Strengthen Your Family Through Biblical Homeschooling

Tag: writing

writing creative girl

Martin Luther said, “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen!” Harriet Beecher Stowe proved this with her compelling novel in the 1800’s, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. President Abraham Lincoln hailed her as “the little woman who started this great Civil War” because of the powerful narrative of slavery she portrayed. If the written word is so paramount in shaping the world around us, how can we as educators develop its importance in our homeschools?

Creative Writing is far more than leading your children to make up fanciful stories.

It offers a multitude of educational opportunities building skills your children will use throughout their lifetimes.

  • It teaches how to unleash creativity, how to think outside the box, invent and practice imagination. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
  • It helps children succeed and grow in confidence. They may not feel brave enough to tackle a new skill, or process a current life experience but through speaking through the eyes of the characters they can write about it.
  • It teaches strategic thought and problem solving through learning how to write a plot.
  • It teaches close observation through learning to develop sensory writing which happily overflows into science class!
  • It teaches characterization, producing self expression and empathy.
  • It livens up language class by teaching sentence structure and format in a fun way.
  • It helps develop creative nonfiction writing by learning how to write vividly.

Five Great Tips to Help your Child Succeed in Creative Writing

  1.  Whatever they write, praise, praise, praise! You may wince on the inside over the spelling or neatness, but don’t let on. They may beam at the fact that they produced only one sentence in the beginning. So water your little plants with encouragement and watch them grow, grow, grow!
  2. Let them write about what they love. Kooky plots, oddball characters, made up fantasy worlds and all. Many times a child is processing what they are learning about in life through their characters.
  3. Don’t make creative writing a lesson in grammar or spelling. This is paramount! If the critical voice of correction becomes too noisy, it will drown out the creative voice and your child will stop wanting to write and may resist you. As their spelling improves during spelling class and grammar improves in language class, it will trickle down to writing class.
  4. Keep tools handy that will help them succeed. Find a fun and inexpensive creative writing curriculum that can help you step by step. Look for something that is easy to use and will help your child stir up ideas.
  5.  Give them a reason to write by starting a Friday night Flashlight Theater or Writing Club. Invite grandma and grandpa, neighbors or friends over to listen to the next adventure your child has written. Turn off the lights and shine several flashlights on the reader. Pop popcorn or serve a favorite snack. Let your child read their stories for all to hear. Soon they will be motivated to write more and the other children may want to join in and write as well.

God is raising up Christian writers in this generation! We need more authors like C.S. Lewis to remind us of courage, loyalty, the reward of godliness and the cost of evil. And those little writers, who are sitting at their desks in your homeschool, writing about cute puppies and kittens, could be the next world changers for Christ!

A couple of favorite interactive writing curriculums are:

Ocean Adventures in WritingDevelop characters much like the beloved movie Finding Nemo. Each child picks a character to become and writes from that point of view. It’s ocean-fuls of fun and learning!

Isabel Writing Adventure for Girls-Easy lessons that walk the student through the basics of creative writing while encouraging Christian themes. Students create a character for their story, then as a paper doll, make her closet and design her clothes. Roll playing the adventures as they go!

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

For more on writing, become a member of Teach Them Diligently 365, and watch the video on “Secrets to Making Writing Fun”.
Secrets to Making Writing Fun
“Secrets to Making Writing Fun”

Writing can be an enjoyable activity for budding writers. This workshop will equip you with tips and ideas to use with elementary-age children during writing time. The result? Your children will not only produce polished writing projects, they will also be begging for the next lesson!

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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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young man sitting in grass writing

Journalism, you probably have some pretty set ideas of what it is, and why you can’t teach it as a homeschool class. Perhaps you think journalists must write for a student newspaper in junior high or high school. You know there must be follow up through a college major in journalism or communications. Then, your mind goes on to requisite internships during and after college.

Frances Schaffer once said Christians need to take back several areas of our culture.  One of those areas is journalism. It may seem an overwhelming challenge to teach journalism — especially if you don’t have a way to create a student newspaper. However, if you accept the challenge, you may train the next David Brinkley or William Buckley, Jr.

Let’s follow Frances Schaffer’s call and send Christian  journalists from our homeschools into the publishing world.

News writing involves many of the skills you are already covering in the subjects you are teaching.

Let’s take a quick look at the skill set your young writer needs to develop:

Writing skills: Did you know a journalist needs practice in all areas of writing, including poetry and fiction? Continue to teach all types of writing during your child’s academic career.

Editing skills: News reporting requires clear communication. To do that, each reporter needs to be able to do more than recognize grammar and spelling errors. A good exercise for editing is to take a newspaper or magazine article as well as blog or web post and have your student edit it. Can  your writer assess whether thoughts are stated clearly? Reading an article aloud is a tried and true way to catch both grammar and syntax errors. Does your writer do a good job of fact-checking and tracking sources? Good writers need all these skills.

Deadlines: As homeschoolers, it is easy to let deadlines slip due to family events, illness, or a championship soccer game. A news reporter never has that option. Deadlines are imperative, especially in this age of instant access to news. Give your student various deadlines: one week, 24 hours, even 90 minutes. Continue to help and encourage the best work possible.

