© Beverley Paine, 2004
I immigrated to Australia at the age of four and the only way I knew my grandparents was through mum's regular letters 'home'. My children's grandparents moved interstate when they were little. It's hard to develop close friendships with relatives over such large distances, but it's worth the effort. Letter writing makes it easy.
I encouraged my children to send cards and postcards, as I remember how tedious it was to fill a whole page in a letter! By the time I was half way down the page I'd run out of things to say and my hand ached. It became a chore and I soon gave up wanting to write to my Gran. You can protect your children from this fate by developing frequent mail contact between your children and your parents.
You don't live have to live thousands of kilometres apart to be pen pals. Imagine the joy on your child's face when he receives a letter from Grandpop, even when Grandpop only lives three streets away. Nothing excites children more than mail addressed to them in the mail box. It may be a reminder note for a special occasion, or to ask your child to bring a particular book next time he visits. You can encourage your child to write similar notes to your parents, send home-made cards, anything that will strengthen the bond between them.
If the writing session is short and sweet your child may just end up spending all their pocket money in stamps!
Keeping in touch by letter writing is invaluable for those children who don't have regular access to their mum or dad or grandparents, especially in divorce situations where residual bitterness and animosity makes personal contact difficult. Parents and grandparents can always send letters and cards to encourage and develop relationships to thrive under trying circumstances. Even if the child does not reply, the mere fact that she or he receives mail will be helping them to develop reading skills that will serve them for the rest of their lives. And that's important.
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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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Beverley Paine, The Educating Parent
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