Yesterday I checked a copy of Jennifer Hallissy’s The Write Start: A Guide to Nurturing Writing at Every Stage, From Scribbling to Forming Letters and Writing Stories from the library. Many of the people who follow my blogs know that my family unschools (we prefer “self-directed learning,” “life learning,” or my favorite, “autodidactic learning”—anything but schooling, which has little to do with learning) so I do get e-mails or questions from friends about why I still seek out books like this one.
You have to keep in mind that unschooling doesn’t mean “not using a book or curriculum.” In fact, many unschoolers use a curriculum at one point or another (and most use books quite often, of course). I check out lots of resources to run by my wood sprite, who gives them her yay or nay. This time, however, I checked out the book to help me prep for a new co-op class I’m leading about creative writing.I think this book will really help me out. It includes “52 playful activities,” which is enough for one a week—or maybe two per class, depending on how much time I’ve got. I’ve been teaching some classes already but I fear they’ve been a little too old for some of the kids. Hallisy’s book breaks down various activities for kids who can and cannot write yet, which is exactly what I need.
It really is the perfect how-to book. Every activity is prefaced with a list of needed materials, which always comes in handy. Then there’s a very simple how-to description followed by variations you can use for different kids’ needs. Four different variations are included: scribblers, spellers, storytellers, and scholars. Yes, it’s cute, but it also makes sense: kids who scribble, after all, want to be included just as well as the kids who spell a bit (the kids I’ll be teaching fall into these two categories for the most part)—and older kids will want to be challenged. Activities range from writing poetry to creating edible alphabet characters, so you know there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
I’m thinking that I’m going to need to buy my own copy because this book really does seem that helpful. Once the co-op starts going (we begin this Wednesday!) I will know for sure. Every other week, I’ll be teaching a conversational Spanish class as well; anyone have any ideas for that one?