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The Habit of Writing, Part One

Time to write thank you notes! (Shhh – My children think they are getting out of handwriting for the school day). That’s because it’s fun! When we compose thank you notes we are:

  • pulling out scrapbook or construction paper to make note cards
  • using stickers, paint, markers, crayons
  • drawing, sketching
  • being creative

Though they aren’t opening their handwriting books this day, writing thank you notes gives them their very best handwriting practice. Plus spelling and grammar. They also must be creative in thinking of how they are grateful or what they are grateful for. If notes are composed shortly after a field trip, my students are also practicing comprehension.
But most of all, writing thank you notes is polishing basic, good manners.

A few thank you note tips:

  • Keep it brief. In the mail, we received a thank you from a cousin. “Thank you for the money. Now I’m rich!” – Short and sweet. And it sure made us laugh!
  • Sample notes. I recently read about a great idea on this same topic. One family keeps a file folder full of examples of good thank you notes. If a child is “stuck” simply pull out the folder, thumb through the offerings and the task is no longer overwhelming.
  • Reluctant writer? Compose a family-wide thank you note. After Christmas, we composed family thank yous to aunts and uncles. I wrote a sentence or two for the youngest boy. The littlest girl dictated to me what she wished to convey. “You are so smart to give me that snowman ornament!” four-year-old said. Then each of the older children wrote just a line or two on the same note. The finished product was cute and brightened a mailbox.

Lately we’ve taken writing thank you notes a step further. Eight-year-old recently had a birthday, so I suggested to her that she pull out a Draw, Write Now book. Choose a picture she’d like to draw and then write her thank you at the bottom. This got everyone started and led to a fun (yes, and messy) afternoon of creativity.

We’ve even mailed paint with water pictures as a thank you from toddlers 🙂 Or taken a photo of the books picked out with the gift card a grandparent gave a child.

Most of all – make it fun! It can be a pleasant break in the homeschool day – or any day!

Ok. Now, what do you say? Thank you!

updated from the December 09 Hodgepodge archives

Don’t miss Kerri’s wonderfully practical tips on writing notes in her Planning to be Spontaneous series: The Write Stuff. Next up, ideas for creative writing and writing prompts for children.

I’m sure many of you are already doing these type things but could help us all along with this friendly habit. Would you, pretty please, add your fun writing tips?