Monday, October 17, 2011

Help Your Child Learn to Write: Which Stage of Writing is Your Child In?

Stages of Writing for Young Children


Every child will go through stages in his or her writing. Being familiar with these stages will help you see that what behaviors are normal at each stage. Be sure to encourage your children through each writing stage. Each one is fleeting and priceless. Treasure some artifacts from each stage and stick them into your child’s writing file. Looking back on them will help you realize how far your child has come. 

  1. Scribble Writing: This stage involves a child pretending to write letters and then telling a story about their work. They have the idea that written letters and words communicate something, but they aren’t ready to form letters. Children at this stage will write more with pictures than with letters and words.
  2. Random Letters: Letters are written at this stage, but they won’t match the sounds you hear in the words your child is trying to write. Many times children will reuse the letters in their name over and over again because they are most familiar with them.
  3. Beginning Sounds: This is the stage that parents begin to see actual writing. The child will write down the initial or ending sound that they hear.
  4. Inventive Spelling: It is very important to be extra encouraging during this stage as it will help your children write creatively down the road. Children write the sounds that that they hear even though they are not necessarily spelling the words correctly. At this stage, encourage content and not spelling. You will not interfere with their ability to spell. During this stage, pictures are still a big part of their story. It is fine to have your child draw their picture first and then follow up with their writing.
  5. Conventional Spelling: During this stage children are beginning to spell many words correctly. There will be more focus on the writing than the pictures.
Find more information on how to help your children become good writers with my new creative writing book Check it out here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Check it Out! I'm a Published Author!

Those that know me, know that I am not one to put myself out there with bells, whistles and lots of fanfare. Those that also know me would agree that I have been working toward getting published for several years. With renewed effort this dream became a reality this Fall.

Check out my new published book, Creative Writing Works: Ideas for Homeschooling.  This book is needed in the creative writing and homeschool community. Many writing curriculums have left children in a daze of copy work, handwriting and sentence structure.

While those things are  importance components in writing curriculum it is not giving students an actual writing experience. Creative Writing Works: Ideas for Homeschooling is chalk full of simple ways to get children  out of the rote world and be able to think and write more creatively. Its simple. Its easy and it works!

Please pass this along to others that you think could benefit.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Vote Weis for School Board!

I love it when people set goals, try something new and work hard to achieve them. In this case it is my husband, Dave Weis. He has done this goal reaching before with the creation of Internet Solver. Now he is running for West Des Moines School Board. This is something that he has wanted to do for quite awhile and finally the timing was right. I know he will be bring a wonderful uniqueness to the board with his understanding of schools, technology, business and budgets. He amazes me with his ability to work with all kinds of people and able to makes things happen.

Elections are September 13th, 2011. Voting takes place at your normal voting places. Click here to find out where that is.

Click here to read more about Weis for West Des Moines School Board.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Perserve the Memories, But Keep Your Sanity cont...

As the days zips by into months and years, I have become a big advocate for journaling and reflecting. This is something any of us can do, but have been making a conscious effort to instill it in my children. I believe it helps build appreciation and is a wonderful indication of how much they are learning and growing while they may not see it at the time.

I gave up scrapbooking years ago, but admire moms that can put together these amazing books. It was not an enjoyable hobby for me, and have taken another route to capture this reflection. I also love that my kids are old enough to help with this.

One summer day for the past three years, I have taken an entire day to make each of them a photo book online. Yes, it does take me around 6 hours for three books. This includes downloading all of the pictures, figuring out how to use the new photo shop software and organizing the pictures with captions. I usually use whatever the photo special or deal is at that moment, but have used Snapfish, Mixbook and Picaboo. Reviews on those would be a whole other post, but these sites are becoming more user friendly each year.

In each book, I include each child's highlights from throughout the year. First day of school, birthday, Halloween Costume, Christmas with "the" coveted item, and anything else special they did throughout the year. For example this year was Megan's first year of Academy soccer, Lucy's Tae Kwan Do and Max's first year of preschool, making friends and Bible School.

