October 2012

The Write Start

This guide to writing for kiddos might just be worth the buy.

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.

Making The Grade: Everything Your First Grader Needs To Know

A book that offers cool ideas for learning outside of the typical classroom.

Though my family unschools, we do appreciate curriculum resources now and then. My daughter will select something out of Hirsch’s What Your First Grader Needs to Know every now and then for us to read together. So when I saw Making the Grade: Everything Your 1st Grader Needs to Know at the library, I thought I’d check it out—and I’m glad I did so far.

This book is so much better than the former that I mentioned! Not only is it much more fun to read and look at—it also has so many cool ideas for going outside the typical classroom and learning in your own community. There are a bunch of field trip ideas, as well as variations on different learning experiences to let children pick and choose how they want to learn. Not only that, there’s a key quote at the beginning of the book that makes my heart sing: “Follow your child’s interests, as it will making learning fun and valuable.” YES! That is the whole unschooling philosophy! I would scratch out valuable since we all know what society deems valuable (money) and write in “meaningful” if it were my book.