A Week of Letters between Daddy and his Boy

22 Sep

This past week Ethan has been writing a letter to his Daddy everyday.  He then hide it from him to stumble across in places like, on his pillow or in place of his bookmark in the book he reads each night.   I initiated this writing as a purposeful reason for Ethan to write.

So cute.  These letters are definitely keepsakes.

I’m personally not too keen on the genre of Creative Writing for young children, especially boys.
*  It’s not an entirely useful skill in life unless you chose to be a author later in life…certainly not in proportion to the emphasis that is placed on it in education.
*  It’s very difficult for beginning writers to be creative and to create an entertaining plot from thin air.  They need lots of life experience to draw from which is something young children lack.  You’ll notice that young children usually innovate on a known story, rather than creating an original storyline which of course is fine, in my opinion.  School teachers however will not think favourably of such a thing.
*  It’s also not something that boys in general enjoy.  Boys think about facts and purpose, not relationships and plots…generally speaking from my own experience of course.
So that’s why I choose to use purposeful genres for our writing experiences.

Ethan added his P.S. after I left the room.  While it is on the messy side I was impressed that he got it all spelled correctly on his own.  (I don’t encourage “having a go” when it comes to spelling.  “Having a go” is reserved for orally making spelling attempts that I can then help correct with reminders about phonic or spelling rules…Just in case you were wondering why there are no errors in these letters.)

Of course getting those all important words on paper is still like pulling teeth for some children…mine included.  The writing we did this week was a huge milestone for us.  Usually Ethan digs his heels in after one sentence.  To him a full stop is the “pens down” sign.

However this particular writing task was much more enjoyable for Ethan.  He loved the excitement of hiding the letter and waiting for a reply which he knew would come the next day.  Daddy played a game of hide and seek with his replies too.  One morning it was on the fridge and another it was on Ethan’s pillow beside him when he woke up.

In one letter that Daddy wrote to Ethan, he asked if Ethan could write him an acrostic poem.  This led to an impromptu search for information about what an acrostic poem was and how to write one.  I was very impressed with how this experience panned out.  Ordinarily I would have dreaded a poetry lesson (it’s VERY high on my personally disliked things…”OH!” I hear you all gasping.  I’m happy to read it but please don’t make me write it.  Pull my fingernails out with pliers instead…please!!!)  But this was a such a natural lead in that the pain of poetry writing was anesthetised for me and hopefully my distaste for it wasn’t passed on to Ethan.  He worked really long and hard on his acrostic poem and I’m very impressed with it.  Who’d have thought that one of my offspring could write and enjoy poetry.  🙂

I love his Acrostic poem.  I just noticed he’s missing an “s” on “loves” though.  We were too busy drooling over his efforts to notice earlier. 

As with any schoolish type writing, Ethan quickly got tired of it and saw through my attempts to get him to write even if he had initially found it enjoyable.  By the end of the week Ethan was back to his “pens down after the full stop” mentality.


Back to a one sentence wonder.

After the holidays I think I’ll try a questionnaire type genre.  Ethan loves filling in forms.  Ethan could create questions for us to answer in writing.  Maybe he could graph the data he collects.  He LOVES data collecting and graphing.  Hmmm….yes a good plan I think.I’m telling you…this homeschooling thing is WAY HARDER than teaching in schools.   In school I would just pick the next genre that the textbook or school guideline said I had to teach.  My personal beliefs would not come into play, nor would I consider whether the children enjoyed it or needed it or would succeed at it.  My job was to present the information and to record which child caught the information being tossed at them.

At home I actually have to ensure my pupils have a very good chance of success by gauging their readiness and tweaking my presentation specifically to their needs and interests.  Failure is not an option at home but, in school, it’s an unfortunate daily expectation.  😦

How blessed are our homeschooled children.  I mean, how many Daddy’s receive letters from their children as part of their schoolwork.  Okay, I suspect that some Daddy’s may recevie letters from schools ABOUT their children but possibly not the kind they would enjoy  🙂 .  I’m sure you’ll all agree….love letters are much nicer to receive.

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Posted by on September 22, 2009 in Language


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