The ability to read and write is not, in itself a sufficient ambition. What is of supreme importance is bringing about, in a child, a desire to read and write: this is the Holy Grail. - Montessori Read and Write, Lynne Lawrence.
I recently wrote that I was not correcting Caspar's spelling. At his stage in development I want him to be able to write - just write without the focus on spelling, grammar or other corrections. Just to enjoy it! The more he writes the better. I want him to write freely, with abandon, uncorrected, unjudged.
There are lots of opportunities for writing as a part of everyday living - notes, signs, letters, labels, lists, pretend/role play and on research projects. However having him out of school I really wanted to ensure no matter how busy we are that there is an opportunity for writing daily (even when travelling). For both of my children I want to ensure we have an environment that supports writing (and/or drawing) as a daily habit - a healthy batch of daily expression! But how do you create this without forcing it, without prompting it? I knew it was with journalling.
Expression and communication is really the reason behind writing - gosh kids have so much to express (I'm not sure what Otis is expressing above!). It's therapeutic. I started by introducing a journal to both boys about a three weeks ago. Otis' journal is a basic blank project book and Caspar's journal has the top third of the page blank (for pictures) and the rest of the page is lined (for writing).
Otis will usually only go to his journal if he see Caspar using his. However Caspar now uses his every single day. When introducing Caspar to the idea of a journal I spoke to him about using it daily, I spoke of how he could use it to record his day, something to do at the end of the day. I asked him to give it a go. This only lasted a week. Caspar said he was too tired in the afternoon and it wasn't working for him. So he started journaling in the morning (often as soon as he gets up) - and not as a record of his day however there are often daily reflections in there. He will draw a picture and only a few sentences - perhaps about a book he has read or about something he has done with Otis. We have created a daily habit of journalling, it's everyday, it's expression and it's with abandon.
As a parent I've found the process of my children using a daily journal really freeing. For Caspar it's a habit - I don't have to worry about him. I don't have to question is he writing - am I doing enough to encourage him. I also know with more writing will come improved handwriting, improved spelling. It's happening.