Monday, January 4, 2010

Homeschooling Hands On: Writing Thank You Notes

I wrote this in Dec. 2008 as a contributing article over at Happy to be at Home, and decided that I would repost it on my blog for my readers as the first article in my series "Homeschooling Hands On".

The holidays are now over and gifts that the kids received are still the “in thing” and not sitting on a shelf somewhere or thrown into the bottom of the closet and buried. It is time now to start getting back in the groove of doing school-related things. It usually takes us a few days to get back into our routine and schedule, so I take it slow and start our school week with some fun learning activities.
One activity that we do that is fun and a great way for getting the kids writing again is thank you notes. Yes, the kids take the time to write thank you notes to their grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other people that they received gifts from over the holidays. I know what you are thinking: But they said thank you already along with hugs and kisses. Isn’t that enough!?
Well, actually it can be enough, BUT why not have the kids write and send thank you notes? Think of the learning that is taking place without them even realizing it in doing the thank you notes…writing sentences (along with going through the writing process), creative writing, signing their name, addressing an envelope (just my older kids do this as their writing is legible enough for the postmaster), and just the act of showing gratitude(a great character quality to instill).
Did you know that writing thank you notes are not just for the older kids? The younger kids can get in the fun as well with drawing pictures and scribbles and having an older child or parent help them with the writing by asking them about their picture or what they would like to write in their thank you note. This interaction is good because not only are the younger ones feeling a part of things, but it is showing the younger ones that “scribbles” have meaning. They are also learning that learning can be fun!
As for the materials we use for our thank you notes, I pick up a pack of 10 thank you cards from the dollar store for the older kids to use if they choose. However,they usually just like using a piece of printer paper or a half-sheet of construction paper and make their own cards using markers or crayons.  And sometimes we will even print off clipart pictures for them to cut out and glue on to their cards. I also have a collection of old greeting cards that they use for some of their pictures. They love to use their imagination and creativity to make their own unique cards.
This is just one of the ways I teach my kids without always having to use a textbook or workbook. There are many other ways, of course, but I will save those for another time and post!
I would love to hear from you! Do you have your children write thank you notes or letters to relatives or friends?

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