I have an almost 7yo ds who is not writing much. He can write his name and numbers and letters and short words when I spell them for him but he's never written a sentence. I've been trying to find fun ways to get him writing more. What's better than a letter to Santa, right? Except that he refuses to write it. I offered to spell out each word if he needs that. I offered to write it out for him first so he can copy it. He will not do it. He wants me to write it for him but I really want him to write it.
Should I keep trying to encourage him to write it himself or just let it go and write it for him? I would never try to force him to write it. I wouldn't get angry and intimidating or anything like that.
SAHM to 3 boys and 1 man; 22 , 9, 5 and now 1 year old!
Write it for him! That's what he's asking for, isn't he? Encouragement is fine and good, but you said he's refusing and will not do it and wants you to write for him. That's pretty clear. Anything beyond whatever encouragement you've already given would be nagging or coercion, both of which are likely to produce a net negative effect on his motivation to write any time in the future. Even without anger or intimidation the message you'd be giving him is "This is super important to me, and you're not living up to my expectations on this." The bottom line he'd be feeling would be "I suck at writing and I hate it and my mom is disappointed in me for it."
Just write the Santa letter. Let him see written communication be an enjoyable process, and feel excited about sending a letter. That will be a far more positive message.
Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grown-ups
I'm with Miranda. Just write it for him. Or maybe he'd like to type instead? Rain has loved typing on old typewriters since she was 3 or so... today she adores her vintage Olivetti.
IMO most schools push writing a lot sooner than many kids are developmentally ready to do it, because it really is helpful to have written work to look at when you're trying to evaluate 20 or 30 students. If you're unschooling, though, you don't have that need.
Kids write when they're ready. Rain really didn't write much by hand until she was 10 or so... she writes just fine today, in print and cursive - she actually loves writing letters to people. Some of the things she did write at 6 were birthday cards for friends and items we needed to get at the grocery store (we kept a shopping list on the refrigerator)... but I think the more you push or encourage it, the more he'll resist. Those things were just part of our lives.
I think three of my best unschooling tips would be:
1. If a kid asks what something says, read it to him
2. If a kid asks how to spell something, spell it for him
3. If a kid asks you to write something, write it for him
Single mom to Rain (1/93) , grad student, and world traveler
My son hated writing, by hand that is. He still does at 19. (The irony of course is that he's a super talented writer LOL) He hated the feeling of it, and it never seemed to "work" for him... or rather he just doesn't work that way.
Typing was and remains his salvation. Of course he can write by hand, he saw it as a bit of a challenge for a time, but he'd never choose to do it just because.
Maybe he'd like to do a letter to Santa pictoral (err "ransom letter") style by cutting out letters and pictures from a magazine? Exposure to letters, words, and language is so much more important than handwriting IMO. :)
Embrace the learning that is happening within the things that are actually happening!
Maybe he "forgets" how to make letters. I recently did the trial use of www.startwrite.com worksheet maker. Maybe he would feel better dictating to you what he wants the letter to say, you type it into this program, and then he copies over the letter?
Just a suggestion.
Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, and cane sugar free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it. See me at
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Haha, unschoolnma, a ransom letter to Santa. I hadn't thought of that.
Sorry it has taken me so long to respond to this. I haven't been getting email notifications and thought I only got the first two responses. Completely opposite opinions that really helped clear things up. LOL
Actually, Meredith, I really liked your reasoning. It makes sense to me. I really think my ds is just not ready to write yet. He has a hard time forming the letters neatly, which I don't care about but he does. He gets upset if they are too big or not in the lines properly and such. We do have chalkboards and dry erase boards. He writes on those periodically in spurts.
I'm starting to feel the pressure a bit because we have to register as homeschoolers next month, when he's 7. Then we have to do annual standardized testing, which makes me nervous. It's silly on my part, I know. We don't have to show the test scores to anyone and I can choose any level test I want. Anyone with any sense would be able to instantly tell from talking to him that he's not ignorant or behind or being educationally neglected. I also feel the pressure sometimes because his friends his age are now writing and reading for school. In my mind, I compare sometimes. I need to stop that, let it go.
SAHM to 3 boys and 1 man; 22 , 9, 5 and now 1 year old!
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