When you’re homeschooling your children, you leave them with great flexibility about the way they are learning things. You allow them to discover their interests and dig deeper into the concepts that leave them in awe. If you realize they are lagging behind on the coursework, you focus on filling in the gaps in knowledge.
However, there’s a serious problem that most homeschooling parents come across to: encouraging their children to write. You can motivate them to read when you find interesting online resources that trigger their hunger for knowledge. You can awaken their imagination when you ask them to tell you a short story. But, how do you get them to write an essay? How do you fit the principles of academic writing naturally into the educational process?
Why Is Academic Writing Important?
The first solution that comes to mind sounds something like this: “Well, I don’t need to bother teaching essay writing. Who needs to write essays in real life, anyway? Isn’t homeschooling all about being practical?” That’s the wrong approach to have.
Michelle Roberts, a writer and education expert who works for EssayOnTime, explains that academic writing skills are necessary for every homeschooled child: “Writing is one of the most important skills to have at college. When your kid applies for college, they will have to write admissions essays. College courses are related to term papers, essays, reports, and all kinds of projects that demand skills of research and writing. This skill is needed in ‘the real world,’ too. Employees in all industries are asked to write email messages, marketing posts, blogs, reports, and presentations.”
Writing is important, and you need to encourage your child to start developing these skills as soon as possible. The good news is that you can make the practice fun. If you’re patient enough, you might as well turn your child into a brilliant writer.
Tips: How to Motivate Your Student to Write
1. Be the example you want them to follow
If you ‘assign’ essays without any understanding of the process and the results it should give, you’ll end up with a devastated, unmotivated child. We don’t want that.
- Try to write a well-researched essay. That will help you understand the difficulty of this challenge, so you’ll support the student throughout it.
- Show your genuine interest in exploring different topics and ideas. You can write an essay while your child is writing one, and then you can grade each other’s work.
2. The topic is everything!
The good thing about homeschooling is that you’re not bound to boring, lifeless topics that make essay writing the last thing you want to deal with. You have tons of flexibility, so pick amusing themes!
What is your child interested in? Planets? History? Geography? Reading? Pick their favorite interest and search for a specific topic related to it. If your child is enchanted by the Universe, ask them to write an essay on Mars. You will search for information together, and then you’ll inspire them to combine those details into a completely unique piece of writing.
3. Emphasize the value of writing
Academic writing is all about coming to your own conclusions. When you’re teaching your kid how to write, you should make sure they understand that goal. You can even assign an essay with such a topic: “Why is writing important?”
When you’re writing something, you’re doing many things: researching, organizing, reading, reasoning, planning, writing, articulating, learning… Pay attention to all these aspects of the process and congratulate your students for going through them.
There are two ways to get you kid into academic writing:
- Explain the process through all its stages, and
- Show how an essay should look like.
Traditional teachers usually stick to the first method. But we’re far from traditional educators, aren’t we? We can achieve much better results if we show our students some exemplary essay samples. When they understand how a great paper should look like, they will be ready to tackle their own topics.
5. Ask them to write about experiences
Academic writing can get boring when you relate it to dry topics that have nothing to do with the student’s personality. To make it more interesting, tell them to infuse their own personality in the essays. When they are writing about Canada, for example, tell them to include their own opinions. Why would they want to visit this country? Why wouldn’t they?
Essay writing is all about expressing personal opinions, so start engaging them by assigning personal essays. Once they get better with this type of writing, you can start assigning more serious topics that demand a lot of research.
6. Reward them
Grades are pressuring. You don’t want your student to be writing for the sake of getting a good grade as a reward. You want them to write because they enjoy the process with all its challenges. Their knowledge and progress will be the reward. When you review the work, compare it to their previous attempts and show how better they got. What was so special about this paper that made it interesting to read?
Are you ready to take this challenge? It won’t be easy, but you can make it fun. With the right approach, writing assignments will become interesting not only for your student, but for you, too.
Karen Dikson is a creative writer at several educational websites. She is a creative thinker who follows through and gets things done. In her free time she enjoys traveling. Connect with Karen via Twitter.
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