My top 5 proven tips
Reading, writing, and arithmetic are among the core areas of early education. So, it’s important to choose a homeschooling curriculum that helps your kids build a strong foundation. Writing can be a challenging area for children of all ages, even for experienced writers. This can make kids reluctant to write, whether it’s because they’re struggling with grammar or with finding a topic to write about. You might be tempted to encourage rigorous writing to help them, but that will make homeschooling less enjoyable for everyone involved.
These five tips will help in different areas of your homeschooling journey:
#1 Cultivate a growth mindset
If your kids have a perfectionist mindset, they will shut down if they can't do something perfectly on their first attempt. So, consider that the reluctance to write could be a mindset issue. To help your kid, have a conversation with them. Ask why they’re struggling with a particular subject or why they don’t want to write. You could help them with reframing their thoughts to be more productive. Keep in mind their thoughts dictate their emotions and their emotions dictate their behavior.
If they start shutting down, saying they can’t write, ask them to visualize their preferred outcome. Have your kid tell you what result they want. Once they can get a picture of it in their head, it will be easier for them to move forward. They will be motivated to push forward and try something new.
#2 Start with copy work
If your kids are under the age of 10, it's perfectly fine to start with copy work. If they want to start writing their own compositions, don’t stop them. However, if they are more reluctant, then copy work is fine because they have another great writer modeling what grade writing looks like.
Don't just assign the copy work though; check it. You can check the copy together and see if your kids used all the punctuation, capitalization, and grammar. If they didn't copy it correctly, then have them fix those mistakes so that they take the copy work seriously. That way, they’ll be able to learn from it.
They can also write steps on how to do something, whether it’s cleaning their room or making an easy sandwich. Descriptive paragraphs or essays could also be helpful. Have your kid describe their best friend, the church you go to, or their perfect day. These are ways to ease them into the daily writing process.
#3 It’s okay to rely on prompts
Consider using books that have writing ideas and prompts to encourage writing. You can use these kinds of books as they are or ask your kids to choose a prompt from three options. Asking them to pick from a small number of prompts will make things less overwhelming if your kid likes detailed instructions.
I'm also a big fan of Mom and Me journals where you and your kids can write back and forth. It’s also great for building relationships, especially if your kids are not so jazzed about homeschooling. Even a gratitude journal is a great writing opportunity on days when they struggle with creativity or inspiration. The gratitude journal could be just for your kids, meaning you don’t need to correct it. You can still correct the writing assignments you give throughout the week.
I often let my kids work on comic books with each other. It becomes a collaborative thing where one is drawing and another’s doing the storyboard; I see a lot of value in that. Use all opportunities to get your kids excited about writing.
I created a book journal where kids can write about a book after they finish reading it. They write what they liked or didn't like about it and whether they’d recommend it to others. It's a great way to get them writing without a lot of pressure.
This is a website aimed at kids of varying ages. I can tell you that all 6 of my kids (age ranges from 6-15) love using it. Cleverly, they've gamified the writing experience. If your kids love video games, getting rewards, and the idea of leveling up, they'll love this. It starts with them creating their own animal and then writing about it.
Kids are prompted with questions about their animal, including the animal's name, favorite food, pronouns, and where they live. As they're putting in the answers, they are given gentle corrections. For example, the student will be required to put in the correct punctuation or start their animal’s name with a capital letter before they can move to the next step. I can’t think of a kid who wouldn’t like this! At the very end of the session, the answers are compiled into a report, where they can make final corrections before they save it.
#5 Use Emma Serl’s ‘Primary Language Lessons
I still use this tool with my youngest kids. There are many great language exercises in the book. You can correct the activities your kids have done, then tell them which ones they wrote incorrectly. You don’t just get ideas on what to write about; they're getting language instructions as well.
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful in your family’s homeschooling experience. I especially hope the Night Zookeeper tip will elevate the fun of learning for both you and the kids.