The aim this summer holiday is to get our son comfortable and confident in his writing: both to accept the style of his own handwriting (very scratchy) and the process of putting his thoughts on paper.
It hasn't been easy so far.
Early July he started out very well, writing down thoughts and reports on what he had done in the day, using the 'loopy' joined-up writing he was taught at school. But the legibility soon deteriorated to a point by about Day Six that we had to re-strategize.
Leaving a line was difficult for him, so was leaving clear spaces between words. He refused to contemplate these options because he did not do this at school. Clearly the influence of his teacher on him was far too strong.
In the end, tears. He said he started feeling bad about his handwriting when they began doing joined-up. But he tried and he tried. (I remember one weekend when he completely refused to do his writing homework. He was taken out of class to do his piano, thus missing the handwriting practice session, and missed learning how to write a certain letter.)
Let's start again: no joined-up writing then. And we'll leave a line.
It was okay doing this for the next few days. But again by about Day Six under this new 'regime', tears.
He just could not bear to write his thoughts down any more.
It is not like he has no ideas. He comes up with the most fabulous stories over what he's done with his Lego constructions, for example, or his computer game, but would he write it down? No.
There is such a disconnect between what he is able to say and what he is able to write that I got really stressed out.
Has he a phobia for putting pen to paper? Does he need a psychologist to de-sensitize him?
Is there something different in the way he perceives the written word or the way he processes the physical writing process that makes writing too painful or too distressing?
I also learned that there is a different kind of joined-up writing taught at school, one that cuts out all the elaborate loops and retracing of letters. I bought a book to help him do this.
He's working through this book.
He's still reluctant to write down his thoughts and feelings.
But he has not given up learning this style of writing with their 'four joins'.
Some days his handwriting is better than other days, and he enjoys a 'web chat' with me on paper.
Maybe he just thinks writing something like a diary is meaningless. He's happy to write answers to specific questions, but writing 'free thinking' is difficult for him.
He also copies out poetry very well. He likes poetry and his efforts at copying poems have been quite remarkable by his standards.
So I'm hoping that perhaps this is another way to develop his confidence in writing.