Originally Sent: 9/18/2014

HSLDA's Toddlers to Tweens Newsletter

September 18, 2014


Jay Wile’s New Elementary Science SeriesJay Wile’s New Elementary Science Series

What I Did on My Summer Vacation


Need advice on teaching your children from preschool to eighth grade? Visit HSLDA’s Toddlers to Tweens webpages or contact Vicki Bentley.

Join 20,000 others...

The HSLDA Curriculum Market is buzzing with activity! Save money on new and used homeschooling materials, or sell your extras.

Did you get your PerX today?

HSLDA membership can pay for itself! Retailers and service providers want to support our members with special discounts. Check out the discounts available to you today... we'll be adding more soon!

You Can Help!

The Home School Foundation supports homeschool families in need. Whether it's a widow or a family suffering after a natural disaster, HSF is there to help. You can give directly, or through our Clicks For Homeschooling program; online merchants contribute to HSF when you shop!

Start shopping here to contribute to HSF at no cost to you!

Pen Pals

Learn more.Learn more.
Vicki Bentley helps HSLDA members homeschool children in preschool through 8th grade. She and her husband homeschooled 17 children and led a support group of over 250 families. Read more >>

What a fun idea! It’s always more interesting and motivating to write to someone specific, rather than to have our “pretend letters” (a.k.a. school writing assignments) filed into a drawer.

Why Write Letters?

Letter writing encourages conversational skills while allowing children to practice grammar, spelling, and composition in a relevant context. They learn not only the correct format for letter writing, but also the social aspect of correspondence—teaching children how to “catch” a “conversation ball,” then how “toss it back.” Your child could learn about another culture and be encouraged to study more in that area. Plus, most kids love to receive mail!

Pick a Pen Pal

One obvious choice: relatives. Whether your children write to grandparents, aunts, or cousins, you know these folks and can determine the safety and security of your child’s information.

Let your child write to a missionary’s kid or a missionary from your church or your area. They are so happy to get letters from home and may be able to share some faith and foreign culture with your child.

“Adopt” a service member.

Connect with the child of someone from a sister homeschool support group across the country.

If your family sponsors a child, your children can correspond with the sponsored child. This helps them to understand how other children live and what other cultures are like.

Residents of a local nursing home or senior center might enjoy getting letters from young folks, and these folks have so much history and experience to share.

Kristen Chase provides some insights at The Pioneer Woman’s blog on how to find a pen pal.

And as always, you’ll want to take steps to ensure your child’s safety and the security of his personal information, if applicable.

Paper and Postage

While much of this can be accomplished via email, there’s just something friendly and special about receiving a “real” letter on “real” paper. Your child can choose special stationery, or even make his own cards or decorated postcards. Who knows—maybe this will spark an interest in improved or embellished penmanship!

You can also take this opportunity to learn more about the history of letter writing, the postal service, and the history of stamps. In recent history, there was even a meaning behind the placement of the stamp on the envelope! (See “A Short History of Stamps and Their Language.”)

More Ideas

You could make this a group activity by collecting the names and addresses of several children and having them do a “round robin” sort of letter: One child writes part of a letter (or a story!) and sends to the next child, who adds his part, then sends to the next. One benefit of this is that if one child grows weary and drops out, there are still others to continue the fun. And if a few children sensed kindred spirits, they could write separately.

If letter writing is too laborious, or if you just want the social or geographical benefits, you could arrange a postcard swap. Many folks are now arranging this through the parents’ online groups—again, be sure you are familiar with the other participants, for your child’s safety.

Your child could minister to others through a card ministry: Take notes in your next church service to determine who might benefit from a card—this could motivate your child to pay attention during prayer request time! Then he could send a short hand-written note of encouragement. While he may not hear back, he will have connected with the recipient.

When I was a young girl, living far from our extended family, my aunt started a tic-tac-toe game via mail. She would send the board with her X on it and include a separate little note. I would reply with my O and a little note; and so the game would go. Although we never did live near each other, I always felt connected and important. This could be done with a game of hangman, Mad Libs, a crossword puzzle, or any other activity your child might enjoy.

A Local “Pen Pal”

When one of my granddaughters was almost 2 (and very verbal), I began a years-long tradition of calling her each week, drawing her out in conversation, helping her to learn and practice the “catch the conversation ball and toss it back” concept. At the end of the call, we would always sing a song of her choice—usually a hymn she thought of from church that week—and we closed by praying together.

When she moved closer and grew old enough to write, we started the Ariel-and-Grandma notebook in which I would write her a note with comments and questions, left in a spot for her to find. She would read it and reply, leaving it for me to find. In it, she has shared requests, ideas for things for us to do, gratitude for things we’ve done, and her thoughts about life in general.

This has been, for us, the local version of a pen pal. But the result has been a stronger relationship because it is often easier for us—as for many—to share our thoughts on paper than in person.

Next month:
Thank-you notes.

Sincerely yours,

Vicki Bentley
HSLDA Toddlers to Tweens Consultant

"Homeschooling Toddlers to Tweens" is a newsletter of the Home School Legal Defense Association. All rights reserved. For more information on Homeschooling Toddlers to Tweens or the Home School Legal Defense Association please contact us at:

HSLDA • P.O. Box 3000 • Purcellville, Virginia 20134-9000
Phone: (540) 338-5600• Fax: (540) 338-2733 • Email: info@hslda.org
Web: http://members.hslda.org/contact.asp

Subscription Information: You subscribed to the "Homeschooling Toddlers to Tweens" email as:

Subscribe | Unsubscribe | Change Settings

POSTMASTERS: This message is being sent to the most recent address we have for our subscribers. If this is an invalid email address or you have other problems, please reply to webmaster@hslda.org.

DISCLAIMER: This is considered a private and confidential message from HSLDA to its bonafide HSLDA E-lert Service subscribers. HSLDA cannot attest to the authenticity of copies posted, forwarded, or sent by any party other than HSLDA.

ADVERTISING WITH US: The appearance of advertisements in the Homeschooling Toddlers to Tweens newsletter does not imply recommendation or endorsement by Home School Legal Defense Association, and the opinions expressed by advertisers do not necessarily reflect the views of HSLDA. Use of any information, product, or service herein advertised is voluntary, and reliance upon it should only be undertaken after independent review. Caveat emptor—let the buyer beware.

NOTE: Please do not reply or otherwise use this email address; hslda@hslda.org is for broadcast purposes only and is not intended to receive incoming messages. We cannot reply to any email sent to this address. If you have comments or questions, please send email to info@hslda.org or call HSLDA at 540-338-5600. HSLDA members can also email staff directly through the Members website at http://members.hslda.org/contact.asp. Thank you for your cooperation.

© 2020 HSLDA. All rights reserved.