Most of the writing my kids do is in video games and web searches, or random computer based projects that wind up disappearing. I can’t tell you how many times L, who is seven, has called out to me, “How do you spell ___?” over the past few months. Sometimes his older brother G will answer. But at any rate, the words they are writing and practicing mostly disappear into the ether, and by the time the requisite home visit comes around, I wind up needing to play a couple rounds of the five minute story game* so I have some evidence to show our facilitator.
Which is why, when L comes up with this sort of project in June:
…a little piece of me wonders whether he couldn’t have been inspired to create something like this in March?
But that’s the funny thing about natural learning: it doesn’t have a schedule, and it doesn’t take vacations. We learn things–and we develop skills–when the mood strikes, or when the need arises. To my friend who recently asked me, full of incredulity, if my kids learned by MAGIC?! and to whom I had to honestly respond, “Yes!”, this is a perfect example of it. The magic of our creative natures means that, if given the resources, our minds will flourish, coercion-free! In fact, one could argue that coercion is the antithesis of creativity, and its companion: true learning.
And can we just take a moment to appreciate his excellent sense of meter? This, to me, is some quality poetry. Even better: he has no fear of it. How many of us learn poetry in a school setting, where you are told what is right and what is wrong; where you are graded for your answers; and come away feeling intimidated and perplexed by poetry? Not my son! No such qualms–he did it for the love of it; and as an adult, I have learned that this is the true nature of poetry: it is a form of art, created simply for the love of it.
*BONUS: The Five Minute Story Game:
- Choose, at random, 1-3 story parameters (setting; character; plot; catalyst; resolution; etc). We have cards that we repurposed. You could make cards. Or just choose from your minds.
- Set a five minute timer.
- Everyone writes a story that includes all the chosen parameters before the timer rings.
- Read out the stories to each other–see how different they are!
NOTE: for slower writers, you may want to expand it to a Seven Minute Story Game.
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