Computers are commonplace. Just about every house in the United States has at least one. The public schools have many. People who do not know how to use a computer are becoming fewer and fewer. Today the issue is more likely to be not knowing how to use a tablet or iPhone!
While computer skills may not be lacking in your home for your kids, it might be the ticket to helping them enjoy other things with which they are not so thrilled. In our homeschool we have tackled some of these by creating a newsletter.
The idea actually was my son’s when he was in 5th grade. He wanted to share drawings and comics that he’d made with family members who lived far away. Sneaky mother that I am, it turned into a large production that has helped (I hope) with creativity, computer skills and leadership abilities. Here is a link to one of our first newsletters we put out (this is about a year after we started it). And here is the most recent newsletter issue (still going after 5 years!).
How this helps with creativity:
Sometimes kids don’t know what to create. This is a way to get the creative juices going. Kids love to share what they have created. If they know they will be sharing with others, they often will create just about anything. It doesn’t need to be a big production. Just get the creativity flowing…the rest will follow.
Some ideas of what can be shared in a newsletter: art (by the child or one that they enjoy), short stories, poetry, photographs of Lego creations, current hobby, or handicraft, baked goods, prepared meals, a nicely set table, etc. It can be anything! This is a way to get them thinking of what else they can do to share with others.
Simply deciding on the layout of the newsletter is creativity at work!
How this helps with computer skills:
I know a lot of kids these days know more about computers than their parents but they have to start somewhere! Unless you do the entire set up of the newsletter yourself, your kids will get a lot of computer skills time.
There are various programs that can be used to put together a quick newsletter. Most Windows and Mac word processing programs have this capability. For instance on my Mac’s Pages program, there are four newsletter templates that we could use.
Searching on Google will doubtless bring you many more options. Of course there is always the option of being creative and designing the entire newsletter from scratch (that’s what we ending up doing).
Some computer skills that they will hone: font, resize, crop, copy/paste, print (in color/black and white), save, key shortcuts, download, insert image, text box, rename, move files, upload, typing, etc. If there are aspects that they want to include in the newsletter but don’t quite know how to do it, they can search for examples, which helps with researching.
How this helps with leadership abilities:
Since our newsletter was my son’s idea, I put the kids in charge of bringing it together. My daughter became the layout design “expert”, and my son was the art and comics “expert”. They conversed and decided what went into the newsletter and what didn’t make the cut.
As time has gone on, the leadership roles they’ve held have changed. We are all editors, as in we all check all submissions for good spelling, grammar, and simply to be sure it’s “good news” to include. There are times when one will be in charge of getting the other sibling to submit a piece of work, whether an article, art, image, or otherwise.
If one of your children really gets into the newsletter “business,” it would make a lot of sense to put them in charge as Editor-in-Chief! They would be responsible for making sure everything fits in the newsletter, that all submissions are turned in, the facts are checked, etc., just like a newspaper.
Creating a newsletter is a lot of fun but it’s also some work. I think it helps apply things that have been learned and share with others. You can see all of our newsletters at the page on my blog.