Creative writing those words can either fill your child with dread or delight. I had a child who rivaled Hamlet at the thought of putting pen to paper. Tears, sighs, and moans would erupt at the mere suggestion.
As a mama who delights in all things literary, I wracked my brains trying to come up with a solution. I tried a plethora of things to no avail. My child still dreaded the thought of writing.
This was until I stumbled upon a writing tool used by literary giants; such as Louisa May Alcott and C.S. Lewis. That practice has now become one of our favorite parts of homeschooling. Because of this hack, my child went from a hatred of writing to looking forward to unleashing her creative juices on a page.
This tool has created some of our favorite memories, transformed our homeschool, and my child’s love of writing, for FREE! Yes, this practice doesn’t require an expensive curriculum, stacks of worksheets, or tons of time.
Find out how to create a magical homeschool for your children through creative writing.
1. The Masterful Creative Writing Hack
The age-old wisdom “begin with the end in mind” is crucial. If you don’t know what you’re aiming for, you won’t know what tool to use. My goal was that my children would fall in love with writing, or at least experience wonderful memories practicing the skill. This meant that I would need to find a creative way to share the joy and fun of creative writing with my children.
That is when I had my Eureka moment. I find a lot of inspiration for homeschooling from classic books. I remembered reading in Little Women about how the girls established their own dramatic club, complete with scripts and costumes. That also brought to mind C.S Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien’s literary club, The Inklings. They would share and critique their latest writing together.
We already had a Poetry Tea Time to great success once a week. You can read more about our experience and my top poetry recommendations for kids who don’t like poetry here. So, I followed a similar format and introduced The Writer’s Association to my children with great fanfare.
Once a week, The Writer’s Association would meet and spend some time writing, sharing, and encouraging each other by asking questions. This tool has encouraged: creativity, public speaking, penmanship, critical thinking, inspiration, confidence, and kindness (among other things) in my children.
This simple practice is learning in disguise. My children have fun and so look forward to sharing their stories that totally forget they are doing school.
Here are some tips to create your own Writer’s Association that will help set the tone for a magical and memorable experience.
2. Creative Writing: The Foundation Is Key
When we first started, my children’s spelling needed a lot of improvement. Every part of me itched to fix their papers. But I resisted (barely). The goal is not about perfect grammar, practicing spelling words, or beautiful penmanship. That will come later.
Your aim is that your child would associate writing with fun, laughter, and warm family memories. You want this experience every week to be an exciting and enjoyable process. Writing a story will be challenging enough.
So, bite your tongue every time you want to suggest, rewrite, or correct something. Initially, we want to remove all the stumbling blocks (tons of correcting, etc.) that would make your child dread the process.
For example, before my children were readers, they would tell me their story, and I would write it down verbatim. Zero edits. This allows children of all ages to contribute. This also serves as a record to track their creative process throughout the year. I would then encourage my child to draw a picture to illustrate their story. This would allow them some additional ownership and give them something to present during the meeting.
Each week, my children all separate to different places in the house to prepare their stories. About once a month, I might announce a theme for this week’s meeting. But typically, I want my child to write about anything that is currently inspiring them. Our only rule is that they have to write at least one page.
To finish the story: after a couple of meetings, my child started asking me on her own how to spell different words. As they start to enjoy creating stories they will naturally want to improve. Plus, it makes it easier to present when you can actually read your own writing. 🙂
3. Creative Writing: Pomp And Circumstance
This is where the magic happens. There is a lot of pomp and circumstance during the Writer’s Association (the more, the better). This is what captures children’s imaginations, speaks to their hearts, and creates lasting memories.
We have a gavel (typically a book that’s lying around), which we use to officially start each meeting. The speaker begins by welcoming our writers to the meeting, which is followed by polite applause.
The speaker officially asks which writer would like to present their story first. After the decision has been made, they formally invite Miss _____ or Mr.____ to the stage. This is when for about thirty seconds, formality flies out the window, as they are greeted with cheers, stamping of feet, and a lot of applause.
The writers are all encouraged to present their work like Anne Shirley, with drama and emotion.
The writer proceeds to present his or her story. Followed by another round of over the top cheers and applause. I cannot tell you how beautiful it is to see children light up when their hard work is celebrated and to watch siblings encouraging each other.
4. Creative Writing: Ask Open-Ended Questions
The speaker invites the audience to ask the writer questions about their work. Why gave you the idea to write about that topic? Who was your favorite character? Why did the character behave in this way? Will you write a sequel?
This allows the writer to share their inspiration and more about their work. This also encourages active listening, critical thinking, and ownership (among other things). I have found that when the writer knows that questions will be asked, more thought goes into the creation of their story.
For pre-readers, mom joins them on the stage and reads their story aloud while they display their drawing(s). They are asked questions about their story exactly like the older children.
Writer’s Association officially ends when The Speaker thanks the contributors and bangs the gavel accompanied by applause. 🙂
This weekly experience has forever intertwined creative writing with beautiful memories, overflowing with laughter, encouragement, and fun. It also has the side benefits of developing my children’s handwriting, spelling, creativity, public speaking skills, etc. I would encourage you to try your own Writer’s Association and reap its endless benefits today. Have fun! 🙂
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