Talk about the perfect set-up: I found an old Family Fun article about Spring Science, which includes directions for how to build a barometer. And, Luke's first morning back to real life, he woke up with: "How do weathermen predict the weather?"
Fast-forward to yesterday afternoon. We'd found all the necessaries for the barometer and had it nearly done. Luke jumped in to do the writing - two words, "high" and "low" - and for the first time in a long time didn't ask how to spell anything; he just wrote.
I'd like to pause in my narrative to highlight the importance of this seemingly small act. A major reason for homeschooling was the variety of health problems Luke suffered by being made to do things he simply wasn't ready for in school, primarily writing and spelling tasks. He's really good at input - reading, listening, connecting the mental dots - but output, not so much. So imagine my happy surprise when he voluntarily took up the pencil, and wrote "high" without asking for help, or validation.
He spelled it "hie."
And, what did I do? The dumbest thing I could have - I told Luke he'd spelled it wrong, and how to correctly spell it.
Why did I decide to stomp all over my 7 year-old's newfound confidence, call back into question his (self-perceived) lousy writing? I don't know.
Then, I did a mental head slap, took a deep breath, and suggested, "But it doesn't matter, does it? We both know what it says..." And I waited for the tears, or his rejection of the whole activity; whatever Luke's reaction would be, I prepared myself to reap what I'd sown.
With hardly a pause, he said mildly, "yep, it's okay that way," and turned his attention to reading the barometer.
I think, I hope, the damage is coming undone.