Research: A journalist often writes about more than immediate information. Background information is often needed to  fill in or flesh out a story. Efficient research skills save time and effort.

Interview skills: Talking to a stranger is hard. Your student will need to learn this skill. It’s more than just casual conversation, though. Asking clear and relevant questions is important. In addition to asking the questions, a news reporter must take quick, clear, and accurate notes. Interviewing can begin with a neighbor, relative, or a church friend.

Current events: A good journalist knows what’s going on in the world, nation, and neighborhood. It’s a good idea for your student to follow news outlets. Reading and listening to news outlets with various points of view helps your young journalist learn to filter the facts. Try this: have your child read an article about the same event from two different news sources, both liberal and conservative. Compare and contrast the information. What facts are used? Do both sources use the same fact? Are the facts stated differently to put a spin on them? Are there facts that can be verified through original sources?

History: To have a good perspective, even though news reporting is generally about current information, a solid background in history is important as well. It puts current events into context.

Online writing and desktop publishing skills: Many popular news sources are now exclusively online. Often a reporter must write articles directly onto a website platform. Have your student create and maintain a simple blog to learn some of the basics of website writing.

Reading: A writer must read with excellent comprehension skills and be able to quickly scan for pertinent information. A good writer, no matter the genre, is a prolific reader.

Not so bad, right? You are already teaching many of the above skills without even thinking of it in the context of journalism.

Need more ideas for helping your budding writer embrace journalism?

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Write letters to the editor of your hometown paper.
  2. Submit articles for local magazines and newspapers as well as online sites geared toward teens.
  3. Ask if your child can shadow a news reporter for a day or two to see how the job is done. Develop a list of 20 questions and interview the reporter at the end of the time. Write a news article about the shadowing.
  4. Invite a core group of other young writers to join you in creating an online or hard copy newsletter for homeschoolers in your area. Ask folks to submit article ideas about interesting topics in your homeschool community. Send out reporters to follow the story and conduct interviews. BAM! You have a small journalism class in progress.
  5. No real homeschool community nearby? What family or church doesn’t need a newsletter? Apply that idea to the ideas in #4 above and you still have a great journalism project under way.

Still think teaching journalism at home is beyond your reach? Yea. We didn’t think so!

Resources:

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

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girl writing with laptop

Thanksgiving writing prompts for  middle school students offer a variety of ways to sneak a little bit of school into your hectic holiday-schooling days. Use the holiday excitement building in your home to make writing assignments more exciting as well.

These ideas will help get creative juices flowing. Let your student brainstorm others to add to the list. Make these assignments easy and breezy by requiring only a paragraph or two. If your student gets excited by a topic, you may hear pleas of, “Let me write more?” Who is gonna turn down an offer like that?Image result for turkey

  • If you had a pet turkey, what would you name it?
  • Write a list of things that remind you of Thanksgiving. Which are your favorites and why?
  • If you could make your own Thanksgiving pie, what would it be? What ingredients would you use?
  • Describe your perfect Thanksgiving Day!
  • Make a list of things you are thankful for.
  • Make an Acrostic Poem out of the word THANKSGIVING
  • If you could be in a Thanksgiving Day parade, what would your role be?
  • Talk about your favorite Thanksgiving Day foods and why you like them.
  • Write out clues for a game of ‘What Am I?’ to play on car trips. For example, use one of the list-building ideas above. Write clues for those items on slips of paper. Put them in a Ziploc baggie. Pull them out during the trip, and see who can guess what the items on your list are from your clues.

Topics may be meaningful, exciting, silly and funny.

If you want your middle school student to reflect on and  appreciate the deeper meaning of Thanksgiving use these prompts.

  • Describe an act of kindness you gave or received. How did that inspire you to be kinder?
  • What brings you joy? Why?
  • Describe something beautiful you enjoy. Why do you find it meaningful.
  • List 5 things you are good at and 5 things each family member is good at.
  • What are you thankful for and why?

Give your middle schoolers ways to express gratitude during this season. Include a theme like ’10 Days of Gratitude’. Create a thankful tree and have students hang tags on the tree listing things they are thankful for.

There are many ways to have middle schoolers express simple but meaningful ideas on paper when you use Thanksgiving-themed writing prompts. What prompts have you used with your middle schooler that received the most surprising or enthusiastic response?

 

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

To learn even more helpful homeschooling tools, click here to sign up for the newsletter.

Do you want more articles on a wide range of topics like discipleship, academics, family, encouragement and general homeschooling?  Just click here to search the vast blog library!

 

Secrets to Making Writing Fun

Teach Them Diligently 365 members, listen to:

“Secrets to Making Writing Fun”

Writing can be an enjoyable activity for budding writers. This workshop will equip you with tips and ideas to use with elementary-age children during writing time. The result? Your children will not only produce polished writing projects, they’ll also be begging for the next lesson!

Become a member of Teach Them Diligently 365 for access to more!

Sign up for a free 7 day trial and explore the extensive content!

 

And don’t forget to register to attend one of the conventions coming up in Spring 2019!

