We actually struggled to get this personal narrative sample completed. Grace didn’t seem to be able to leave the fiction behind and write about something that happened to her. Her first attempt was completely fictional, so we ditched that one right away. Her second attempt was about her first day of homeschool, but it was filled with things that didn’t actually happen, so we threw that one away, too. After having a chat about personal narratives (something that, in theory, she had no trouble understanding), Grace decided to write about the very scary time she was chased by a dog. Isn’t it strange that someone who writes so well would struggle so much with one little sample about herself?
Anyway, I share all of this so you know that our writing samples aren’t always great on the first try. In fact, they rarely are. Grace proofreads her work and makes corrections. I proofread her work for grammar and spelling, and she makes corrections. Sometimes, we still find corrections that need to be made after a sample hits the blog. Sometimes entire essays get thrown to the wayside.
I’m also oh-so-grateful that homeschool allows us the time to deal with the grimy, gross bits of writing. I don’t feel like she’d have the opportunity to trash things, re-write things multiple times, and spend days developing characters and plots in other schooling situations. Yay for homeschool!
Okay, without further ado, Grace’s personal narrative:
I pushed away a low hanging branch and inspected the tree’s base. Pulling away the dead leaves, I dug around its base for small boxes or containers. I sighed.
“Any luck?” I called. Emily looked up from the bush she had been prodding. She shook her head. I got back on my knees. “Why,” I whispered. “Do geocaches have to be so well hidden?” I looked around. At least the area was pretty. A small fountain bubbled in the center of a garden, filled with violets and lilies.
Suddenly, just as I had leaned down to search some more, Emily let out a loud, triumphant ha-ha! I jerked my head up, whacking it against a low hanging branch. Running my fingers over the not, I walked over to Emily.
“What was that for?” I asked. Emily smiled.
“I found it!” she said, holding up a small grey lunch box. I smiled.
“Great! Now all we need to do is sign in.” Emily pulled out a pen and started writing. When she was finished, she stuck the box in a nearby tree. We turned and followed the worn path back to the parking lot of the church. I could see the car, so I decided to run to it. As soon as I got within twenty feet of it, a huge black dog emerged from the trees.
He stopped, and I got the feeling he either wanted to play or to have a snack, so I did the logical, calm thing: I ran for my life. But there was a small flaw in my plan: the dog was faster than me. Way faster. Soon I could hear him panting beside me. Fear bubbled in my chest. My legs burned, but I forced them to go faster. I saw Emily waving her arms and shouting. Whatever she was saying, it slowed the dog down. His panting grew faint. I slowed, and started panting myself.
Emily grabbed my hand. I heard a snap from behind me and a short man pushed his way through the trees. He called out, and after a few seconds, the dog came to him. Emily’s eyes hardened. Oh no. She marched up to the man.
“Excuse me, but your dog just chased her halfway across the parking lot? Why was he not on a leash?” she snapped. The man stared.
‘We were just taking a walk,” he said tonelessly. I glared. Even if you’re ‘just taking a walk,’ your dog needs to be on a leash!
Emily rushed over to the car and opened my door for me. I sat down without a word. Emily started the car and pulled out her phone. Please not 911, please not 911, please not 911, I thought.
“Animal control, how may I help you?” a muffled voice said. I sighed. Better.
“Hi, my stepdaughter was just chased by three large black dogs. The dogs had and owner, but he had practically no control. What? Ok, his license number was…” I stopped listening and leaned against my door. I didn’t even notice the other two dogs. Sighing, I closed my eyes, and for the first time, did not feel very fond of dogs.