Yesterday at OMS Daily, I briefly mentioned the use of highlighters in our schoolwork. They play a very important role in our homeschool, so I wanted to show everyone a few examples of when and how we use them.
These are our word drawers:
Drawers 1-38 contain Laura from My Montessori Journey's word drawers (which she so kindly made available here). Here's a peek inside drawer 1...
...and here's an example of my 3-y.o. matching words to pictures (drawer 25):
Drawers 39-60 contain our exception word cards, which you can download here. Each drawer contains 10 words, as well as a list of the words that should be in it (just so I know if a word has gone missing):
I also put the drawer number on each card and on the back of each word, so that if either gets misplaced, I easily know where to return it:
I keep strips of lined writing paper and clip boards by the word drawers; once my daughter has matched the words to the pictures, I write the words on the lined paper in highlighter, and my daughter traces over the highlighter (a technique I saw used when my oldest daughter, then 3, attended a private Montessori school). So that I don't have a million strips of lined paper floating around, I tape her strips into a composition book, which is a very nice way to collect them (my daughter loves to flip back through her book and read the words):
Lately, I've started writing directly into the composition book. It doesn't have a dashed line between two solid lines, but I notice that the spacing is identical:
I also use the highlighter with my 5-y.o. We use The Well-Trained Mind and Writing with Ease for our writing/grammar/literature curriculum. Susan Wise Bauer places a strong emphasis on journaling; however, Bauer points out that for a child this young, it would be difficult to think of something to journal about and then keep it in her head long enough to write it down. Therefore, Bauer recommends dictation -- my daughter says her journal entry to me aloud, and I record it for her. As an added twist, though, I take my daughter's dictation in highlighter so that she can then write her entry herself:
I even use highlighters with my 7-y.o., who currently is working on cursive writing. This is an example of a "copywork" page from Writing with Ease, Vol. 1. The theory behind copywork is that, by copying well written excerpts from literature, the child learns proper sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, etc. But because the excerpts are written in manuscript, I model the cursive writing for her with highlighter, and then she writes over my writing:
The majority of the older girls' handwriting practice is not highlighter-assisted, but the highlighters are extremely useful in special circumstances like the ones I just mentioned. And although this may sound trivial, letting the girls pick which color highlighter they want me to use makes handwriting just a little bit more fun :)