Saturday, February 12, 2011

Teaching a VSL: Tip Number 2

What is a VSL?  That's a complicated question to answer, but here's a start: A right-brained, highly creative learner who thinks in pictures rather than words.  You can read more about them here

Usually, my VSL dreads the study of history about as much as any rational person would dread a root canal.

And his handwriting assures me that he is destined to be a doctor. 

A REALLY good doctor.

While perusing the offerings of one of the vendors at GHEA's conference last year, I stumbled upon this little gem...

I was looking for resources to add more artwork into our school day.  One of my VSL's more obvious traits is his need to draw or doodle.  You can find his work in a variety of places around our home (including walls and furniture when he was younger; truth be known, I still have to keep an eye on him). 

When I first saw Draw and Write through History, my first thought/hope was that it would motivate him to improve his handwriting.  It is not a handwriting program per se; however, it includes copy work assignments.  I wondered if the marriage of art and writing would help him.

In short, it has.  He is beginning to see that writing is like drawing.  In the same way he has to use certain strokes of the pencil to sketch a pyramid, he must use particular strokes to form letters. 

Over the years, I have used a variety of handwriting programs with him, all of which teach those exact procedures.  However, there is something special about VSL thinking.  Step-by-step procedure often creates stress and difficulty, at least it does with my VSL.  However, a creative environment decreases stress and increases productivity.  The way Draw and Write through History inserts copy work between several pages of art instruction has caused something to click in his brain and his handwriting has improved more than it ever did with any procedural handwriting program.  It may be that the application created a place for the previous instruction to finally click, but whatever the case, there is improvement and I give Draw and Write two big thumbs up!

The second benefit of this book is that he now has a form of communicating his history knowledge other than speaking and writing, both of which require the use of lots of words and frustrate him.  He can draw intricate pictures that show me just how much he knows about a topic.  He is beginning to see history as less of a chore and more of an enjoyment which has increased his desire to read more and even to try his hand at writing about history topics. 

He completed the first Draw and Write book, Creation through Jonah, this week and is EXCITED to begin the second on Greeks and Romans.  And he has asked me questions like...

Will I get to draw the Trojan Horse? 

Do you think it will show me how to draw the Parthenon? 

I really want to draw the Colosseum; will it show me how?

There is historical knowledge in that brilliant mind of his!  It has been avoiding the light of day for a long time, and I am so happy to have found a resource that brings it out so readily!

Happy Teaching!


I am blessed! said...

Not to make light of it, but my handwriting stinks and I don't think it's hindered me in life. I'm sure it's related to how fast I write, which did help me make all those A's in college and graduate school : ).


Kellie said...

I've of that series, but never got around to learning more about it. Do you tie it into your regular history studies? Ryne spends probably half his day drawing, so this might be a good fit for him.

Homeschool Dawn said...

Kellie, I did buy the two books that correspond with the period of history we are studying this year. I had hoped to assign the drawings to match point-for-point what he was studying each day, but life never works out that perfectly! :) Sometimes it does just "work out" that he happens to draw what he just read about, but most of the time it serves as a good follow-up/review activity.