I’ve been thinking a lot about how distance learning affected our kids and what’s going to happen when they’re back in the classroom. One big loss from last year was writing. The literal act of writing letters and numbers on paper. Our kids spent the last 18 months on keyboards, not writing by hand. This is going to affect all our learners, but especially our kindergarteners and early primary grades. A solid foundation in the early years is essential to learning.
The ability to write is one of most important skills young learners develop. The better kids write, the easier it is for them to focus. Regular practice helps all kids develop mastery and an unconscious competency, so they can focus on what they’re learning, instead of what they’re writing.
We’ve got problems ahead, but there’s still time to lessen the impact.
Don’t sound the panic button just yet. Remember, the whole world was learning at home this past year. We’re all a little behind. Most importantly, never let on that anybody’s behind. Just do your parenting magic and practice the things I’ve listed here – and get those hands working, without them knowing why.
Draw, draw, color. Never underestimate the value of time spent drawing and coloring. Young kids like to draw. They like to make pictures. Time spent drawing is the most natural way to get them more comfortable with pencil and paper. When kids are drawing and coloring, they learn focus, while strengthening their pincher grasp, fine motor skills, endurance and patience. In time, the confidence they gain drawing will flow into their handwriting.
Practice, practice, practice. Writing is too important a skill to be left to the classroom teacher alone, especially after a year that is going to require catch up in so many areas. Even though we hope to be done with home learning this year, daily handwriting practice can easily become part of homework. You need some lined paper, with the right sized lines for their age, a pencil and eraser. Keep writing time simple, brief and lighthearted. We want them to practice and become more and more competent, without stressing them out.
Mix it up. To keep things interesting, mix it up a bit. Nobody wants to do same old worksheets every day. And coming up with something new takes time. So, we’ve put together a fun collection of drawing and writing activities for your young learner. In 7 Days to Better Handwriting, young writers will doodle, draw and write their way to improved handwriting, while keeping it light and fun. Each day includes a special drawing and writing activity page, for your kids to complete.
We’re in this together, so please share. Do you think your kids got enough writing time last year? Are you concerned? What kinds of things have you been doing, or want to do, to get ready for school?