Charlene Notgrass
Our Mary Evelyn is an excellent writer, but that wasn't always the case. The process of Mary Evelyn going from brand new homeschool student to writer was not a smooth one, at least not in the eyes of her mama and daddy. She learned to read later than we expected. Once she learned to read, it was several years before she liked to read. Her handwriting, which is beautiful now, was far from beautiful until she was in her teens.

So how did Mary Evelyn become a writer (an excellent writer in her mama’s humble opinion)?

1. We read great books to her.

2. Once she learned to love reading, I required her to read great books, even in the summertime — but not so many as to be unfair or feel like a burden.

3. I required her to write in a journal for ten minutes four days a week.

4. I let things she wanted to write become part of “school.”

5. We visited historic sites related to books and authors.

6. We did gentle grammar but not too much.

7. We praised her.

8. We set an example of discipline and completing important things.

9. She took a one-semester writing course offered by a local teacher one time. I wasn’t super impressed with it.

And now Mary Evelyn is a writer.
I like to think of Mary Evelyn as my butterfly. She needed a little bit longer in the cocoon than I expected. Once she emerged, she never stopped soaring. There wasn’t a problem with her timetable; there was a problem with mine.
Again and again I hear parents talk about their worries about their children’s writing. I worried about many things, but I didn’t worry about writing. Well, I did worry a bit about handwriting, but not creative writing. Writing for us was simply a natural thing that sprang out of other things we were doing on purpose, things like reading and journaling, a bit of grammar, and the opportunities around us.
I don’t mean this to be simplistic. And I certainly don’t mean this to be critical of anyone who does worry about writing. After all, I was a master at worrying about other school subjects! I just offer these thoughts as encouragement because I care very deeply for you and your children.
There is one more thing that made Mary Evelyn a writer. She loves her Father in heaven. She wants to honor Him. She uses writing to honor Him, to share the gospel, and to deepen the faith of believers. The most important factor in Mary Evelyn’s writing is the why.

Whatever you do, 
do your work heartily,
as for the Lord rather than for men,
knowing that from the Lord
you will receive the reward 
of the inheritance.
It is the Lord Christ 
whom you serve.
Colossians 3:23 NASB

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