Welcome to LOLIPOP

LOLIPOP began as my master's thesis - an experiment in group learning with twenty homeschool families, including over sixty kids between six and fourteen years old. I coordinated 2-4 projects happening simultaneously, in 6 week sessions. The kids had a lot of fun, and the parents learned a lot about how this energetic and enthusiastic age group can have a successful learning experience. Since this first experiment, I have conducted seminars and webinars based on the LOLIPOP concept, and published For the Love of Learning: Giving Your Child a LOLIPOP Education.
This BLOG is for all those out there, trying to give their children and students the foundation they need to grow into great scholars, thinkers, and leaders. The principles align with the Leadership Education model and foster a love for learning, build individual confidence, and teach learning strategies that apply to a life time of great learning.
Check out more info about the book, seminars, webinars, and more at www.sdlaa.com.

Lolipop Learning, and terms and concepts such as "Love of Play", "Love of Sampling", and "Love of Producing" are the sole property of Amy Edwards. “TJEd", "Leadership Education", “Love of Learning Phase”, “Inspire, not Require” and other similar terms and concepts are taken from the works of Oliver & Rachel DeMille, and are used by permission and under license. For more information, visit http://tjed.org/.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Writing Naturally

     I want to teach writing in a natural way, because I believe that is the only way to inspire a love of writing and develop confident writers.  Throughout nature, we can see cycles.  When a plant is permitted to move through its natural cycle, it develops and grows into a beautiful flower, with little interference from us, and absolutely no force.

Natural.  Nature. Cycles!

     There is a natural cycle to writing, and understanding this can empower you to inspire your children to love writing and grow into great writers.  Some home school parents neglect writing in the early years, only to stress highly academic writing as college entrance approaches and they begin to panic.  Although we should not force our children to write when they are in Love of Learning Phase (typically before puberty), that does not mean that we neglect the development of writing.  So what can you do that will lay a foundation for great academic writing--essays and research papers, and perhaps a publishable novel--when it is needed (later)?
     The seeds of the natural writing cycle are stories.  Any stories.  Stories about dreams. My son loves to tell me about his dreams, and then I record it in a journal with space for him to add a picture.  Stories about their every day life.  Each evening, sit down together and ask your child about his favorite thing that happened that day.  Record his life stories in a journal.  Write these stories exactly as your child describes them--verbatim.  Do not correct wording or even comment on the stories at this point.  You can insert correct punctuation, which is a great way to model punctuation, but don't explain the punctuation unless the child asks.
     Have you noticed that you are doing all the writing?  Before the child writes, you write for her.  Allow her to simply tell her stories.  Speaking, narrating, simply forming her life and dreams into words comes before she does any of the writing herself.  All children are different, and each child will want to write down her own stories at different ages.  Allow your child to be the guide.  Do not push and decide for her when she should do the writing herself.  If you encourage your children in telling their stories, and then show them the stories in print, they will want to write on their own eventually.
     Many children evolve to creative stories, and you can record these as well.  As the child and the stories mature, you can ask questions to help the child embellish the stories--question the details of the setting or physical appearance of characters.
     The next step in the natural writing cycle is the seed of essay writing.  It is the act of encouraging a child to express his opinion in writing.  These are not formally structured essays.  They are simply the child's opinion, and eventually some evidence to support that opinion.  Young children may write a note to their parents to express their discontent with a family rule or situation.  Great!  They are viewing writing as a tool of personal expression.  I don't recommend assigning topics before the age of 12-years-old, and only within the context of a class or project the student has bought into.  But we can encourage children to express their opinions and to include their reasoning and any evidence or examples they can think of in writing.  They can even incorporate that story-writing to make their opinions more compelling.
     According to the California State Standards for Language Arts, children should be writing paragraphs by 1st grade (that's 6-years-old for any home schoolers not keeping track), and essays by 4th grade (9-years-old).  The standards then explain how the essay is continually taught for the next 5-6 years of school.  What a great way to get kids to hate writing!  I disagree with this approach.  Students do not need to be introduced to essays until they are 12-years-old (about 6th or 7th grade).  And it doesn't take 5 years to teach essay writing (unless you start too early).  However, they do need a foundation that is building up to that point.  Allow them to tell you stories.  Write down their stories, and (very important) show them their stories in print.  Encourage them to write down their stories.  Encourage them to write down their opinions and then support them with stories and examples.  If children gain this foundation between the ages of 8 and 14, then teaching essay writing becomes very simple.
     Happy writing!

For more information about LOLIPOP Learning check out our Facebook page or the book For the Love of Learning.


  1. Thank you for this! It helps me know I'm on the right track with my 7yo. Writing is a big struggle for him, so I'm not pushing it. He made his first book the other day, did all the illustrations himself, but told me, "I need some help with the authoring." So I wrote exactly what he told me to write with no comment. When I was busy he wrote a few words while I helped him spell. He put it together with a cardboard cover and then I asked if I could keep his first book. It's not a story... it's non-fiction (which is his favorite anyway). It's an "encyclopedia" about World War II. :-D

    I enjoy your whole blog-- it's very encouraging!

  2. That's sound great! How fun for you and your son! I like to buy blank books and (especially for my son who is 6) blank comic books from http://www.barebooks.com/. He loves to make his own comic books. He draws the pictures, writes the little words like "ouch" and "boom", and then tells me the rest of the story to write into the word boxes. Super fun!

    1. Oh, I LOVE that idea! Thanks so much!