What Started It All

Our daughter's love of reading was a huge catalyst on our free schooling journey. We had been using a great literature heavy curriculum but what I noticed was that during the school year when we were up to our elbows in assignments even though they were great and we were enjoying them when we were done with school she didn’t want to read. She had gotten her fill and couldn’t digest any more. But when summer would roll around she was reading stacks on stacks of books.

I stepped back and started to ask myself why that might be and what I could do to help continue to better feed her reading appetite year round. I decided that it was time to ditch the curriculum and give our own thing a try. When the school year started I let her pick whatever books she wanted to read from the library. There was no assigned reading. It was all about what grabbed her interest.

At that time she was really into making pretend youtube videos with her little brother. She wanted to have a youtube channel and an instagram. I wasn’t quite ready for all that so we made a deal. I told her that if she wrote book reviews I would share them on my instagram. She loved that idea and so we ran with it.

Instead of focusing on spelling, grammar, and punctuation I just let her thoughts and words be the focus. Over the years I've seen how this exercise blossomed into her love for writing. I think back on how I could have corrected all her spelling errors and shifted the focus to sentence structure and punctuation rules but I feel like that could have easily held her back on subsequent reviews, always being concerned that she was going to break some writing rule.

There's a time and place to learn those types of things but I had to ask myself what was the goal? What was I wanting to help her to accomplish? And in this instance looking back I see that freeing her from the rules paid off. She loves to write and has confidence when she puts her pen to the paper (or more accurately her fingers to the keyboard)

It's scary but it's ok to free our kids from the rules and arbitrary expectations. They'll be alright, maybe even better for it ♥️ Iz’s short hand written book reviews have turned into her own book review blog, an ongoing book project, and lots of short stories.