My experience both as a teacher and a parent is that once children have learnt to write, they get far more out of writing with a purpose than just writing for the sake of it.
I understand why schools seem to obsess over every lesson having produced some written content. How else can a teacher keep track of 30 children’s learning for several lessons a day? However at home this isn’t the case at all.
Think about how much writing you do as an adult. Do you ever just mindlessly fill in worksheets? Of course not. Adults are always writing with a purpose, our writing has meaning. We write for our jobs, letters or postcards, birthday cards, shopping lists, the list goes on.
From the very first marks that children make, their writing has meaning to them. I think it’s important for parents to recognise that and not get caught up in correct letter formation and spellings. That will all come with time, practise and encouragement. Writing with a purpose, in my opinion, is the way to encourage that.
Send A Postcard!
I think that postcards are a great place to start. Not only is it a fairly short activity, but postcards can be written by any age of child once they’ve started mark making. Plain postcards also make it a more creative activity as they need a picture too!
My daughters are six and 8 years old right now. Eleanor, eight, loves writing and will often go and write stories independently. Phoebe, six, writes sometimes, but usually if encouraged a little. If I asked them to fill in a worksheet or practise some handwriting, I know what kind of response I’d get. Not an enthusiastic one!
Given that everyone is staying in right now thanks to coronavirus, I thought that any writing we do could have the purpose of being sent to others. Postcards are perfect for this and so I bought a pack of plain ones from Amazon.
Writing With A Purpose
We wrote our first postcards this morning. The girls decided they were for Granny and Grandad and they drew some lovely pictures on the front for them. Giving them the opportunity to do this first meant that they were happy to do the writing on the other side because they were keen to get them posted.
Postcards are a lovely way to send something nice through the post and keep in touch with people. That’s something we definitely all need a bit more of right now. The girls are missing their grandparents and other family members so we’ll definitely be sending more postcards.
As far home education goes it’s a win win. They’re practising their handwriting, sentence structure, vocabulary. Not only that but they’re equating writing with having purpose and practicing kindness.