Homeschool Adventure

The Insignificance of a Red Pen

Failed Test

Homeschooling never ceases to amaze me. Sometimes, it’s the absolute difficulty and frustration that surprises me, and sometimes it’s the novelty. Today, it was the latter.

J had just completed his first workbook of the day, and as we sat down to review his work together, I asked him to grab me a marker for grading.

Here’s what happened next:

J: “I want red.”
Me: (Flashing to the above image in my mind, I almost said ‘Are you sure,’ but I kept quiet).
J: Continued, “Because red is my favorite color now.”

It’s just that simple for him.

I love that.

I love that editing marks and red pens aren’t negatives for him. Even when I point out errors that he has to correct, I try to teach him that it’s actually a good thing. I don’t want him to grow up terrified to make a mistake. Instead, I want him to learn about the importance and necessity of editing, proofing, and re-writing.

Maybe it’s just the ex-copy editor in me, but I know that even the best writers need someone to fix their commas and check their spelling and use of prepositions. Unfortunately for J, I happen to be some kind of freaky savant with grammar, but I think he’ll survive.

I think he’ll do exceptionally well if I can just remember that things like red ink, proofing marks, and revisions don’t have to be negative things in his world. I love that homeschooling gives us that. They can just be colors, helpful reminders, and part of the writing process.


3 thoughts on “The Insignificance of a Red Pen

  1. I’m SO glad you posted this! I heard that story the other day about how, in a nutshell, red ink is being discouraged in schools when teachers grade because of the intimidation it causes kids. I just wanted to smack myself in the forehead when I read that. I dont have a red pen, but I have a pink marker which looks almost red, and its the one Maddie asks for all the time. If children associate red ink on their homework as a negative experience, then I think its because its taught that way. Personal opinion. And to try to ban teachers from using the red ink is just absolutely absurd to me.

    • Absolutely! There is a practical reason teachers use red-it stands out from blue or black ink. Besides, kids need to be taught that being told they’re “doing their best” even if something is wrong will NOT help them in the long-run. That is not how the world works. If you try your hardest in a profession and still don’t do what is being asked of you, you will lose your job. Instead, our kids need to be taught how to take critiques and learn from them.

      I do not expect or encourage perfection, but I do expect and praise improvement. That is what we strive for.

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