will be completely digital. Smartphones, laptops, netbooks, books online, goggle for assignments.
So are we really hurting anything or anyone to not push the pen and paper writing when it frustrates the child to the point of meltdowns. I don’t think so. Yes we are working with a wonderful Occupational Therapist to help with the fine motor skills so he can write and at least sign his name. When writing is one of the things that can induce anxiety if there is a way around the anxiety that still gets the work done lets use it. It is more important to be able to see the child understands the material rather than how they prove it.