Saturday, October 6, 2012

Letters to Loved Ones

For the past three weeks we've been doing some letter writing, and so far I'm loving it for these three reasons:

  1. I can get Willow to do it without much fuss about once a week. Although the copywork is tedious (of course), I think that she finds the composition interesting, and the activity novel.
  2. It's a productive schoolwork, something that we do in real life and that has real-life results.
  3. I feel like it helps the girls connect to our extended family, all of whom live very far away.
So far, the girls have written letters to their Uncle Chad, their Grandma Janie, and their Uncle Mac (who's not a blood uncle, but a close friend of mine who also loves the girls--does everyone have a couple of courtesy aunts and uncles in the family, or is that just a Southern thing?). Our letter writing kind of follows the Classical Education model in that first, they dictate the letter to me, while I copy it out onto a dry-erase board and make some compositional suggestions, things like "Grandma Janie asked about Disney World in her last email; you should tell her a little about it now."

The Classical Education model would want me to hold on to my dictation and present it with them at a separate time for copywork (and Sydney would be too young to copy it at all), but I then give the letter right to them, and expect that they sit right down and copy it out before the dry erase marker gets smudged or we need it for something else:

This is also a good time for me to sit down and write my own letter to "Uncle" Mac, or to collect a few photos of the girls that their Uncle Chad has been asking for, etc.

I address the envelopes myself, but the girls stuff them, and I used to permit them to decorate the envelopes, too, but the last time I did this I had to re-write the address on top of some very exuberant decoration and I'm still not certain that it was completely legible, so that may not be part of the game in the future.

We've got a couple of other people to write in the next couple of weeks--friends the next town over, the other grandma--and then, hopefully, the return correspondence will begin to arrive, and we can start the game all over again!

So, it costs 45 cents to get two kids to practice their handwriting, test their composition skills, and develop relationships with family and friends. 

Not a bad investment!


Tina said...

For a while we had been sending post cards to friends and family with a few questions (what's your favorite color, etc.) so that people would know we wanted them to write back. No one ever did. Not so much fun to send mail but never get a response.

I hope the girls have better luck!

julie said...

I am so afraid of that! I'm pretty sure that I know who will write back (one grandma, my close friend) and who won't (everyone else!), and yeah, I won't have the girls write again to someone who doesn't respond--how mean! If I can't find enough people to write back from the girls' actual family, I may have them write to their homeschool friends who live here, because I'm pretty sure that their Mommas would make them write back, too--anything for an English exercise!

Malke Rosenfeld said...

This is great -- I think we're going to add this to our week, just the way you described it. Sounds perfect for my second grader who needs a little more writing practice than she currently gets. :-)


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