Doing the Write Thing

Doing_the_Write_ThingI 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
  • Descriptive
  • Argumentative
  • Definition
  • Narrative
  • Critical
  • Compare and Contrast
  • Process

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!

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13 thoughts on “Doing the Write Thing

  1. Yes! Great advice! May I also add, start early! I’m a Christian Author who’s love for writing started at a very young age. Now I’m homeschooling my little first grader and we have begun the beginning stages of writing letters, stories, and will soon dabble a little in research papers. I came up with some amazing worksheets to help get the creative juices flowing in my son…. and I’m sure they are beneficial to others. My idea is to make writing fun and not a task, especially at age 7. Kids have so much creativity already built within them but the hiccups of how to transfer that to paper and the speed bumps of grammatical errors can easily make writing a turn-off. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing! I enjoy following you and anticipate your posts! Blessings and happy homeschooling!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a great point! We should definitely start the writing process as early as we can. If we start them off thinking of writing as fun, they are less likely to lose the enthusiasm.

      Great point; thanks for stopping in and sharing your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am in this struggle with my son who was so messed up by his years in public schooling and we are in our first year of high school! At this point I have reached bribery as I know he now has the skills, but just is afraid to get off the bench… That expensive New England Patriots bowling bag is on the line… keeping my fingers crossed..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. With a love of reading came a love of writing for my daughter. She is just natural at it. She stays up at night writing and illustrating books 🙂 I am curious to see where this all goes for her as she grows up. She has seen me from infanthood take time for myself to read and write in a journal (and now we blog together). I’m sure setting the example has been an important factor in her passion for writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great tips! Ironically, though I am a writer myself, I’ve found teaching writing to my kids to be tedious and an all-around horrid experience. When my oldest attended community college for her last two years of high school she had to learn to write ‘real’ papers. What I found is that my niche seems to be editing. It was through intense editing of her existing work that I was able to teach her what works and what doesn’t. What is pleasing to the audience, how to hook the reader, etc. I ended up helping several of her friends as well in this fashion. For me, it works best to have someone else (a curriculum) give the assignment and then teach them through revisions/editing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Ask her to write a report and… well, just see the paragraph above.”

    Creative, artistic types hate the mundane;)
    \
    Great post!

    And you’re right,. thanks to the education system, we are raising up generation after generation of young people who cannot communicate, effectively, through speech or the written word!

    Liked by 1 person

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