Monday, September 3, 2007

Pre-Writing Skills -

These next few post are from 18 months ago on my old homeschool journal. I just thought I'd share them:

My best friend was telling me how she is concerned about her son. He is almost 5 and she says there is NO WAY he will be ready for Kindergarten this fall. (Idon't think he's as far behind as she thinks) She doesn’t homeschool and, honestly, she is one of those people that shouldn’t homeschool. She said she had him sitting at the table with paper and pen working on writing his name and he was crying. I told her I’d help her out. I know Ethan and ‘normal’ schooling of ‘sit and fill in this workbook’ are NOT going to work with him at all. So I have typed out 4 different lessons (each will take 2-4 weeks I bet) for her to use with Ethan. I’ll share them at the end here. I am having her use a few things I learned from my Brain Gym book. Ethan is one of those boys. Young, immature, ACTIVE, ‘his own person’, not super socially interested in things….. I have 3 kids on the autism spectrum and Ethan reminds me a bit of my kids, but I really don’t see anything abnormal in him. I would say his actions, behaviors are low on the ‘normal’ spectrum, but he’s not quite on the autism spectrum side. (of course, I'm just a mom, not a professional..) BUT I am afraid the school system will be very quick to label him with lots of things.

So here is the first sheet of lessons I made up for her to do with Ethan. I am having her start at the very beginning of writing basics. You have to learn to balance on your skates and to just skate forward without falling long before you learn to do those fancy flips on the oice.


Lets start with the basics. For the first week, we’ll practice “o”s. They seem overly simple, but proper ‘o’ formation is very important to proper writing skills. A proper ‘o’ is formed by starting at the 2 o’clock position and making a circle around to the left (counter clockwise) and ending back at 2 o’clock. Set a timer for 15 minutes for each day of practice. (remember, when I say ‘you’ I mean you and Ethan usually)

Ideas for O Practice. Do # 1-3 on the first day. On the second day do a short review (make sure to do Lazy 8s) and move to #4-5. Day #3 start with Lazy 8s and then move to #6.
Stay with each task until they seem to get it. Continue #6 a couple days, always start with Lazy 8s. Then do #7 for a few days, always start with Lazy 8s. (always do all circles and Lazy 8s in the counter clockwise direction)

use a 12” measuring stick and attach 2-3 feet of ribbon. Use your ribbon stick to draw LARGE ‘o’s in the sky. Make them BIG and always make them in starting at 2 o’clock and going counter clockwise. You don’t have to stop between each “o”, you can make continuous loops. Also make figure 8s that are laying down. (Lazy 8s- like an infinity sign). Go in the same direction with the 8s as you did with the Os.
make “o”s on each other backs. (always from 2 o’clock and around to the left)
Finger paint ‘o’s, use a salt tray or a shaving cream tray. (always from 2 o’clock and around to the left)
NOW get out a clock or a picture of a clock face. Find 2 and start there. Trace around the edge of the clock, counter clockwise, ending at the 2. Do this until the child can start and finish without help. (always start with Lazy 8s.)
Have the child trace a large circle on a piece of paper or chalk board. Have the clock picture there to use for reference. Have them find what would be 2 o’clock on their circle and make their Clock Os. (always start with Lazy 8s.)
on blank paper, make continuous loops (in our Clock O direction). (always start with Lazy 8s.)Finish with clock Os.
Use wide lines (about 8 inches apart) for the loops. Each day decrease an inch in the distance between lines until you can get to 3 inches apart. Stick with that for a couple days. always start with Lazy 8s.


*other ideas.. use cooked spaghetti to properly form the O. Use playdough snakes, use a shoe string. At mealtime, have the child make a ‘clock O’ on their plates. Put a thin, long (3-6 feet) rope on the ground and have child walk the LARGE O, starting at 2 O’Clock. Use that long rope to make a Large Lazy 8 for your child to walk. Ask your child to think up other ways to play Clock Os or Lazy 8s. Lay on the floor and make big clock Os and Lazy 8s with your feet. Use dry erase markers on the window, use your finger on the bathroom mirror after a shower. Have him point out Os in a book (when you are reading to him or without being read to).

*Make sure you sit with your child and do the activities with him. (ie- make your own twirly stick, have a clock face for both of you and do together…..). AND if you gather the needed materials and sit where he can see you and just start doing things yourself, he’ll probably come over and ask to do them, too. I use this trick to get my kids to do lots of things. They can’t stand it when it looks like Mom might be having fun without them.

Use these activities to count out loud with your child for added scholastics if you want.

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