Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Guest Posting: PenPals for Children as a Teaching Tool

Hello! This is Marie from Natural Mama. Ruth was so kind as to ask me to guest blog here for her this week! I am excited to get to know everyone, and share some thoughts with you!

Both Ruth and I are fierce advocates of Homeschooling. I was homeschooled myself as a child, and spent some of my best years as a kid, learning at home. It is no wonder that we want to give that same sense of fulfillment to our own children. And one of the things that I want to pass on to my daughter when she is older, and to as many children as possible in the meantime, is the wonder of having penpals.

I have been a Nanny for the past 10 years, before becoming a mother myself, and I have spent countless hours working with different children on projects that would be educative and fun for them.
One of my greatest tool when homeschooling a child, has always been getting them a penpal (...or 3, or 10).
The wonder of opening your mailbox when you are young and finding a letter penned to your name when you are still establishing yourself as an individual is absolutely amazing. And then discovering another person through diverse questions and stories in letters is terribly fun.

As a parent, you can be comforted in knowing that your child is practicing their handwriting, is learning the etiquette necessary for snail mail exchanges, and is having fun!
But you can go so much further with the use of penpals as a teaching tool. We have a map on the wall where we can pin and mark where our new penpals live, which covers geography. We also find books at the library about the country that our penpals come from. We study their folk and fairy tales, stories from children in that country, customs for different holidays and such. What a wealth of information having a penpal uncovers for us!
And it is learning that is fun because the kids actually want to learn all this in order to get a closer relationship with their penpal.

Here is the website that I have been using to find penpals. There are many, but so far this is the one that I have found has the most updates:

Penpals of The World

I hope I was able to convince you in looking into such an oldish notion as having penpals! Good luck in your writing.

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