When you write, you need a lot of paper. Bookmaking is DEF on the collective to-do list (Matt has for years been on the verge of signing the two of us up for a bookmaking class at Pygmalion's, but has always been thwarted by family nights at the girls' school or classes that I'm teaching or classes that he's taking, etc.), as is a beater laptop for the girls (not exactly PAPER paper, but you know what I mean). And, of course, there's an ample supply of notebooks and blank paper and dry-erase boards and chalkboards and scrapbook paper and whatever. But we always seem to be out of that nice, wide-ruled, newsprint tablet paper that little children have learned to write on since god knows when.
So I bought us a buttload from Lakeshore Learning (I could have gotten a reasonable amount for free from Amazon with my swagbucks, but what's the point of a reasonable amount when you can buy a year's worth?). And how fun! Did you know there's kindergarten-ruled tablet paper AND first-grade ruled tablet paper (it's narrower) AND really big story tablet paper with a blank area at the top for illustration? Of course I bought it all. We're homeschooling next academic year, ya know.
So often, as I drink a big mug of coffee and read the newspaper every morning, the girls join me for some time of quiet industry (I don't know where they get that impulse--most of my own life is spent avoiding quiet industry at all costs). Sometimes they have workbooks, sometimes they have coloring pages, and sometimes they have tablet paper for the writing of stories or the catching-up of their correspondence.
Sydney dictates to me, and then I leave a space below each line for her to play at copying. I love the look of concentration on her face here:
Willow will dictate her entire piece to me, and then re-copy it onto her own paper:
I've been pointing out to her the spaces between words, but it hasn't caught on yet, so I'm sure that receiving one of her letters is like having your own little mental puzzle to work through--good for the mind, keeps you from getting Alzheimer's.
My favorite thing, however, is when a girl draws a picture, then dictates a story about it. Here's part of Sydney's writings (the illustration tablet paper is BIG, and won't all fit on my scanner) about various creatures that have crowns and thus are royalty:
If you like what you can see of her story about Ladybug Crowny, you should hear some of the adventures of Princess Kitty.