Friday marked the last day of term for the minimas and I have been busy preparing for our summer. We are pretty freerange over the summer and I am a big believer in not over scheduling the boys or myself. But I find that the cleaning definitely takes a back seat, so I have been looking for cleaning hacks that can make our lives easier and get the boys involved more.
Even though we have been having a #’freerangesummer, I have been trying to make sure the boys still do some writing and record what we have been doing this summer and I was delighted to see this fab video that the Etherington Brothers made where they give Scottish Friendly some of their top-tips for creating a comic.
In fact it inspired some comic strip making in The Mad House. Firstly I printed off some blank comic strip layouts and we discussed what we wanted to make a comic about and the boys and their friends they were going to do ones about their day at Lightwater Valley.
We are really focussing on trying to encourage our boys to move away from the electronic and take up more tactile pursuits! I gave you some ideas for encouraging writing earlier in the week, but I wanted to concentrate on recording holiday memories this time. When I was younger one of the most exciting aspects of any family holiday was receiving the developed film back from the chemist and putting together an album of the photographs and writing the name of the holiday in the inside page.
In todays digital world I find that my images stay on my PC, phone and on the digital photo frame we have and that made me sad, so I decided to encourage Maxi to make a scrapbook of our recent Orlando visit. This was made even easier as we were gifted a whole host of scrapbooking things in a travel theme from
Whilst we were in Orlando Maxi made sure that he took maps, leaflets and keep all his tickets in to the theme parks, so in addition to any pictures I printed out he could also keep all this memorabilia and have a wonderful physical memory of our holiday.
Firstly we sat at the PC and decided which images to print. In future I think that I would send them off to an online provider to print, that way we could have a better quality print.
Then we cut all the photographs out using the guillotine and then I let Maxi lose with the glue and a pen!
As much as I wanted everything to be neat and in a certain way, I knew that it was best that I just stayed on the sideline and let him fill the scrapbook in how he wanted it to be. Afterall this is his holiday memories we are recording.
With the onslaught of electronics in todays lifestyle writing can sometimes take a backseat and I for one am keep to encouraging writing in my boys. I think the fact that Maxi is both a reluctant reader and writer makes me more determined to find ways to encourage this skill. Mini who is nearly seven loves to read and write and can often be found with a notebook and pencil in hand and is keen to improve his handwriting as he wants to get awarded a handwriting pen at school.
Over the summer holidays last year we focussed a lot on writing and pen skills including making our own books, creating a writing centre and making memory stones.
One of the things that I discovered was that good quality writing equipment was key in helping both the boys Triangular and wide pencils were easier for them to grip[ and paper with lines on made it easier too. Good quality paper that they can press on without ripping is essential. I also found that providing them with notebooks and letter writing stationery or their own choice helped to encourage them.
Now the boys are a little older (eight and nearly seven) we have moved on and they are currently filling in a Q&A a day for children journal each night before bed. These are brilliant journals, which asks a simple question each night and your child completes it. It is only a sentence, so fast and simple to do before bed. I want the boys to get in to the habit of writing and feel this is a fantastic way to do that,m plus a good way of recording how their answers change each year.
Maxi is also putting together a scrapbook style journal of our recent trip to Orlando (more about that in the near future).
Both the boys also have a penpal that they write too. This is a great way of encouraging writing, penmanship and also communication skills. They choose their own stationery and learn the joy of sending and receiving letters. We have even been collecting stamps to make a display with. I know that the boys are excited to use the special edition Dr Who Royal Mail stamps (released to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who this year) on their next letters.
This summer is going to be the summer of writing at The Mad House and we would like you to join us. I have blogged about encouraging and nurturing writing in boys and why writing is so important. Good writers make good readers and vice versa, but good writers also make great students. The speed and ease or children’s writing has been found to gave an impact on children’s success. Efficient writing (legible, almost effortless and quick flowing) helps ensure that children’s pencils can keep up with their thoughts.
So the plan is to have weekly tasks and to make time to do them in our days. They are going to be both fun and enjoyable and something that we can do as a family and I would love for you to join in with us.
Create a writing Center
o this summer we will be doing the following:
Sending postcards – my boys love receiving mail and postcards are a great starting point to encouraging writing. They do not need a lot of completing and are great fun to collect, write, stamp and post.
Keeping a scrapbook – We are going to keep a book and include in it all the things we do over the summer. Keep receipts, ticket stubs, print out photographs and add personal notes to it
Make our own note paper – I thing that by making our own notepaper of letterhead then I can encourage the boys to do paper work whilst I am.
Write our own Newspaper – Everyday is filled with news, but looking at what has happened over the day we can p
One of the things that came out of blogcamp Manchester for me was the fact that it is key to develop your own voice or writing style and to stick with it thorough out your blog.
It made my day to listen to two strong, unique and inspirationsal women discuss why they blog and how they developed their writing style. Neither was apologetic for the things they did. Muireann from Bangs and Bun is a funny, feisty and unforgettable powerhouse of words. She isn’t afraid to use them and share the outcome of them with her readers. I love the fact that she doesn’t police comments on the blog and acknowledges that people can have differences of opinion.
My boys are like chalk and cheese, as I have said before. Maxi was writing by age three, whereas, Mini really doesn’t enjoy mark making or writing. He is a perfectionist and gets upset that it doesn’t look like he thinks it is supposed to, this isn’t helping in mu opinion with the school teaching cursive handwriting from Reception. Up to now this hasn’t been an issue for him, but it is really starting to get him down and also to hold him back. Why you ask? Well he knows all his letters and sounds and is a great phonic reader, but he is so reticent about writing that the school more »