Spontaneous writing, home ed meetings and a going-to-sleep game
This morning she's been writing a shopping list:
and a 'thank you' letter to the postman for doing his job!
She posted it back through the letter box, for him to see and collect in the morning:
She sometimes tries to work out how to spell words by the sound of them, which is a problem if her pronunciation is at odds with the accepted spelling, but hearing the spelling makes her realise that her punctuation was 'wrong', so that's a learning process too. Sometimes she asks me to sound out the letters for her, and then it varies as to whether she's happy to just hear the letter sounds, or whether she prefers the Letterland characters. She often jumps up and goes to look at either her Letterland machine:
or her computer keyboard to remind herself of how a letter looks, and then there are issues regarding the way she holds her pen and the way she forms the letters, with which I'm itching to intervene but resisting the temptation. I've offered tuition on both, but it's been declined so hopefully these will work themselves out, or she'll change her mind on the tuition. She's also copying capital letters from the keyboard and cursive from the Letterland machine, so the results are a mixture of the two! But she's only four, so there's time to sort all that out.
So why does she want to write by hand, when her PC is always on and available and she can express herself on screen instead, if she so chooses? It seems reasonable to assume that she'd invariably opt for the 'easy' way instead of the one that requires more effort.
But she loves using pen and paper. Perhaps it's something to do with neural pathways and genetics, because I get more pleasure and satisfaction from using pen and paper than I do from using a keyboard.
It's possible that she's emulating me, in my unthinking routine habits which she obviously constantly observes. I hand-write shopping lists, reminder notes, and my diary. Lyddie also loves the whole idea of snail mail post. She was very enthusiastic about email a few months ago, and still loves to create pictures on MS paint then copy and paste her efforts into emails to send to friends and family. But her latest hobby regarding that is to draw, colour or paint a picture on paper, scan it and then email the results.
So the use of actual paper is obviously important for her in the process of expressing herself and communicating with the world.
Also, we played a great game last night, going to sleep: guess the story character. E.g. "He's got a blue coat, big ears and is very naughty." "Peter Rabbit!"
I was surprised how many characters we both knew - dozens! The game lasted for about half an hour and we both enjoyed it.
Yesterday's home ed meeting ended up with a few families back at our house for the afternoon and we parents-of-teens got to chatting about handwriting skills, and how they're naturally picked up and put down in phases throughout the course of growing up. Our older children are all preparing for college and uni now and are all extremely adept at communicating and expressing their thoughts eloquently and very rapidly by computer, but not so hot at handwriting.
As parents we were wondering how relevant and necessary handwriting is, in the modern world, and how worried we should be about it on behalf of our offspring. We're all still offering tuition and help to our teens, of course, but it's not often taken up. But we reached the consensus anyway, that if a person wanted or needed to write on paper a lot, the style would quickly develop anyway and they wouldn't struggle for long.
Yesterday's get-together was very beneficial for us parents as well as for the children. These are real-life friends I made years ago at the very early home ed meetings we attended after deregistering. The children have all grown up together and as parents we've been there for the highs and lows, the celebrations, commiserations and above all, the worries about our children's home ed. We've had some very minor problems with one or two families over the years, but on the whole it's been a very good to have been in real life contact with other home ed families. It's something else we were saying yesterday: how glad we are to still be friends and to have known one another throughout.
I'm glad we set up our local home ed meetings all those years ago and have kept them going week in and week out. It's been well worth the bother.