Mr. T’s homeschool conference loot: a box of 20 brilliant, blood-curdling books
…I have a favor to ask.
When I gave my How Do Kids Really Learn to Write workshop at the HSC conference on Friday, we had standing room only at the end, which was a thrill for me. Parents seem hungry for what I’m dishing out. They want to be encouraged that their kids don’t need to practice writing every day; that they don’t need grammar workbooks and writing prompts; that kids can develop into enthusiastic, effective writers, even if they don’t write a lot when they’re young. They want to hear that it’s okay to take dictation from kids rather than pushing them to write themselves; that casual discussions develop writing skills; that kids can skip five-paragraph essays and write nothing but video game reviews or poetry or Hunger Games fan fiction and become eager, talented writers.
Over the course of the weekend, several workshop participants stopped me to thank me. Invariably, their words were animated with a sense of lightness and relief, as if a burden had been lifted. Which made me know that I’m doing something right.
I want to reach more parents. It frustrates me that our school experiences and sellers of curriculum combine into a mighty force that makes parents fearful. That scares us into thinking that learning to write is a tricky set of skills that kids must endure, and parents must enforce. Writing should be a joy! It should be a natural extension of having something you are excited about, and are bubbling over to share with others.
Barry Lane, in But How Do You Teach Writing? writes,
“Too many teachers and too many curricular guidelines assume that writing is a set of basic skills learned through daily practice while forgetting the real deal: writing is thought, writing is expression, writing is about having something to say.”
I want to help parents understand this, and to give them tools for helping their kids. I’m trying to do that more and more on this blog, and I’m surely trying to do it with my upcoming book on facilitating writer’s workshops. I have a far heftier book in my mind, and scribbled away in notebooks, but I can’t get it all down fast enough.
Workshops and speaking engagements are one way for me to share my ideas faster. I’d like to do them more often. I’d like to be able to speak in bigger rooms, in more places. And I’m hoping you can help me with that. I want to build up the speaking engagements page here on my website.
If you’ve ever attended one of my workshops and it has been useful to you, would you consider writing a short, 1-5 line endorsement for me? Just a few brief words on how the workshop was useful, or how it may have changed your way of thinking? There are already a few on my speaking engagements page for inspiration. I’d like to add more. There’s nothing like a good testimonial to convince the unconvinced.
You can leave your feedback in the comments below, or you can email them to me. Just click on contact me over there on the right to send an email. I will only include first names and last initials with your quotes.
And if you haven’t been to one of my workshops, but reading along here has changed your thoughts on kids and writing, you can still help! Again, a short, 1-5 line endorsement explaining how reading here has helped you would be very useful to me. Thank you for considering it.
Oh, and if you’re local to the San Francisco East Bay, I’m playing with the idea of offering a workshop on an upcoming fall evening or two. If you might be interested in attending, let me know, and I’ll inform you of any plans.
I love to help parents relax about writing. Writing should be as fun as a box of 20 brilliant, blood-curdling books! If you can help me in my mission, I’ll be ever grateful.