Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Darth Vader Leadership Tip #1

I was poking around the Carnival of Homeschooling, and I stumbled across a blog, new to me: Nolo Promiterre, where the author discusses Darth Vader leadership tips. I thought they were wonderful, and great fodder for thought on leading our own homeschool.

Darth Vader Leadership Tip #1 reads:

There ARE no good excuses. Even if a problem seems insurmountable, you address it, overcome it or find a way around it and continue on to your goal.

“Asteroids do not concern me, Admiral. I want that ship, not excuses.”
D. Vader
(Nolo Promiterre)

Deuce, my second daughter, has mild dysgraphia, which in short, means she has a hard time writing things. At fifth grade, normally, you would expect a student to be able to write a short essay, story, poem, book report or other written work.

Ace has always been a writer, and when I compare Deuce's written work with Ace's at the same age, I wonder where I've gone wrong. There is, however, no reason not to learn the subject matter, or to write well when it is necessary.

I have no good excuse here: First and foremost, I need to stop comparing them. These are girls with different strengths and interests. Sure Deuce is no natural born writer, but then neither are many wonderful authors.

Second, play to her strengths, and try to support her weaknesses. Deuce may not be a natural born writer, but she is phenomenally artistic. She draws with passion and detail. She builds and designs with flair and attention to detail. She also is gifted musically, and in mathematics. So for reading comprehension, do I have to have her write a book report, or can I have her interpret what she has read into something at which she can succeed, like an art project?

Third, typing is our friend here. She may have pain when asked to hold a pen and write legibly, but typing seems to be working out well for her. Deuce is almost as fast a keyboarder as I am, although she is slowed by poor spelling - and that is getting better daily, thanks to programs such as SpellingCity, the spell catcher on the computer, and daily exposure to words.

Fourth, daily practice with the pen. Here is a need to be sneaky. (If you're reading this, Deuce, I guess the jig is up!) Of course there is the handwriting book, but there are also the other things, like shopping lists (did I mention that Deuce loves to bake?), letters to relatives and friends, and her journal to name a few. These don't have to be formal, just worked in from time to time.

Little by little, the penmanship is improving, while all the while, I am giving her no excuse to not learn a subject or to read a book.

Tune into Deuce's blog here: My Place, My Space


Tatiana said...

Hi - I'm just visiting your blog for the first time and I love it! Thank you for this post. Besides loving the Darth Vader lessons, I appreciate what you said about the dysgraphia. I deal with it daily with my 8 year old and it can be so frustrating. Anyway, thanks for your thoughts and perspective!