Parenting Writing Life

Monkey is Blogging

Last June, Monkey and I worked out an agreement. If I bought him the world’s most awesome double barrel water-gun, he promised that he would continue to practice playing piano, reading Hebrew and honing his writing skills over the summer. The first two were easy. The third was harder, but really important to me. I have seen how long summer vacations — while wonderful — can cause kids’ brains to mushify. I didn’t want him to forget his skills.

In an effort to capitalize on Monkey’s innate love for all things technological, I suggested that he start a blog. After all, last May my own blog was in its infancy, and I figured we could sit side-by-side and write together. It was a romantic notion.

“How long would these posts need to be?” the pragmatic Monkey asked.

“Just write as much as you need to say whatever it is you need to say,” I said cheerfully in an intentionally vague way.

Monkey is a Math/Science guy: not a fan of the “intentionally vague.”

He attempted to clarify. “So 150 words?”

“Sure,” I said, figuring any writing he did was better than none at all.

Then Monkey attempted to up the ante. “But I don’t have to write you when I’m at overnight camp.”

“What?” I challenged, a little miffed. “You definitely still have to write me when you are at camp. For goodness sakes, I would like to know what you are doing when you’re away for three weeks!”

“Okay,” Monkey relented, “but only one letter a week,” he said. “That’s three letters in 21 days. You get that, right?”

Thank you, Math/Science Monkey.

“Fine,” I countered, “But in the meantime, you have to make sure that every blog includes correct spelling, proper punctuation and some kind of image or video — for the reader’s interest.

“Fine,” Monkey agreed.

We shook hands like lawyers.

So this year Monkey is blogging again. And while last year, he wanted his blog to be “our secret,” this year, he wants readers. I told him I would pitch his blog — if he agreed to up his word count to 200 words per post.

So here I am, doing my part.

Only he seems to have forgotten his end of the bargain, seeing as his first post had only 157 words.

What’s a momma to do? 😉

Anyway, if you’d like to check out the inner-workings of the mind of an 11-year-old boy, click here.

If you’d like to subscribe to his blog, I can guarantee you there will only be six entries as he heads off to overnight camp at the end of July.

How do you keep your kids writing over the summer? Or do you just let them shut down?

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19 thoughts on “Monkey is Blogging

  1. Well done Monkey!

    As far as my kids writing this summer, I’m not really concerned about it. I’m more concerned with their reading. Especially Thing 2. He is a brilliant kid, but does not read well. Right now he’s reading at a beginning 2nd grade level as he is about to head into 3rd grade. Of course he learns and understands vocabulary at a grade 16.9 level (how many 6 year old’s come home talking about Liopleurodon for goodness sake). I think this has to do with his love of math/science more than anything. So as long as he is reading, I’m cool with him not writing. He did write an awesome birthday card for the boss, however. Does that count?

  2. Wow. Good job, mama.

    I tend to let my kids’ brains mushify.

    So maybe I’ll subscribe to monkey’s blog AND have my kids read it…

    Perhaps they’ll get some ideas of their own…

    Love it.

    1. He’s actually digging it. So far.

      And he has already written his content for this week, so I think we are onto something.

      I hate when kids come back to school after the 8 week break and it’s like we have to start over again. Glurg. They forget so much.

      Okay so maybe I might have tricked him into doing a little bit of writing; it can’t be bad, right?

  3. I love everything about this. Li’l D’s too young to write, as you know, but I do love the image of him holding a comically large pen. I also love imagining myself standing there commanding him to write with his comically large pen, although much of the magic would certainly be lost if I tried such a thing for anything other than a photo shoot. :p

    I shall now commence link-following!

    1. Hi Deborah!

      I tried so hard to find a picture of a monkey holding a monkey pen, but alas, I gave up.

      So far I haven’t had to do any commanding. Boy is digging writing his blog this summer. He is having much less difficulty selecting topics and, hopefully, he will be more expansive in his ideas than he has been in the past. We shall see. I’ll tell you, it is really interesting to see the growth from year to year. 😉

      1. As a negotiator, I love that you’re negotiating instead of commanding. Commanding is more fun for the daydreams of the sleep-deprived, hence my other comment above :p

        I’d bet your son could kick my butt at Hebrew right now. As of Tuesday, I can read about half the letters in the alphabet with about zero percent comprehension. That’s better by far than three weeks ago, tho’!

  4. Renee – I have two kids and I teach so it’s a struggle for me, too. Last year I started my own blog and model writing for them, but it still doesn’t catch on. They like my posts and enjoy reading them or me reading the posts to them. But, I am kinda of odd (they think). My oldest at 13, dislikes writing and reading – it is a struggle for him and he is a math/sciecne guy, too. He can even start a campfire without a match! (safely) In school much of the writing is for the teacher (it makes me sad) and isn’t really authentic. So, I started using postcards to grandma and grandpa, his favorite teacher(s), anyone who he’d like to write from summer camp, from the cottage, or frm anywhere we can get a postcard. I try the same for my youngest, who at 8 is more into GETTING mail than sending it, but you have to start somewhere. So, I have realized that summer is a time for kids to learn in different – experiential ways. Swimming, skiing, camping, cooking, and allow those skills I value – readin’, writin; and ‘rithmatic to slide to the side for the time being. School will be back in session they’ll be writing again.

    1. Hi Clay:

      I think unplugging is fine — especially if writing is a huge stress-maker. Anything you can get your kids to do that sneaks reading or writing in there (as you well know) is bonus. So postcards are great. The blog has been fun for Monkey who has enjoyed responding to comments. He said it’s like getting mail — which, of course, he rarely gets.

      We also do a lot of outdoor stuff and he heads off to overnight camp for 3 weeks in August, so I think he has a healthy balance. Especially because he’ll be sending me empty envelopes from camp. 😉

  5. My Speedy (10) is a math/science guy as well. He’s really funny had has great stories he tells orally but when he starts writing things down he gets all bogged down in facts. He may be a really great technical writer, but not so great creatively. Tell me the facts, just the facts. That’s him.

    How awesome your Monkey is blogging! I’d be afraid to see what my kids might write. LOL

    1. Monkey is totally a facts guy. Not a lot of details. But he can be funny. I just don’t want his brain to freeze up completely.

      And I do live in fear of seeing what he puts up. But I have the right to refuse anything I deem inappropriate. So far so good.

      And thanks for visiting him! 😉

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