Email: Trust the Process
On Facebook the other morning, I shared that the hardest part for homeschooling families used to traditional writing programs is making the mental shift to seeing writing as a process. Like all paradigm shifts, at first the new idea (the new way of seeing) feels wrong or unnatural. However, at the same time, you feel strangely drawn to the “new” (it’s spoken to some part of you where your truth and experience reside). So you push past your discomfort and lean into the new way of understanding despite your anxiety that it may be wrong!
I got the following email from Stephanie and it beautifully illustrates this shift—what it looks and feels like to live into the new.
I have her permission to share it.
Had an interesting and very illuminating time writing with Jason today. I really want to thank you for the idea of shared writing. I think it is almost like I needed permission to be able to do it and not feel as if I was “cheating.” Which is funny, because I talk and blog about how much that is seen as “cheating” can actually be wonderful ways to learn. The thing is, it makes so much sense! This is the way that we approach other subjects like math. We work on it together until he “gets it” and can do it on his own. Duh!
Working with Jason today on his essay for his evaluation felt so right…it was not me making suggestions or correcting things, it was him and me working and brainstorming and seeing what worked and what did not. We worked on it for over an hour with no complaints and we both felt good about it after.
I have to admit that I had to get over my own hang-up that I was “doing it for him” because he was not writing it “all by himself”. What really jumped out at me while we were working was how much of a collaboration it wound up being...more like an ongoing discussion about writing than a “lesson.” I also realized sometimes writing just comes down to seeing “what sounds good”…in the past I would get hung up on trying to explain more about why it should be one way or the other. This time around we often just tried different ways of saying things to see what we liked best. I have found that he sometimes gets hung up on how best to say something or is not sure how it “fits in”, so he drops the idea. Since I was right there, I could say let’s explore that a bit more and worry about what to do with it later (and lo and behold, once we fleshed it out, it was pretty easy to figure out where it worked).
I was a little worried that he would feel as if I was “directing” too much, but when we were done, I could tell he felt good about it. I asked him if he felt that he still owned it even though we worked on it together and he said it was definitely his.
Makes me doubly glad that we are homeschooling, because I think this way of learning works well for him and I am not sure it would fly if he was writing for another teacher who was going to grade his work. I definitely did not write it for him, but not sure a teacher would feel comfortable with the level of my involvement, which is a shame. But that is why we are homeschooling.
I touched base with Jason last night before bed about how much I enjoyed our writing session today and he agreed. Yea!
I have to keep reminding myself that this is a process. I don’t always do well with trusting the process – I want to know exactly how it is going to work out (and how we are going to get there). I remember taking the Kids Write Basic class and posting a note to Christine during the free write portion asking her if this was really going to come together as his writing was so stream of consciousness, I just could not see where it was going or how it was going to get there. She encouraged me to trust the process and dang it if it did not all come together. I have seen that when we work at home…I can’t always see where we are going or how we are going to get there, but when we actually sit down and do it, it somehow seems to come together.
Good lesson for this left-brained, sequential, plan-it-all out Mom whose kid is a very right-brained, global, stream of consciousness thinker. Gotta embrace the life lessons that come our way while parenting our kids!
So thanks again for the freedom. I also wanted to let you know I am definitely looking forward to the next podcast!
Thanks Stephanie for sharing your writing experiences with Brave Writer readers.
Bottom line: The process of writing is more successful when you embrace your role as coach and ally. Growth is fostered through modeling and collaboration, through trust and time. These strategies feel like they would be more time-consuming than independent work assigned to a child. But as most of us know, sometimes independent work simply means hours wasted on prodding, exasperation, and a child sitting stone cold at a table.
Fewer writing projects with more interaction is a far more effective strategy for writing growth than required independence and lots of assignments.
Trust me. Trust Stephanie!