All of these questions I elaborated on and answered follow-up questions like, “Should I talk about school?” I explained that their story can take place anywhere they want, whether it be at home, school, outside, in a different country, or even outer space or another planet! I wanted them to have this opportunity to use those amazing imaginations to spark something wonderful. And, you know what? They did not disappoint.
My kids decided to create stories with lessons that make sense and provided clarity to other readers on what should be learned. In my kids’ cases, they wanted people to learn about standing up for their friends or making safe choices in the face of peer pressure. This activity took approximately 30 minutes in total, and both kids varied on how quickly they wrote their story. Adelaide (age 9) was able to tackle this more quickly, while Marshall (age 7) took a little longer to gather his thoughts and attempt accurate spellings on certain words. And, you’ll even see an overlooked error that did not get corrected.
The following stories are copied word for word from my kids’ notebooks.
Story 1 by Adelaide
Hi, I’m Adelaide, and it’s my first day of school, but it didn’t go very well. Someone was bullying my friend and she didn’t know how to stick up for herself. So that was went I came in and said, “don’t bully my friend,” and I told the bully that I’d tell her teacher about this. And she never bullied my friend again.”
Story 2 by Marshall
I was walking in the night time. And people were forcing me to stick a fork in the outlet. But I didn’t do it. Then they said what are you a chicken. Then I said fine call me a chicken. But I am not doing that. I will get electrocuted.
Dad’s Story Log
My kids chose themselves as the main character, which makes sense since that’s what they know. Also, I’m super impressed that their first instincts were to try and teach some kind of positive lesson for others. Adelaide wanted to help another from being bullied, while Marshall wanted to tell people how to be safe, even if someone was telling them to do something they shouldn’t. Proud dad over here.
On top of writing their own stories, I asked them to review their work before letting me see it. I wanted them to have the opportunity to look over what they’d done to see if they noticed any spelling or punctuation errors. Plus, after I looked over their stories, I had Adelaide read over Marshall’s to let her be editor of his story. This gave her some added responsibility, and she definitely took ownership of that role. She went to work, pointing out and making appropriate changes, while Marshall looked over her shoulder.
This is an exercise I definitely want to see them do again, because once they started, you could tell they were interested in trying to figure out what they wanted to say. I would highly recommend this activity for the holiday season or any other time of the year. Next time, I think I’ll challenge them to create a new character and then explore the possibilities of someone other than themselves. Maybe I’ll have them explore “strange new worlds, to seek out new life…” – or maybe I’ll ask them before diving into Star Trek: The Next Generation or any other creative adventure.
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season, and I hope you find joy with those dearest in your life. It’s safe to say we’ve all been dealing with our own struggles, and I know my two kiddos, along with my wife, have helped me more than words can describe. I am truly grateful for the time I’ve spent with my kiddos, being a part of their worlds as parent and homeschool teacher. It’s provided extra time together, whether it’s been baking, crafting, experimenting, or doing any number of silly things that have helped us smile.
On an added personal note, I want to say a super extra thank you to Barbra and Bryant Dillon for their continued support and friendship. Their tireless efforts to support others in the world is beyond comprehension at times, and I appreciate being a small blip in orbit around their massive universe. They have also become recent geeky parents, and from my experience with them, I know their beautiful kiddos will have the best parents by their sides.
Happy holidays, friends, and as always, happy parenting and happy geeking.