Wednesday, 29 January 2014


It all started when I was doing some research for Eldest.  As he wants to be involved in conservation as a career, and he is currently thinking along the lines of conservation in zoos, I thought I would have a look and see what sort of qualifications are needed to become a zookeeper.  No pressure: just so we both have an idea - there is plenty of time for him to change his mind still.  Anyway, there is no single route into zookeeping, it can involve GCSEs or NVQs etc.  I had a very quick look at some GCSE level work (not too in-depth as I don't think he's ready yet, but again, just to get an idea of what might be required in the not-too-distant future) and the first thing that I realised was that if he wants qualifications he will need to be confident in writing.  His lapbooks were all typed (with the assistance of spellcheck), and since he gave up keeping his diary last year, he has done little sustained writing. 

So this morning, when Eldest finally came downstairs from drawing multiple pictures and cartoons, I asked if he would like to do some writing.  I had been thinking of some free-writing, Brave Writer style - where the student sits down with a timer and just writes whatever comes into their head for ten minutes or whatever time limit is chosen.  However Eldest decided he wanted to write a story (the cartoons had obviously got his creative juices flowing), so I found him a new book to write in, and he was off!  Once again, I am more than impressed.  So far he has filled over two full pages of lined A4 paper with writing, and shows no sign of stopping!  He chose to come and show me each chapter as he completed it, and we agreed that I would write the misspelled words in a different little book so he could correct them himself without me making his story look messy.  I didn't correct any grammar today as I didn't want to discourage him by over-focusing on mistakes, but we will need to tackle it another day.  Still, I do feel a little bit silly for being concerned as he has clearly demonstrated that although he needs some help with spelling and grammar, his ability to write for sustained periods is really not an issue.  Happy Mummy!

Meanwhile Youngest and Middle were inspired and decided that they wanted to write stories too.  I asked Youngest if he would like me to type and him to tell me what to write, which he was very happy about.  It took a little while for him to get used to dictating, but once we got there his story flowed very naturally, with only a couple of prompting questions when he got stuck. (nb He used his and his brothers real names in the story - I changed them here on his behalf)

The Little Magic

“Oi! Get out of our room!” said Youngest.  And then Middle said “Get out of our room!” too.  Eldest was looking around and saying “Can I come in your room?” but his brothers said “No!  No!”, and Middle jumped out and said “No way”.  And then the magic came and all of the toys except the mean toys (like the lions and Bowser) came to life.  And then they said “Eldest, you can come in our room!” and then they shut the door and had a midnight feast with all the magic toys except the mean ones.  Mummy and Daddy came in too to have a disco and a midnight feast.  The magic animals beat the persons at the dancing competition.  And they had a happy day.
The End.

Middle is still in his writing-resistant phase, but now that I have experience of Eldest going from being a non-writer to an avid diary-keeper (and now story-writer), I'm not bothered at all.  So when he said he wanted to dictate his story for me to type up too, I happily agreed. His story was a kind of re-telling of his much-loved Captain Underpants books, which is just fine by me.  There's plenty of time for him to find his own voice and stories. (nb Same with the names.  The green was his choice)

Captain Underpants and the Baddie Bus
Once there were two children called Middle and Youngest.  They had a mean old principal called Mr Krupp.  He was mean to them – he made them sweep the gym for ten hours!  Then Middle and Youngest bought a 3D hypno-ring and they hypnotised Mr Krupp and turned him into their favourite super-hero, called CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS!  Then Captain Underpants flew out of the window and was ready to fight crime.  He clung on to the supervillain bus and then he climbed through the window and saw Professor Poopypants, Evil Dr Nappy, the Turbo Toilet 2000 and the Wedgie Woman.  He was so surprised that he needed help.  He blew the ‘need help’ horn and asked his superhero friends to help him, which were Super Diaper Baby, Diaper Dog, Ook and Gluk, and Middle and Youngest.  Then they fought Professor Poopypants, Evil Dr Nappy, the Turbo Toilet 2000 and the Wedgie Woman.  Captain Underpants grabbed a giant metal plunger, Super Diaper Baby and Diaper Dog grabbed their blankies, and Ook and Gluk used their kung-fu skills and Middle and Youngest used their hypno ring and shrink ray.
Then Captain Underpants hit Professor Poopypants on the butt with his giant metal plunger.  Super Diaper Baby and Diaper Dog used their super powers and flew and crashed Evil Dr Nappy.  Ook and Gluk used their kung-fu skills on the Turbo Toilet 2000 and Middle and Youngest used their 3D hypno ring and hypnotised Wedgie Woman into falling off a cliff.
They all beat the bad guys.  Then Middle and Youngest went back home and Youngest said “I wonder if we’re going to have another adventure...” and Middle said “I don’t know, but it’s time to go back home and eat tea.”


And Eldest's story?  I think it deserves a blog post of its own, once it is completed (not least because of its length)... I will post when it's finished!


  1. Wonderful stories! And, although I doubt my J will ever be a writer, it's lovely to hear that there is always hope that they will come to it in time! Do you read the HigglepeaHomeEd blog? Their 2 eldest girls are very much into animals/conservation and have just started college after getting all their qualifications whilst being home-schooled - might be a useful contact re Eldest's ambitions? R x

    1. Oh great, thanks Rachel. I have read the blog before, but it's obviously time to have another visit!