My daughter is a funny writer. When she puts her mind to it, she can write witty commentary filled with wonderful adjectives and characterisation. But she’s easily bored, and – if I’m going to be more honest than a loving mother ought to be – a tad lazy. Her teachers, enjoying what she writes when inspired, have always seen fit to encourage her into increased written productivity. It hasn’t always worked.
Creative writing: This year she has a lovely teacher who has ventured into the dangerous waters of loosening the reins on her creativity. For our recent holiday to Florida, she gifted GG a large, brand new exercise book. What I could write on those immaculately tidy, lined pages! The idea was to let her mind run free, to scribble her adventures unrestricted by the national curriculum, fired up by her once-in-a-lifetime experiences. It was a nice idea, in theory.
Describing words: On holiday she claimed she was too busy experiencing the thrill to put pen to paper. A promise was extracted from her to dedicate half an hour a day to her assignment once home. When asked to jot down a word or two to sum up her emotion, as a reminder once home, she wrote “EPIC.” A lot.
I might have predicted the daily wrangles that would ensue once back on home turf. She whined, I bossed; she wheedled, I stood firm; she stropped, I didn’t once bat an eyelid. Finally, she acquiesced, wrote one glorious page, and chucked a tantrum. I resorted to emotional blackmail:
“You’re the luckiest girl in the world! You’ve just had the most incredible holiday ever – in term-time (I was laying the guilt on thick by now), doing things I never dreamed I could do, and you can’t fill a schoolbook with all your adventures? You don’t want to impress your lovely teacher?”
She glared at me, and disappeared. She was gone for hours, past teatime, past bedtime, locked up in her father’s study. When she emerged, she had filled the book:
What do you think? Do I give her points for ingenuity? How do you inspire kids to write? All tips appreciated!
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