As homeschooling moms, we are always on the hunt for new and creative ways to encourage our kids to write. We try innovative writing programs and prompts that promise enthusiastic and proficient scribes. Worry and concern fill our minds when they struggle with or resist writing. As we strive to teach our children, if we are not also writing, we miss out on the blessings that the pen can bring.
The Page as a Trusted Friend
As a young girl, I often kept a diary. Sometime in my teens, I stopped chronicling my life. But, when my children were small, I turned to writing as a way to sort through my emotions, my thoughts, and of course, the events of my daily life.
Many days were hard, especially when there were four of them under age eight and they all had special needs challenges. My mind whirled with wrestling matches between my head and heart. I filled pages with my doubts and struggles, my moments of loneliness, but also my days of wonderful insights and breathtaking joy.
This cathartic ritual of divulging myself to the page helped me to stick with homeschooling, gave me perspective, and allowed me to pour out my heart without judgement. Try doing this. When you have a bad day and everything seems to be falling apart, then you can go to your journal and receive encouragement, too.
Prayer on the Page
A related way that writing blesses us is that it allows us to pray on the page. Many times, I have used my journaling as a cry to the Lord. When my tears clog my throat and I cannot utter my needs, I can still type.
If you keep a prayer book that tracks your requests and records when God answers them, try writing out the whole prayer, not just “… prayed that Michael would develop a hunger for the things of God.” That is a good prayer, but what is going on that caused you to pray that prayer?
Tell Jesus about your anxiety, your frustration, and the desires of your heart. Pray passionately on paper. Doing this helped me to see the fuller picture of how God changed me and my situation. My prayer life grew bolder and richer because I documented where my heart had been. Without doing this, I doubt I would have remembered accurately, and I would have missed the greater blessing.
A Creative Outlet
Not all of us feel gifted in the area of creative storytelling, but we all have an imagination. No one has to read your limericks, song lyrics, children’s tales, or bucket list of dreams.
Maybe you might write some stories just for your children. My youngest son begged me to tell him stories, “… from your mouth, mommy, from your mouth.” Due to his Asperger traits, he insisted that everything be about mice. So, to help him with reading, I wrote some stories that starred mice, rats, and squirrels.
Since he also liked themes of battles and secret kingdoms, I included those features, as well. It didn’t matter if the stories were good literature, and I didn’t care. He felt special because they were just for him, and I got a chance to try writing phonetic readers. (Ha! I have a new appreciation for those folks.)
Flexing the creative muscle keeps our minds fresh and sharp. Since words are such an integral part of everyday life, it’s a good idea to always be exercising our brains in this way. When your kids are doing their writing, why not do it with them?
A Record of Your Homeschooling Years
This is probably the most obvious reason to journal, but most of us probably don’t record our homeschooling years in this way. It can be time-consuming to keep a diary of what your family did every day. There are simpler, more efficient ways to do recordkeeping; so why create a homeschooling journal?
Coupled with scrapbooking, using a journal to record these years leaves you with a keepsake that is far more precious than a list of books and curricula. I did not do this every year, but for selected years, I did scrapbook and wrote about what we did. Those years remain vivid in my memory and gave me a window into the other years that have become hazy.
Sparkling moments of discovery should be documented, even if it is the time that your son learned that broken-up pieces of Styrofoam are nearly impossible to clean up. Create a Special Homeschooling Moments book and write this stuff down!
Don’t leave the writing to your kids. Get yourself a special pen and a pretty notebook, and set aside some time each day or week to do a little writing for yourself. See how this new habit blesses your life.
Copyright 2018, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms.