7 Steps to Making Great Homeschool Writers

homeschooling, homeschool writing

I love the freshness that a new year brings! I love the feeling that I have a clean page… and can start anew. In review of what we had done in our homeschool last year I felt that we were really lacking in the area of creative writing. I felt that my kids needed a greater challenge this spring, and that is exactly what I hope to do. So, today I’m just gonna take a minute to share my plans for integrating a better fostering of creative writing.

Here are a few of my New Year’s plans for writing at our house…

1) Write more frequently. Like any skill, it only gets better with practice.

2) Use creative writing prompts like these.

3) Purchase special paper – colorful, bordered, or make your own… to make your child’s writing experience a little more exciting. You can print your own here.

4) Do pre reading activities. Read a story, or talk about something that interests them, and then have them tell you what they think orally. For older kids, have them go write it down.

5) Sign your children up for an online writing course. You can take a couple minutes to watch a tutorial of what is taught on Time4Writing. This is a good solid way to give your kids foundational writing skills.

6) Give your older elementary children the essential essay writing format. Review it frequently and write at least one essay per week. I started doing this just a little when mine were in fifth grade. This year, they are sixth graders and we are trying to incorporate essay writing frequently into our daily schedule. I’ve also just

home school writing

purchased “Don’t forget to Write.” We are hoping that this will boost our resolution to write more and better this year.

7) Every good writer must be a reader! Encourage your children to read, read, read!

The Fear of Writing

What are you afraid of the most? Some people have a paralyzing fear of writing…

The dreaded blank page… the hand hovering over the first line on an empty sheet of paper… the fingers pausing above a keyboard before a blank computer screen… What is it about that first line that even the most published authors fear? Some say it is the fear of the blank page that creates the best writers. Anyway you look at it, it is a challenge that Jr. and Senior High students face daily. The numerous writing assignments that are designed to prepare them for college confront them with this fear. Many students claim that they just don’t know where to begin – they fear that blank page.

Using pre-writing activities is the best way to overcome these fears.  Some call it research, others call it brainstorming. Call it whatever you choose, but it will help put your writing fears to rest. After the writer has an established topic, prewriting activities should begin by: reading, exploring, remembering, thinking, planning, connecting, discovering, notetaking, and outlining. All of these activities will build an arsenal of knowledge and preparation, and when the writer MUST write there is a wealth of information, ideas, and examples that will be able to flow. When I tutor students preparing for essay exams, I encourage them to do recreational reading. Reading for personal pleasure will supply the writer with a wealth of ideas. Though these are definitely not a cure all for the “fear of writing”, these simple preparations will help alleviate “writing fear.”

The more excited a student is about his/her topic the more fluent their writing will be… find the motivation and you have the key!

Learn Skills From Life

Learn Teamwork from playing ball…

Learn economics from starting an afterschool job/business…

Learn geography through travel and exploring…

Learn civics by getting involved in politics, a mock election, or watching a debate…

Learn computer skills by writing a blog, taking courses online, and using word processors…

Learn to write by writing letters, reports, and papers… the more you do it the better you get…

Learn science by exploring and analyzing nature, animals, rocks, and the weather…

Printing vs. Cursive Writing- What do you think?


 

What method of writing are you teaching your children? The traditional method or a cursive only method? The traditional American way of teaching writing is to teach the beginning learner print and then switch over to a cursive style of writing when they reach third grade. Then there are those who feel like teaching two separate methods of writing is a waste of time. The proponents of the cursive only method believe that teaching them cursive or at least a simplified version of cursive to start with will alleviate making the student learn an entire new way to write later. Third grade is a milestone year for most learners. This is the year they are expected to be reading fluently and expected to know their multiplication and division tables. Adding a whole new way of writing to their homeschool education could be cataclysmic.

If we teach our children one method of writing, the child can focus on the other important requirements they face toward the end of elementary school. By the time they are expected to know their multiplication tables, they should already have writing well under control.

If you are interested in teaching your child cursive from the start, using a D’Nealian style script for the preschool and kindergarten years naturally flows into cursive. I prefer a bit more curly version of D’Nealian, one that is almost purely cursive.

This is a sample of:

You can also find cursive only workbooks and texts designed especially for preschoolers through ABEKA books.

5 Ways to Incorporate Elementary Composition

Children are imaginative and creative by nature. This imagination and creativity are taken away as the child ages and if the child does not have to use his/her imagination. We should begin encouarging creative writing at a very early age, so that our children can get full benefit of their creativity.

Children write about the things that they know or can imagine. The subject material that they begin to compose should be drawn from these. There are a few guidelines to helping your elementary age child get the most out of their writing experience.

1) Have a regular time that your child writes. If they write at the same time each day or week, it will eventually become a habit.  A great habit at that!

2)Help your children discover what it is that inspires them to write. Use this as a springboard for each writing session.

3) Encourage your children to see writing as a process that includes planning/researching, composing/writing, rewriting, and editing. Help them realize that a good piece of writing will go through many revisions.

4) A good writer is a fluent writer.  If your child is writing daily or weekly, you can choose a few of these typical assignments to revise and rework and give them a polishing suitable for a public audience.

5) Encourage your child to write for an audience. A peer group works well for live demonstrations, however, allowing your child to write a blog – on a safe place such as homeschool blogger .com would give them an audience and a creative platform.

6) Focus on content when you assess a child’s writing. You want them to work on gaining awesome content in their projects. Check the grammar and punctuation last – you don’t want to discourage their writing just as they are getting started.

7)The success of writing should be measured by how it meets its intended purpose. What was the writer trying to accomplish with the composition? If this is met – then they have achieved their goal.

Referenced from The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling

Writing and the FEAR of the blank page…

You know that feeling, the blank white page staring you in the face… and the blank mind that answers it with no inspiration.  Ugh…I feel it, you feel it, just think what a child feels when they are faced with the daunting task of having to fill a page with creative writing.

The best way to head off this situation is by using prewriting activities. You can get your homeschooler thinking by reading an inspiring book, or talking about an inspiring location, or even by reading an example of creative writing similar to what you are expecting from your students. Incorporating these activities into your homeschool curriculum is the easiest way to alleviate the fear. Prewriting activities get the creative juices flowing. They are the fodder from which your child’s creative juices can feed!

Giving your child the gift of confidence as a creative writer may unlock unimaginable doors of potential.