I had notebooks filled to the brim with stories – fanfiction, though they didn’t call it that at the time. But since you’re reading this blog, you know how that turned out. Writing is still an important part of my life. I just don’t write fiction anymore.
My children, though? That’s another matter entirely. While my eldest can’t stand to write academic assignments, she’ll spend hours scribbling stories in notebooks like her mother. Her sister’s burgeoning grasp of the reading and writing doesn’t stop her, either – I’ll find pages scrawled with phonetic approximations of words; the introduction, perhaps, to a story.
Because I believe writing is such an important part of a child’s growth, and because I don’t want it to be something my children dread, I turned to a friend of mine, Jeanie Egolf. She’s the author and illustrator of the Molly McBride series, and a former physician to boot.
Tell me a little about your background. How did you come to write and illustrate the Molly McBride series?
Describe your work/life Balance. How do you attend to your vocation as wife and mother while pursuing your passion at the same time?
What’s your philosophy on screen time? Does it have potential benefits? Or is it something you try to avoid altogether?
I am not a huge fan of screen time. We monitor online activity like crazy and limit it to 30 minutes a day. An extra 30 minutes can sometimes be “earned” by doing extra school or housework. In the evenings, we all watch something on TV for about an hour together: usually HGTV or Food Network, animal shows, etc.
When I was practicing, pediatricians believed screen time was one cause of autism, and that parents should NEVER EVER let a child under 2 or 3 see a tv or computer screen at ALL. Additionally, too much screen time is linked to kids having vision problems: sometimes they get mistaken for being dyslexic or having other learning disabilities when actually they can’t see well due to eyes that only see screens all day! My hubby is an ophthalmologist and [for this reason] is very strict about getting the kids’ vision checked. At one point the younger daughter had some trouble with her vision, so he made her stay completely off the computer and it cleared up.
How do you share your passion with your children? What do your children think about what you do?
My kids seem to be budding writers and artists as well. They spend a lot of time making comics and stories. They play on a program called Pixton a lot, which is an online comic maker. It has really gotten my younger daughter to write at last! And I don’t let them publish unless spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. are correct.
Write as a Family: Laid-back Writing Activities for Kids
Because childhood literacy is a passion Jeannie and I both share, I’ve pulled together a list of resources for families who’d like to encourage more writing at home:
The more you and your children write together, the easier it will become. Low-stress, fun-focused writing activities are the best way to encourage more writing at home and in the classroom.
(Want more Molly McBride? You can find Molly (and Jeanie!) on Facebook.)
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