I personally love to write.
I write poems
I write short stories
I write short stories in a poem format
I learned to love the act of writing in middle school.
I have had the hardest time teaching the same thing to my kids.
My kids do wonderfully with narration. They can retell a story or a movie very well and with enthusiasm. They remember every plot twist, every funny moment, and every sad situation of the book or movie. If you ask them to write it down though, it is the end of the world. Fussing,
arguing, and all out refusal to write is what I get. I thought maybe they just were not interested enough in the topic. Maybe I should try and ask them to write on a subject they are passionate about. Minecraft. Pokemon. Animals.
Write about whatever you want just please write!
This produced a short paragraph thankfully. Victory! Finally a paragraph. We did that for some time but then I needed them to start writing more. Can we have three paragraphs on a topic of your choice? Just an introduction paragraph, a paragraph on basic information and a closing paragraph. End of the world once again. Debating, they tried to bargain and one even wrote one sentence and the scribbled on the rest of the page like it was writing.
How did he even think that was going to pass??
We went back and reviewed the basics of a paragraph. What makes a full sentence? How do we end sentences? How many sentences need to be in a paragraph? How many topics should their be in a paragraph? Once we reestablished their understanding of this, I broke the three paragraph write up into three days of that week. Write the intro on Monday, the body on Wednesday, and the closing Friday and read it to Dad when he got home. This worked for a time, but they were still resisting.
Why can’t a person who knows and loves writing, get her kids to write?
I asked myself that question over and over again. I looked up articles on line. Read books on teaching writing. Read things on how teachers in a classroom implement writing. I looked into so many different curricula, even buying and trying some just to see if that is what they needed. Nothing was working. I was pulling my hair out and felt like I was failing as my children’s educator. Then, in the biggest “duh” moment of my life, I realized what I was missing.
My middle school teacher was able to teach me to write because she saw I needed an emotional outlet. I was quiet, I was shy but I was a pot ready to boil over. I was receptive to learning how to write and to her critiques because it helped me FEEL better. My kids didn’t have the same need, the same motivation. I teach everything else to my kids in a fun manner. Even grammar rules were taught as games where they would compete against each other or a timer. My kids are active, energetic and fast thinking kids. Why was I trying to insist my kids sit still, be quiet, and write on command? This is not how we homeschool.
So how do I make it fun?
For my youngest, I let him write as silly and with as many boy jokes as he wants. He is my imaginative boy, my verbal story teller even, all I needed to do was guide him a little. Are we writing about monsters, kids, animals, aliens? Who do you want the characters to be today? He would pick and I would write that on the side of his page. I then ask what problem do they have? He would pick a silly one (he even wrote on a nasty over flowing toilet once) and I would again write it on the side of the page. Then I sit with him and answer questions when he needs help.
For my older boy, it is a bit more of a challenge with him. I do something similar to what I do with my youngest but I don’t sit next to him. If I sit with him, he uses it as time to complain and debate whether or not he has to write. Instead, he gets to go into his room and lay, sprawl, or sit where ever he likes, take as long as he likes that day to write and bring it back to me when he is done. He tends to choose to write on Minecraft but will flip flop between writing non-fiction, how-to write ups and fictional stories based in Minecraft.
As for my daughter, she has taken off. A friend of her’s shared that she was writing a full book in word documents so not that is what my girl likes to do. She has two books she is working on and they have short chapters to them. Word helps her fix her grammar issues and her spelling is amazing. The stories are fairly decent as well and I enjoy reading new parts to her books.
Now my kids are writing. Now they are having fun.
I am a little apprehensive to ask them to write a five paragraph paper next, but it is coming. Obviously we have a long way to go still till we get to full essays and having confident writers, but we are getting there. I share all this so you know that whether you struggle with writing yourself or if you are like me and enjoy writing, teaching writing is a challenge. You are not doing it wrong, just try new things and have fun. Eventually you and your kid will figure out what works.
Then, just like with reading, they will take off.
Greetings! My name is Joy and I am currently a stay at home mom who is home schooling her three kids in South Carolina. I love learning and I love sharing the love of learning with others so getting to home school my kids and watch the “ah ha” moments when they understand something is unbelievably rewarding. I have been homeschooling since my twins were preschool age so we are going on 8 years now. I am also a military spouse so we have the added joy of being a military family with some of the complications that come with it. As a family we stay busy with our scouting groups, American Heritage Girls and TrailLife, and we do many camping and hiking trips with them. When I have down time, I am typically reading books I have sitting around the house, on YouTube/websites getting more information on different home school programs or working on plans for homeschool. I look forward to being able to share our experiences with everyone and help encourage all homeschooling families.