Now that many of our children are going back to school after the summer break, it reminded me that when my son was at high school I had to suppress my screams when reading through his English assignments every time I saw a spelling or grammar mistake.
Despite being utterly ignorant of the “right” way to handle this my instincts told me not to threaten him with castration if I ever saw another “it’s” when it should be “its,” but to move on to the big picture – the content of his writing and how it worked – and go back to the details later.
After all, he was still well under the age of arrest by the Grammar Police.
Don’t lock horns with their English teachers
And when I picked his English teacher up about it at a parents’ evening around that time I felt thoroughly slapped when she sneered, “we don’t believe in interrupting their creative flow.”
Try telling that to a recruiter looking at his CV/resumé in a few years’ time, I thought bitchily, but refrained from replying. Academia and business are about as mutually understanding as Donald Trump and Mother Teresa.
Since researching for this article, however, I have discovered that suppressing my screams and postponing my son’s castration were the right choice after all.
As with so many things, acting as a coach for your child to help them write better and enjoy it will go a long way towards achieving that goal. Criticising and being picky about details is likely to have them running, foaming at the mouth, for the nearest axe murder video game.
Some useful articles to help you encourage your kids to write better
Not being an educationalist I am the wrong person to tell you how to make your kids love writing. After watching me tap away at my computers over the last 24 years I think my son would no sooner write for pleasure than slit his own throat. However some of it has rubbed off; his university work got him a First in his BA (with a little editing help from Mommy) and his business emails now manage to be polite, friendly and where necessary, bitingly evil.
Anyway here is my choice of some articles written by Those Who Know, all of which strike me as very sensible.
To begin, helping children and teens to write better…
And for tertiary students, where writing better matters even more
How do you (or did you) help encourage your kids to write better?
Questions? Drop Suze a note on firstname.lastname@example.org