teach them diligently [written correspondence]


Welcome to the sixth installment of my Teach Them Diligently series. If you’re new here and would like to see the other topics, click below.

January [ironing]

February [the oven]

March [saving]

April [safety]

May [purging]


One of my goals for this year is to continue teaching my children some skills to make them more independent of me. A focus of our learning around here is to take full advantage of all the learning we can in and around the home. In addition to math, science, and languages, I feel it’s my duty to help my children learn to care for their own needs. Each month of this year, I am focusing on a different skill/chore and taking my time to instruct my children.

This isn’t earth-shattering news. These aren’t difficult skills. No doubt generations of mothers before me have been doing this since the dawn of time. I have been slowly showing and teaching my children these things since they were tiny. First it was to put away toys into baskets and bins and over the years that has evolved into doing their own laundry, loading and emptying the dishwasher, and making their own beds. As they are growing, so, too, should their level of involvement around the house.

Our kids do earn “commissions” for a few set chores each week, but the skills we are working on this year are “just because” skills. They will learn to write a proper thank you note because while written correspondence is a dying art, genuine gratitude will never go out of style. 

This month we have reviewed the importance and the “how to” of formal note writing; specifically writing thank you notes.


During the school year, as part of Mae and Thomas’s Language Lessons, they review parts of a personal and a formal letter. They review how to properly address an envelope. During the school year, our kids all write letters and notes to their Army buddies all over. They have sent mail to South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington D.C., and Texas. As much as they enjoy writing these letters, they enjoy so much more receiving mail themselves.

We try to encourage our kids to also write thank you notes for gifts at Christmas and birthdays. I will admit I used to be SO much better about this myself. I’m trying to model good manners and also provide my kids with the tools they need to be thankful and well-mannered people. This summer, we decided to beef up our skills and practice!

First, I make sure we have the proper tools:

Untitled design-4

I keep us loaded down with fun stationery. I ordered all of these 4×6 cards from Vistaprint for nearly nothing several years ago. They are blank on the back and we use these for sending postcards and as enclosure cards for gifts.

In addition to stationery (flat and folded), I keep good pens and postage stamps on hand at all times.Every time we move, I treat myself to a new, fun return address label stamp. It’s important that my kids know where to find what they need when they are ready to write. I keep it all in a drawer in our office/


Next, I make sure my kids have the correct information for the recipient like the right (most current) address. I also double check the envelopes to be sure that all of the proper information is included.

Finally, we have reviewed what makes up a good thank you note. Southern Living has some good advice here. I also enjoyed reading this fun little book on 101 Ways to Say Thank You.


Over the years, I have enjoyed not only sending out thank you notes, but I also especially love sending notes of encouragement to others. On occasions when I have been down and out, one of my go-to methods for an attitude adjustment is to send someone else a kind word or two in the snail mail.

Ryan and I want our children to know the importance and value of gratitude and thankfulness. Knowing how to write a proper thank you note is a skill that reinforces that sentiment.

“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,” {Ephesians 1:16}

3 thoughts on “teach them diligently [written correspondence]

  1. Karen Ward says:

    I’m so glad you are teaching the kids how to write thank you notes! Sometimes, I feel like I’m the only mother that has taught her child an almost lost art. I’m not saying that to brag but I do notice that when we send out gifts, it is very rare that we receive a thank you note. I know there must be others who teach their children to do this but I think we are few and far between! We recently received a sweet message from one of our friends commenting on the fact they had gotten a thank you note from Rachel to thank them for her graduation gift. She said that they had mailed out four cards, with checks, and as yet, Rachel was the only one who had sent an acknowledgment and thank you.


    • claire says:

      Well, we did receive a sweet thank-you note from Rachel recently, so keep up the good work Mama! I know I used to be much better about sending handwritten notes, but now with text messaging and email, I sometimes get lazy and go that route. I do know that nothing replaces handwritten! ❤


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