No matter whether you’ve got a budding young author or a kid who hates to write, everyone needs help encouraging kids to write well. I’m of the opinion that you do best what you love best – meaning that if you enjoy something, you’ll eventually do it well. Why? Practice, practice, practice. When you love to do something, you tend to do it a lot, and you improve.
So, how can you encourage a child who just doesn’t want to write? Or, if you have a child who loves to write, how can you help them get the kind of practice that will help them get really good?
It turns out there are a lot of ideas and resources!
There are many choices of writing curriculum. Institute for Excellence in Writing is an expensive, but solid and reliable choice. Easy Writing teaches sentence structure. Time 4 Writing has multiple courses for all ages, broken down by ability. WriteShop encourages creativity. Cathy Duffy has many, many reviews on writing curricula. For or formal writing instruction, I use a combination of Sonlight’s very gentle writing instruction, Easy Grammar and Daily Grams, and Institute for Excellence in Writing.
Here’s the thing – I don’t think any curriculum motivates my kids to enjoy writing, so to get them excited, we go beyond curriculum. Formal curricula teach them grammar, sentence composition, paragraph composition, parts of speech, etc., but they don’t love it. Reading good books definitely helps them understand the point of writing, but even with all the great books we read (thanks, Sonlight!), they aren’t particularly excited about doing a writing prompt just for the sake of doing a writing prompt. They aren’t excited about copywork, either. We do the formal stuff, but they’re much more excited when we move beyond curriculum and into real life stuff.
What writing resources do we use for homeschool, besides curriculum?
My kids really love Choose Your Own Adventure types of interactive stories. It turns out there’s a website that makes writing interactive stories really easy. It’s called Inklewriter. It’s simple enough that my seven year old can use it. I don’t give them any instructions, except that they should enjoy writing and tell a story they think will be enjoyable to read.
There is a young writer’s program for the National November Writing Month organization (NaNoWriMo). The site has multiple writing prompts, writing challenges, support from authors, and you can set and track writing goals. There’s are big Novelist Workbooks that “help you create characters, build settings, and hatch plots.”
And, there are writer’s resources, including workbooks, pep talks, and videos.
One video series is “Writing and Telling Great Stories With Jack Gantos”
Children have to be age 13 and up to talk on the forums.
The big writing spree starts November 1 each year, but there’s nothing stopping you from writing at other times. January and February are editing months. Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July.
Check your local libraries to see what kind of support is available there for the NaNoWriMo program.
Did you know that many homeschooled students go on to be authors? Christopher Paolini, the author of the Eragon novel and sequels, is one of the most well known modern examples. But, there are also many more. Don’t forge about contacting your local libraries and bookstores to find out about book signing events where your students can talk to a published author.
If your children love science, Minecraft, Lego, Disney movies, sewing, or anything else, they can read and write about what they love. If they’re studying a foreign language, you’ll definitely want to check out the various resources for encouraging writing in a foreign language, too.