Practice, explore, play! Helping kids enjoy the writing process


Written by children’s author Caroline Starr Rose

As a former teacher, I’m well aware that writing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Can I let you in on a little secret? It’s not always my thing, either.

This is a strange confession coming from a children’s author, but an important one, I think.

If writing is sometimes “unfun” for a person who does it for a living, how much more challenging is it for the kid who doesn’t enjoy it in the first place?

Here are some things I’ve learned about the writing life — both as a teacher and as a student of the discipline — that I hope might encourage you and your young writers:
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The top educational goal for my 8- to 12-year-olds

The top educational goal for my 8- to 12-year-olds Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool

Jonathan and I sat at our local Panera Bread, enjoying a mother-son afternoon date. We ordered hot chocolate and played a favorite game to get started. But then he wanted to get down to the real fun he’d been anticipating.

I opened my laptop and we began his online weather course: watching multimedia clips and taking the quizzes involved.

After 45 minutes, guess who was bored? (Me.)

“Jonathan, we’ll stop at 4 o’clock, but we can come back to it another day.”

“Why? Please, can I finish the whole thing?”

What homeschooling mama could say no? Not this one!

And the whole experience got me thinking: “How many 11-year-olds beg to study and take quizzes on their Saturday afternoons?”
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How to host a Nature Day

Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane

“Now I don’t have to die to go to heaven,” my son grinned. “It’s right here.”

We were walking along the trails zig-zagging through the wild countryside of the property we would soon call home. Towering trees, low-hanging limbs laden with moss, a pond and trickling creek, old-growth stumps — it was all so lush and green and vast — as far as the eye could see.

But even as spectacular as the scenery was, I couldn’t take my eyes off him. Seeing his wonder–rapture really–as he explored and discovered, head tilted back, gazing straight up, pointing here and there, “Mom, red-tailed hawks!”

I couldn’t believe this was where, Lord willing, our kids would grow up.

I grew up out in the country, and took for granted the gold-mine that was my backyard. I grew up hiking through the woods, forging the river to a friends’ house, building forts from limbs and twigs, climbing trees, planting gardens, holding still and silent watching the deer creep by.

These days, though, it seemed you had to choose between a roof over your children’s heads OR a piece of land, so I had long ago given up the idea of raising my own kids out in the woods.

So, when we fell into this gift of a place, that had a roof and land, I knew it was meant for more than just our own personal pleasure — I wanted the gift of nature to bless others as well.

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How habits can help homeschooling this season

How habits can help homeschooling during the holidays
Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane

There’s a one-word banner I’m waving these days: Habits

The word probably doesn’t kindle a fire of passion or enthusiasm in your soul.

Yet.

Though you may not come alive when you hear the word habits, I will tell you this one-word anthem is revolutionizing our homeschool like nothing else has in a long time. [Read more…]

What can you do with a basket of sight words?

rightwards
Written by Kara Fleck

It all began with a list of sight words and an art class basket. A few months ago I was perusing our second grade curriculum and came across a list of sight words for second graders.

Most of them I knew that my daughter recognized, but there were some that were not a consistent part of her lexicon yet. So I thought it would be a good idea to use the list for some sight word practice.

But how to make it interesting and fun?

After watching her playing with leaves, I got an idea: why not print her sight words on leaves and give her a basket full of them to play with?

A quick Pinterest search led me to a printable leaf template, which I printed on red, orange, and yellow cardstock. Then we were off!

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