The Classical and Charlotte Mason methods recommend using great literature. Due to Geekling's limited attention span and patience for writing, I am going to start small and use some simple poetry, quotations (Ben Franklin is a great source of quotes), and nursery rhymes to get started and build his confidence. Once he is comfortable, we'll move on to short paragraphs to improve his use of commas, quotation marks, semicolons, and other punctuation.
A notebook dedicated to dictation and other writing is a wonderful way to track your child's progress through the year.
Here are my notes so far from my massive homeschooling lesson plan file about my plans for using dictation. Keep in mind that I've adapted this because my son has Aspergers and ADHD which means a pretty short attention span:
- Start with short, silly, poems that he's very familiar with. Be sure to point out the formatting and explain it a few times before in the weeks prior so he has a clear understanding.
- Have G copy a few poems out of the book and illustrate them the week before we begin.
- Limit the first day of dictation to one simple sentence with words he knows well.
- Let Geekling look at the book to make his own corrections.
- When he's comfortable making corrections and easily writes what I dictate from memory, add a couple of words.
- Slowly work up to a paragraph length poem.
- As we learn new grammatical skills, find a simple paragraph that contains them and again, read over it together first. If he's struggling, allow him to type it to help him remember before attempting to write it.
- Allow him to choose a book to use for dictation when he gets bored with it.
- Find projects that require dictation skills to practice like writing down the grocery list as you look around the kitchen. Have him caption photos, or make comic strips on the iPad and then dictate what should be written in some of the frames.
- Dictate story starters to be written at the top of notebook pages.
- Dictate rules for a board or card game (see post Homeschooling for Geeks & Gamers for ideas)
- Have Geekling make his own Unit Study ideas, jotting down concepts he'd like to cover and places he'd like to go that relate to it.
- Have Geekling keep the running list of things we'd like to do, fun things to study, and places we'd like to go.