This One’s A Keeper

Alex has been in day camp this week (he is officially at an age where he wants to go to ALL THE CAMPS – sports, science, Scouts, whatever), so I’ve been trying to knock out some writing and figure out to do with all the clutter in this house. I feel like I’m drowning in books and candles and plates and whatnots, and this morning it’s taken every bit of restraint I have not to run over to Target and buy three or four plastic bins and just LOAD ‘EM UP for the thrift store. I feel like I need to be more methodical than that, but by the same token, if I just go ahead and get rid of that bowl / those cookbooks / that basket that holds all the random pieces of paper, then it’s done and it’s gone and we’re probably not gonna miss it.

And listen. I don’t buy a lot of stuff for my house. Which is why I can’t figure out where in the world all this stuff comes from.

Earlier this morning I took a writing break and decided it was a good time to wade through the stacks of paper on the end of our kitchen counter. The month of May was so crazy that I sort of gave up on going through the mail, so today I paid the postal piper and sorted all of that stuff. I threw away most of it, but I also put wedding invitation dates on the calendar, ordered some graduation gifts, and basically felt like I was an organizational wonder.

Don’t worry. It’ll all be a train wreck again in a few days. But today? I CONQUERED THE PILE.

And in the process, I found something that I am oh-so-happy to save.

When Alex’s class was learning about persuasive writing this past year, his teacher asked them to write a letter to a parent and make a case for something that they wanted or wanted to do. They had to be logical, they had to be clear – and they had to deliver the letter to a parent. The catch was that there couldn’t be a conversation about the issue at hand; the parent had to write a reply and then send it back to school. Alex’s teacher read each response out loud to the class, and apparently they laughed their heads off.

Not literally, of course. That would’ve been terrible.


This morning I re-read our letters, and I got so tickled. It was such a great assignment because it encouraged the kids to write in a way that’s unique to their personalities, and it also provided some sweet moments between the kids and their parents. I love that I can look at Alex’s letter and hear his voice when I read, and the fact that I had to respond made me really think through my rationale for the answer.

By the way, he asked for an iPad mini.

By the way, I said no.

I’m pretty sure that Alex wrote the letter to me instead of D because he figured I would be more likely to say yes – but oh well. At least we had some good laughs in the process.

And I even have a handwritten souvenir.

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  1. Can I tell you how very much I love his cursive handwriting? It makes me sad that most kids (mine included) don’t have this as a top priority in their classes. :(

    • Heather says:

      May I second that? It isn’t even taught here anymore. What a tragedy! Beautiful cursive…son and Mama! Loved the post!

  2. How cool. It must be amazing to see your kids’ personalities in their writing voices. I look forward to those days (and the souvenirs).

  3. I love it! I just may have to borrow that idea for my own students… I loved that it gave them an authentic audience and purpose and, like you said, the assignment reflected their own personalities. THOSE can be important keys to helping them value and enjoy writing!

  4. jana crosby says:

    That’s so sweet. In first grade I wrote a letter to my teacher saying I could not go outside and signed my mother’s name. It prompted a phone call. I can only guess my beginner penmanship gave it away. I still have it also. As my own daughter enters Kindergarten, let’s pray she isn’t like her mommy.

  5. Sophie I love this and will add it to my fifth grade writing assignments list!

  6. Rebecca says:

    Well if you ever decide you REALLY want to get rid of the clutter and extraneous whatnots do call in my daughter- she has a gift! We call her Hurricane Melissa around here because she doesn’t mess around with the mess- in very short order it is sorted through and out the door is not to be kept! Seriously, she has been a huge help to me in these tasks and I truly feel so much better. My advice? Trash sacks cuz plastic bins just moves it to another spot in your house!

  7. Pattie says:

    What a great assignment! “You are incredible, you are amazing…By the way, I have one question…” This is so precious—must go in a treasure box! So cute is that boy! I recently found some of the memorabilia belonging to my now 37-year-old daughter, and there is one particular document from 3K where the teacher asked the questions and recorded her answers. Among the questions was “If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?” Her answer was “Smith’s.” Smith’s is still a fun place to go!

  8. I love how he starts by buttering you up! He’s a smart one!

  9. Jeanie says:

    I’m very impressed by what I can read of Alex’s letter. His handwriting and punctuation look great!

  10. I am SO stealing this idea when I have my kiddos do persuasive writing next year! Please tell your son’s teacher that more than one teacher is stealing her idea. From one teacher to another, it will be an encouragement to her.

  11. Wow! His handwriting is great! He’s a clever one!

  12. Tracey Knight says:

    sophie, what i love most is that A thanks you for taking care of Hazel while he’s gone. that’s a little show of responsibility he’s tucked into that sentence & it is touching. someone taught him well so good job, mom! :)

  13. This is so sweet! LOVE IT! What a sweet son!

    I have a few letters like this from my kids. I kept them, too!

  14. Sherrie Lynn says:

    I can always use some PILE MANAGEMENT tips. That’s how I refer to trying to maintain order with all the mail and papers and junk that certainly does accumulate in my kitchen. Sigh.