 

 

Register for the Homeschool Convention Today

What to write…

Does your student have a passion for writing? Are writing assignments met with groans of protest? These fall writing themes will foster writing fun for even reluctant writers. Here are some eye-catching writing prompts to kick off the season in your home:

Describe Fall with your Five Senses – Ask your middle schooler to explain how their senses work by challenging them to describe the season using their senses. How does their favorite fall treat taste? What are their favorite fall sounds and smells? Go for nature walks and have them use adjectives to describe the sounds they hear.  Note how sound carries differently now than during other seasons. Encourage noticing tiny details to get creative juices flowing.

Describe Carving a Pumpkin – Many families will carve pumpkins during October. Images and designs are endless.  Ask your student to write about how they would like to carve their pumpkin. If this is an activity they have never done but would like to, go out and pick a pumpkin,(fun fall field trip) allow them to carve and experience, then write about it.

Make a List of Fall Activities – What does your middle schooler like to do in the fall? Go to the apple orchard? Go on a hayride? Jump in a pile of raked leaves? Have your student write about their favorites and add as much detail as they can.

Describe your Favorite Donut – Have them get creative by pretending to be the donut, what flavor would they be or maybe describe their favorite donut and why. Write about a day in the life of a donut from 1st person. How does it feel to be eaten? Why not cap off  the activity by making donuts to celebrate the reluctant writer’s efforts?

Write about Baking a Pie – If your middle schooler loves baking, encourage them to bake their favorite and then write about the experience. Describe what it took to actually make the pie, so a friend could make one too.  Have students rate the results by describing how it tastes, what the texture was like, etc. Develop a survey sheet for family members to rate their pie eating experience.

Write about Favorite Candy – Does your middle schooler have a favorite type of candy? Encourage them to write about it from the name to color, texture, smell, etc. Compare and contrast their favorite candy with their least favorite.

Describe your Favorite Fall Outfit – What does your child like to wear during the fall season? Encourage them to write details on why they like it and why they chose colors, etc. If they are sensory defensive, ask them to describe how certain new fall fabrics irritate them vs which clothing items comfort them and why.

Thanksgiving – Have your middle schooler write about Thanksgiving and what they like about it noting sights, sounds, textures, and smells they remember from one year to the next. What are they most thankful for?

Be Creative

Fall writing prompts are endless. You can get really silly and creative as well. Encourage your middle schooler to develop  come up writing prompts for younger siblings and have them all write using that prompt — then compare the responses. Writing doesn’t have to be a drag; it can be fun and exciting.

Share your most successful fall writing prompt in the comments below.

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

 

To learn even more helpful homeschooling tools, click here to sign up for the newsletter.

Do you want more articles on a wide range of topics like discipleship, academics, family, encouragement and general homeschooling?  Just click here to search the vast blog library!

 

Secrets to Making Writing Fun

Teach Them Diligently 365 members, listen to:

“Secrets to Making Writing Fun”

Writing can be an enjoyable activity for budding writers. This workshop will equip you with tips and ideas to use with elementary-age children during writing time. The result? Your children will not only produce polished writing projects, they’ll also be begging for the next lesson!

Become a member of Teach Them Diligently 365 for access to more!

Sign up for a free 7 day trial and explore the extensive content!

 

 

Register for the Homeschool Convention Today

Applying to colleges can be a long and exhausting process. Most schools require an application, standardized test scores (the ACT or SAT), high school transcripts, and some universities may even require essays. These essays generally involve asking the student to answer questions about their lives and are used to measure writing ability, communication skills and personal development. We at Ohio Christian University have put together seven tips to help you write an awesome entrance essay to help you get into the school of your dreams!

Tips for writing

  1. Brainstorm—Find a creative way to link your personality traits to the essay question. Be sure to fully answer their prompt while also making a distinction from other applicants.
  2. Structure the Essay—Create an outline and begin writing a first draft, knowing that changes will be made.
  3. Hook the Reader—Admissions counselors read many essays at a time. Find a way to get them interested in your essay from the start.
  4. Be Honest and Concise—Do not simply write what you think they want to see. Answer each question honestly and to the point.
  5. Proofread—Reread the essay carefully and make corrections.
  6. Ask for Feedback—Essays can be improved by being reviewed by other eyes. Ask your parents, teachers or friends!
  7. Proofread Again—Now that additional changes have been made, read through the essay carefully once more and make any final adjustments.

 

Want more information about transitioning from homeschool to college? Read the rest of our FREE eBook.

 

 

Homeschool Guidance CounselorFind out how you and your high school student can attend Teach Them Diligently for FREE and get invaluable information delivered to your inbox each month through our Homeschool Guidance Counselor program! Get details here!!

 

 

 

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Homeschooling Parents

About David and Leslie Nunnery

Leslie Nunnery and her husband David founded Teach Them Diligently, the nation’s premier source for gospel-centered homeschool events. With seven years of homeschooling experience from preschool-high school and a passion to encourage and equip homeschool families, this mom of 4 shares her know-how and insights weekly through Teach Them Diligently media and on TeachThemDiligently365.com.

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