I also include a few vacation pictures and anything else memorable. At the end of the photo books, I leave several blank pages where they write about their favorite memories. This year Max dedicated quite the space to our new puppy, Duke, Megan wanted to do things she has learned and series of books read. Lucy wanted to write about her inventions and ideas.

They have turned out so amazing. I love how they capture the "given" highlights, but also what they feel is important.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Perserve the Memories, But Keep Your Sanity

Nine years ago when I was a new mom of one, I had high ambitions of recording every single monumental moment in a beautiful white leather baby scrapbook. I knew nothing about scrapbooking, but it seemed like the thing to do with all these conversations occurring from other moms of new babies. Scrapbook while the baby is sleeping! Document those memories! Think of the joy she will have looking back on it as an adult!

To this day I am still caring my memories of the agony stenciling the letters on colored paper and then cutting the letters out to glue on for my titles on the pages. I was completely clueless about what I was doing (alphabet stickers, anyone?!). After getting together with other scrapping friends and going to crop fests, I soon caught on. Oh, the pictures (!), the memories (!), the time...

When my second daughter came along I knew I had to do a baby book for her. I couldn't let Lucy start out with a brand new life already on unequal grounds with her sister. So of course, Lucy got a scrapbook. Megan was growing up by then and we had moved into a toddler one. She would be starting preschool in a year and I was wise in my scrapbooking knowledge to know what that meant.Now the girls had these beautiful individual books, but what to do with all of the family pictures of trips and holidays? Might as well scrap them too…into a family album. You can see how this got slightly out of control very quickly.

The truth was, I didn't really enjoy scrapbooking. Some people spent hours on a single page, but I had more of a "get it done and documented" attitude. To me it was never ending. You are always behind, there is endless thematic sticker shopping and the constant ordering and organizing of pictures. It just wasn't fun for me and this "hobby" loomed in front of me. Then Max came along and I knew something had to change.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Summer Lovin' turns to Fall Planning

Wednesday brought the start of school and with that back to schedules, routines and running around. I am proud of the conscious effort I made to take a step back from that this summer and let it unfold. Of course they each took some camps and classes because trying new things is important, but there were also plenty of days that we just let the day take us and that's when the imaginations ran.

Favorite games included:

"Rescue League," which I am positive stemmed from the acquisition of Duke. Max was the dog, Lucy the pound owner and Megan the volunteer. I know there was a lot to it, but from what I could tell a lot of it involved putting Max in the dogs kennel, eating cheerios off the floor and slurping water from a bowl. This game excited also excited Duke a great deal.

"Gods and Goddesses" (also known as Mount Olympus Academy). Our new nightly read aloud series with Percy Jackson helped bring this one on. This fascination with the Gods has also firmed up the decision on Halloween costumes. It was decided that Daddy would be Zeus, Mommy, Hera (Zeus' wife), Megan, Aprhrodite (Goddess of Love and Beauty) Lucy, Athena (Goddess of War & Wisdom) and Max, Poseidon (God of the Sea). The final decision hasn't been completely cleared by "Poseidon" who insists he just really wants to be a firefighter again or maybe a dog trainer.

read more here

Thursday, August 25, 2011

It ain't over yet!

Wait...summer isn't officially over until Labor Day right?! These summer memories are direct from the kids and may not make much sense, but felt the need to include.

Lucy's Library
The Hazardous Homemade Mailbox
Max's obsession with mixing oil and milk
Swords bought at the Bell Tower Festival

Things Overheard At the Dunlap 5km Race by Lucy and Papa (who just had back surgery)
"Beware of the Herd of Turtles"
"Oh no, a snail passed us"
"Let's hide behind that tree at the start, let everyone pass us and cross the finish line first!"
"I think that rock is gaining on us"

Chalk the Corners Failure

The Horrific Hideout where we managed to catch poison ivy not once, but twice during the course of summer.

The Hopeless Fishing Trip

The Weis Prom with Outcast Duke

The Offices where no work occurs only messes

Dog Agility Course (Good job, Lucy!)