I can already hear it coming. First, it will start with a shocked expression taking over her face. This will be followed up by a glare; then a deep breath; and then she will proceed to talk me out of the assignment. If nothing else, talk me down.
My oldest daughter loves to write; really, she does! Furthermore, she’s good at it. She has a way with words; is able to paint a vivid picture using just a few short sentences and lots of heart. Give her free time to write and she’s a happy camper. Ask her to write a report and… well, just see the paragraph above.
While I would love to toss those pesky reports into the circulatory file (trash bin), she’s really at an age where it cannot be avoided. High school is looming on the horizon and reports seem to be the thing. Sure, I could let her off, but would that really benefit her? If she plans to continue her writing career, she might want to expand her horizons beyond story telling. If she plans to attend college (which she does), she needs to be able to write a research paper.
Whether or not our children plan to be writers or attend college – not all children do – teaching our children to write is an important life skill. Why, you ask? Aren’t we living in the age of technology where everyone and their grandmother owns a computer? Haven’t you ever heard of spell check?
While using our computers is most helpful (obviously I use one as a blogger) and spell check is nice, technology is not to be depended upon entirely. Spell check can only do so much, as can grammar check. At some point, our children need to learn the fine art of language. They need to learn how to construct a great sentence, put thoughts together to form paragraphs, and connect those paragraphs to form arguments.
Have a reluctant writer or are unsure of where to start in the writing process? Here are a few tips and hints to inspire your little author:
Start Small – Don’t start the writing process off with a five-page research paper. Well, unless you want to kill the love of writing altogether that is. Then, proceed. (laughing) Seriously though, start off with little assignments. Ask your student to construct just a few great sentences and build from there.
Keep it Simple – Once your student has the concept of great sentences down, consider having them write small papers. Teach them how to construct an opening statement, the body of their paper, and then a closing statement. It doesn’t need to be long, it just needs to have all the essential components and focus on one main point.
Shake Things Up – Don’t have your student write the same type of report each time; this can quickly become boring. What kind of reports might we look for?
- Cause and Effect
- Compare and Contrast
Topsy Turvy – Doesn’t that sound fun? If your child balks at the notion of writing a two page report or even a 1,000 word report, consider making it a challenge. Turn your child’s perspective around and have them look at the assignment from an entirely new angle. Inform you student they cannot use more than 1,000 words to make their point. One word over and they start losing points. It changes things, doesn’t it?
Make a Point – While all papers should have a main point, not all papers mean something to your student. However, they should! Pick the type of paper your child should write for this assignment, but let them choose the topic. They might want to argue for why Legos are better than MegaBlocks. They might wish to explain what Minecraft is. It doesn’t matter what the subject of the paper is, only that they learn to write well. As they mature, the topics will also and so will the assignments.
Join the Fun – One year, my daughter was having a particularly hard time gaining inspiration for a paper. To help her out, my husband and I joined the fun. Each of us turned in a paper on the same topic! It was fun and a great learning experience. We didn’t do this each time she had an assignment, but it helped.
For whatever reason, speech and writing seem to be the two least favorite assignments of most students. Perhaps, with a little effort and enthusiasm on our behalf, our children will learn to not only appreciate the art of writing, but enjoy it. Writing can be lots of fun!
“See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.” – Galatians 6:11
🔔Time to Chime In: Are you a writer? Share your tips with our homeschooling families on how to encourage a love of writing!