Writing – a dying art or a necessity?


Like maths and reading, learning to write (as one of the three R’s), can be  worrying for some parents who unschool.   Again, like reading we are measured against the school system.  So if your child isn’t writing stories about what they did in the weekend by the time they are 6 years old, society may tell you that your child is behind, or missing out, or not learning all they should be….

Well, stop worrying!  Like reading, like walking and  like talking children will learn to write when they need to.

The thing these days is when do you need to write?  How much writing do you do  in your everyday life?  In your job?  The times they are a changin’ and as much as I love the written word, (I buy notebooks and new pens because I love them),  computers are a big part of everyday life.  In many cases they are even more that that.  There are paper-free classrooms popping up all over the country and children leaving high school hardly able 2 rite prpr englsh n e more bt who R gr8 texters….

I know I even write  ‘ur’ or ‘2’ sometimes, which shows how out of practice I am in putting pen to paper…

What do I write?  – Birthday cards
– lists (lots of these)
– quick notes to remind me or others to put the rubbish bins out/ not eat all the chocolate                                       – occasional letters to my Grandmother (the only recipient of a real letter these days)

Ummm….yep, that is about all…
(Oh I do keep a gratitude diary too, and I have alot to be grateful for, but mostly draw lovely flowers and hearts around a short sentence.)

So not that much.  No stories about what I did in the holidays that is for sure.
My novel is on the computer.  Ditto any children’s books I will write, my blog, emails…..

And so the kids… how amazing to see them picking up new skills.  Ollie said the other day how pleased he is with his typing skills.  He has always hated to write and it is lovely to see him just doing it for fun as he gets older.  He wrote a song this morning, wrote the whole thing out (and performed it at a homeschool event this afternoon too!!).  In the holidays he even started a journal!  He keeps lists in notebooks of survival items, and takes notes from survival books that would please any year 7 teacher trying to teach note taking!

I often tell other parents not to  worry.  It will come.  All good things take time.  When they need it, they will do it.

I  always promptly help spell out a word when asked, never get them to “sound it out”  (how frustrating when you are in the middle of making a treasure map and need to stop to perform for an adult who holds all the power!!).

One of the things that I quickly learned to let go of when we started unschooling was to have written “proof”.             I have never made the kids write down something to prove that they know it.  We have conversations, deep thinking, reading, questions, more chats, but hardly ever any written proof that they have learned, or retained knowledge from the topic.  And that is OK.  As I have said before it is none of my business what they need to learn.  I always offer to help them if they would like to write  better, or more neatly ( not my forte!).

We have signs all over the house from  Charlies businesses (I get alot of comments about the massage service and the gambling…) all so relevant, all done with passion.
All proof that when they need to, children will write, so let them play and trust that you will be called upon to spell out the odd word or ten to aid them in their life’s work – play.


3 responses »

  1. Jane,
    I have just, over the past couple of hours, read your entire blog and it has blown me away! You make me feel quite inadequate as a parent. You are obviously doing a brilliant job with your kids. I hope I get the chance to meet them all at some time in the future. It is 18 years since I was last over in NZ with you all after Sue died.
    Keep up the postings I look forward to reading more.

  2. Hi Jane
    Lovely post, especially as we have child who is not into writing, but can spend hours talking about a particular topic


    • Thanks Sally,
      Yes it is hard when they are expected to be doing a certain thing at a certain age!
      Does he like to type?
      Still, there are plenty of people who can’t express themselves verbally, so maybe that is his thing!

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