Today is the first day of summer! As a homeschooling family, we are officially “off” from school, but we still have a basic structure for most days. I see summer as a time to enjoy the weather, maintain academic skills gained in the last year (e.g., reading, writing, math), have family time, see friends, and travel. As I explained in a previous post, we are following a structure inspired by Power of Moms. Most days of summer, my children are required to do their daily chores and “Daily Must Do’s,” including reading, writing, and math. Today, I will highlight our “Daily Must Do’s” for writing. My children are ages 8, 6.5, and 3.
My elementary aged children are required to do some writing daily. It might take 5-minutes, or it might take 30-minutes. I provide some ideas and resources, and they choose. When they are done, they show me. I correct spelling and grammar, but I am not too strict on it. I want them to enjoy the writing process.
For June, our theme for writing is a nature journal. I will likely switch to a reading journal in July. For August, we’ll have writing prompts. They won’t have time to fill all of the journals during the summer. I plan to continue them during the school year sometimes.
Here is a book that my daughter (8) is using as a nature journal:
Here is a book that my son (6.5) is using.
My Nature Book has a nice balance for fill in the blank and open ended prompts. There are places to draw pictures, too.
For my youngest, I give her coloring pages, preferably with a nature theme. Mostly, I let her do what she wants. She is just learning to write upper case letters and can only write a few words with help. Instead, I encourage drawing and coloring. She is learning by seeing her big siblings write and draw. I find great value in her coloring. At age 3, she is developing her fine motor skills which are essential for later handwriting development. When she colors for 5-10 minutes, she is working on the skill of staying focused on an activity in one spot; that’s a helpful skill that will help her in homeschooling in the future.
Here are some other books the children have available for writing time and when they are outside thinking about nature:
The Sesame Street Nature book doesn’t have many places for writing, but it is a nice way to introduce a young child to the idea of using a book when thinking about nature. There are some writing prompts, a lot of activities (e.g., color flowers, connect the dos with a picture from nature), dry-erase matching pages, and blank pages for drawing. We somehow had two of these lying around the house and now we use them for our “Nature Journal” time.
I love how these books provide some background on topics, and then provide chances for the children to write. The nature journals really help fit in so many academic goals–reading, writing, nature appreciation, science, and art.