Creative writing is a skill that can be a bit challenging to teach. However, it is also one that is pretty critical since writing is a major component in college. The process of learning creative writing will also instill in your child a variety of transferable skills, such as thinking outside of the box, resourcefulness, problem-solving, enhanced vocabulary, persuasive skills, communication skills, organizing ideas, and (of course) imagination. Strictly adhering to a forced curriculum can kill that spark — and we don’t want to do that! Here are some tips on how you can encourage creative writing in your homeschool in a relaxed way.
One thing that is true about almost every writer in the world is that they read. They read a lot. So my first tip would be to follow suit. Read to your children every day. Once they learn how to read, encourage them to read every day. Don’t restrict what they read. Let them explore the wide world of literature. Make frequent trips to the library and bookstores. The more they read, the more they learn about what they enjoy. They are also subconsciously learning about how to write. About characters, settings, and plots. About when to be concise and when to be descriptive. About pacing. About plot twists and cliffhangers.
Give Them Materials
If you want your child to write, you need to make writing materials available to them. This could be a computer, pencil and paper, colorful pens, colored pencils, markers, crayons, etc. Whatever it is that will enable them to take the thoughts in their head and make them tangible – let them have it.
Encourage Their Inner Journalist
Everyone likes to tell their life story and give eyewitness accounts of daily happenings. It’s just in our nature as humans! Use this to your advantage and teach them about keeping a diary or journal. They can write in it, doodle in it, rant in it, plot in it, etc. Whatever their little hearts desire. All that matters is that they are using their words to convey their thoughts, emotions, and observations. After all, those are things that are at the core of creative writing.
Please, parent, keep your inner Grammar Police at bay. At least in the beginning. You have YEARS (literally) to teach your child about proper punctuation, grammar, and spelling. Don’t make it a habit of constantly critiquing their creative writing efforts by riddling their papers with red marks. This is a quick way to kill their confidence and strip away their enjoyment of writing. Even professional authors don’t stress much about editing until after their writing projects are done.
Come Up with Fun Writing Prompts
Put the creative in creative writing by coming up with some fun ways to prompt them to write. Here are some ideas to get your mind churning:
- Rewrite your favorite story from the point of view of the protagonist.
- Rewrite your favorite story from the point of view of the antagonist.
- Create an entirely different ending for your favorite story.
- Add in a crazy plot twist to your favorite story and take it from there.
- Pretend that an alien has come to visit you. Write a story about what you would do.
- Pretend that an alien is asking you to explain your favorite activity, book, or movie.
- Describe a day in the life of your favorite animal from the animal’s point of view.
- Describe what a day would be like if you were what you want to be when you grow up.
- Write a new episode of your favorite TV show.
- Write a letter to your favorite author, athlete, or entertainer.
- Write a letter to someone in the future about life in this year.
These are just a few ideas of prompts that might get your child’s creative juices flowing. Something like the Creative Writing Journal for Kids, 642 Things to Write About: Young Writer’s Edition, or Q&A a Day for Kids 3-Year Journal also provide prompts and plenty of space to write.
All of these suggestions can help you teach writing skills and encourage creativity in order to build confidence and ability in a relaxed approach to writing in your homeschool, without curriculum.