In many American schools, the writing component is generally students’ weakest area. As text messaging and online social networks gradually lessen the demand for formalized writing, school districts continue to be held accountable for producing students with excellent grammar skills. To help schools in this endeavor, parents can incorporate writing as a family hobby. This article explores various methods of making writing a family hobby.
The Wilkerson family, a blended family consisting of a dad, step-mom, and three children (ages 13, 12, 7) has made it a point to include writing as a hobby for their family. They are on a mission to continue those efforts, since the impact on their kids is so significant to improving their reading skills and helping their children find success at school.
The family uses many strategies to encourage writing as a hobby. First and foremost, the adults of the family model writing. For example, the father, Brian, actively discusses the plot and characterization of his science fiction novel ideas with the children, and he also recently returned to publishing historical and nursing related articles at Associated Content from Yahoo!. (Source: Brian’s AC page.) Likewise, the step-mom, Kristen, has written online articles for over a year and a half at two major websites, Examiner.com and Associated Content. (Sources: Kristen’s Examiner page and AC page.) Both parents share their articles with the children, demonstrating first-hand how important writing skills are to their family. The children grow up learning that writing in a family is valued, natural, and important.
The children also share in writing as a hobby, but in varying degrees. Their eldest daughter (13) has hand written numerous chapters of her vampire / teen characters for several years into various notebooks. She illustrates them, adding more detail to the character descriptions as she ages. Recently, she has aspired to follow and write fan fiction online – a modern trend among teens.
One strategy for a family with younger children is to have a child verbally answer informal interview questions about their story prior to writing. This allows them to formalize their thinking and gives them the ability to return to their thoughts at a later date. This is very helpful when a child’s brain runs faster than their ability to write it down.
Younger children may not have the patience to sit for long periods of time. As such, families who include writing as their hobby can encourage shorter works. Have children write haiku about their family traditions, like the Mom’s Memories Haiku Series. Children can always write (and illustrate) thank you letters or birthday cards for family or friends. These creations can be scanned and shared online with various family, or included in a family blog. Looking back at the blog after the children grow up will make them remember those special times spent together as a family.
Some other ideas to encourage children to write is to maintain a journal about family vacations. They can document in their own handwriting their opinions and experiences, again scanning them as keepsake images. Other prompts include having a child with an active imagination write a business plan about what product he or she would create to potentially get rich. (They might just do it!) If spelling is an issue, encourage children to sound out the words and emphasize spelling since others in the world will be seeing their results. This also helps them produce higher quality work at school.
Visitors who stay at your home can also become part of a family’s writing tradition. Some people have guests write a paragraph about their visit, and later attach a photo to it. Doing this in an online format makes it easier to share with these guests at a later date as well. Have the guest sit down at your laptop, iPad, or computer and post to your family blog about their visit.
No matter how a family incorporates a writing hobby into their family, the importance of doing so is overwhelming. Kids learn the value of their own ideas, helping their self esteem. They realized that their parents find writing important, thus they tend to as well. Children discover the value of brainstorming, revising, and striving for an attention to detail needed in so many parts of life. It is no doubt that a family who chooses to write as a hobby has made a healthy choice.
Do you write in your home? Does your family include writing as a hobby? Please comment below.
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