I’ve struggled with when to teach essay writing. Mya is eight and while she writes blog posts and journal entries, the concept of essay writing seemed a bit daunting. But, she kept asking me how to write one and, because I am trying to incorporate more child-led learning into our homeschooling, I agreed.
Years ago when I was a high school teacher, I discovered that children have a natural aversion to writing essays. They seem to freeze in fright with the mere mention of the word and the results very rarely reflect their skill or knowledge. So I decided to avoid calling what we were going to do an essay. I simply said that we were going to answer some questions. That meant saving my favorite essay graphic organizer, the Hamburger, for a later date.
Mya has been reading Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Her interest in Greek Mythology mirrors my own so I’m happy to discuss these books with her. A few days ago she asked me why people think that girls are weak. That prompted a discussion about the stereotypes that society places on boys and girls. And that led to a comparison between our world and that of Riordan’s- a perfect opportunity for an essay. [Read more…]