The kids and I have started interactive journalling. I tried a few years ago, but they really didn't have the writing skills or the interest yet to keep it up. This fall when my mom offered to buy a couple of books for us, I remembered this idea, and decided to pick up a journal for each of the kids. We're having so much fun!
A lot of the notes are "I love you, Mom!" but we also draw pictures to each other or say something funny, and I'm able to share things they do that bless me or make me proud of them. They love to read what I've written to them and respond back. Kids need lots of encouragement, and this is a great way to give them some.
Another benefit is that they are much more willing to write. Today when I was working on our Language Arts (changing passive verb sentences into ones with active verbs), I noticed Zac wasn't responding to my question--and he told me he was going to write it first and then tell me! This is my child who has been allergic to writing!
Now, I am a little sneaky, I admit, because we're secretly working on spelling too. I don't correct their spelling, but I notice words they misspell, and I try to use the words in my response, with the correct spelling of course. I've seen them start to spell several common words correctly through this. Gotta love those side benefits!
A great resource for encouraging all kinds of journalling is The Gift of Family Writing. Another favorite resource for encouraging writing in general, whether you homeschool or want to help your kids afterschool, is The Writer's Jungle.
Dave likes to write notes for the kids & hide them in their pants pockets for them to find, and they love this too. What things do you do to encourage your kids through writing?