Gavin’s Home School – Writing Edition

February 24th-26th 2015


Gavin’s  edification continues.

[See:  and


Last month Gavin was refusing to perform his English Language Arts (ELA) Assessment at school.   In fact his report card grade for this was *missing* due to his “inability” to complete the assessment (read; “refusal”).  To hell if I know exactly what ELA is supposed to mean, but I believe it has to do with what we used to call “Writing.”  (You know, one of the three “R’s,” so long as you disregard *spelling.*  Grrr.)   And I’m all about “Home-School” communication and partnership with the teachers, yet even though I’m one of the most engaged school moms I know, I still find my experience of understanding *what* exactly happens inside the classroom to be FORENSIC at best.  (To that end, connectedness with the child and laying fertile ground for communication from THEM is my best bet.)

I do understand however that it was a “Persuasive Writing” assignment he was supposed to write.  And thanks to above techniques, he volunteered that he felt “stumped,” because as he put it, “I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to happen to write about.”  (Hmm.)

Because of “Natural Consequences” I am committed to our agreement that work he doesn’t do in class he WILL meet at home.  (To the best of my ability of course.)  So I told him that if there’s nothing more in the world he could possibly want, then we -his parents- must being doing TOO GOOD of a job meeting all his needs.  (Ha.)  Therefore Gavin and I came up with a privilege to *remove,* so he could persuasively write about why he should get it back.  (His “Trio” blocks.)

"Now i really am hating this day."

“NoW i ReaLLy am HatEing this DAY.”


I even made him a “Graphic Organizer” like they use in school;  basically a page with some blobs in which to jot down ideas to expound upon later in writing:

Home- Made "Graphic Organizer"

Home- Made Graphic Organizer

"Friends like it.  Helps me learn to bield.  
i like it.  it's Edicashunle."  


Progress!  Or so I thought.  Until I got an email response from his teacher basically saying they need to handle the assessment in a certain way without my intervention and that the Literacy Coach will handle it.  Woops.

Sure enough the next day, the Literacy Coach was brought in and said these magic words, according to Gavin; “‘Would you like do your work in a quiet room without any distractions?‘ and I said ‘Yes,'” and boom;  out he comes with an essay detailing why he would like his family to all see the movie “Big Hero 6” together.  Lovely.  (His teacher later reported that he performed “really well” on this assessment.  Yay!  I hope I get to see it sometime.)

Next day the teacher provides him noise-canceling headphones within the classroom -another brilliant move- and boom; out comes a persuasive letter, to his own dang mother no less.

Dear Mom

Persuasive Writing… is edGicashunaL

 DeaR MOM, 
i Please have My trio Back.  here are some resons.  my frends     LikE it.  i Like it.  it HelP's Me LeaRn to BeiLd.  it's          edGicashunaL.  so can you pLease Give Back mY trio.   

Love, Gavin

Love it!  I didn’t even know this was a “Work Choice” in the classroom.   When I pointed out how much the Graphic Organizer (which he had written at home on Tuesday) seemed to have helped his writing (at school on Thursday), he giggled with surprise.  As in, he had *no idea.*  I particularly love that in each case he soldiered forth with spelling by sounding it out, irrespective of technical accuracy.  [“Spelling Brake Throo!”]  This is a looong way from where we were in the fall when he wouldn’t spit out a single word unless he thought it was “right.”   And I love that he finds Trio both Edicashunle and edGicashunaL.  (Swoon.)




We celebrated with an afternoon snack at our favorite neighborhood spot.  Coincidentally, ClaraJane had just earned a trip to the Toy Store by filling her Goal Jar with marbles earned for good behavior.  Her budget was $5, although while there she *insisted* that her “Best Brother in the World” ALSO be given $5 to spend too.

I caved.



About circuskitchen

performing artist, mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, niece... just a regular extraordinary person
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