For many homeschooling parents and students, writing is a difficult and dreaded subject. “If you and your child are reluctant writers, there are ways to foster this skill.
Read quality books aloud.
Reading aloud early and often is the best way I know to instill a love of words in your child. This daily habit is the first step to inspire reluctant writers. There is just something about a great story. I still remember the day when my eldest daughter (who was then only 7) told me she loved our read aloud times. Her exact words were, “I can close my eyes and see the story in my mind.” I knew she was on her way to becoming a lover of books. I was not wrong. Think of ways to add read aloud times by using audio books while running errands or taking family trips. Weave academics into your day while doing life!
Give her books to read that are written by young authors.
Once your child is reading on her own, find quality books written by teens or tweens. As they read their words and understand young people can do great things, you may ignite a writing spark. For younger writers, let them begin crafting their own stories with your help. Let them dictate their ideas to you or an older sibling because they may think faster than they can write.
Provide a place to write.
Keep writing center tools readily available in your home. Be sure to create a comfortable space to sit and write. Provide access to writing prompts, photos, magazines with great images, or a view out the window to help your child’s creative juices flow. Allow your child to head outdoors to write if they want to. Collect fun writing implements such as colored pens and pencils, different kinds of paper, a notebook, and a journal. Encourage them to jot down any ideas that come to mind and keep them in a safe place to refer to later when they sit down to write. This practice will help them find writing interesting and exciting. They will have everything they need at hand when they’re ready to get started! Let them choose their own writing topics vs. feeling you have to assign every one from a curriculum guide.
Protect their writing time.
Most children have daily academic work and chores. Some are involved in extra activities, sports, or classes outside the home as well. Providing protected time for extra writing as desired encourages a love of writing. Whether 30 minutes a couple times a week or every evening after dinner, your allowing the time indicates their interests are equally important to you. You validate their interests while you provide time to hone their writing skills.
Read what your child writes with excitement.
Take the time to focus and truly pay attention to your child’s writings. Let them know with a smile and your full attention that you are excited to see what they have thought up this time. Nothing encourages a writer like hearing affirmation of their words. Don’t feel as though every effort is an ‘assignment’ waiting for edits and corrections. Just rejoice at your child’s spontaneous creativity and lavish praise for the work. Save some of those unedited efforts as a time capsule of your writer’s development.
Give constructive criticism IF they ask for it.
When your child completes their homeschool writing lesson, you will provide instruction and correction. With this extra, creative writing, refrain from corrections. If you see areas of improvement you need to address, work those issues into their assigned work. If your child asks you to critique their writing, it’s fine to offer advice without making it ‘schoolwork’. Most of the time, my child simply wants me to read his story and likes to discuss it with me. Perhaps we will delve into how he chose his topic, why he likes it, and more. If you are too quick to offer correction, you may not get to enjoy the privilege of these kinds of conversations.
Writing is very personal. When we share our efforts, we are hoping to evoke an emotion, stir a reaction, and touch your life in some way. Ignore the glaring misspellings and dangling participles for now. Simply enjoy what your child has to offer.
My daughter went from a struggling reader to a now self-published teen author. She has some amazing, God-given talent. I believe growing up in an environment where she has been encouraged in her writing has helped nurture that talent. What might your child accomplish with a bit of encouragement and a few writing tools?
Do you have some helpful tips to encourage your child to write? Please share them so we can all add to our writing toolbox!
This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.
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