15 Stealthy Ways to Encourage Writing in Your Homeschool


15 Stealthy Ways to Encourage Writing in Your Homeschool

For many, writing is one of the dreaded subjects. We wonder if we’re doing enough to “get our kids writing.” Sometimes it feels like a wrestling match just to wrangle a few of their ideas onto the page. We’re exhausted. They’re beginning to dislike, or {cringe} hate, writing. You worry more and the cycle continues.

We have come to equate writing with words on the page. While this is a piece of writing, it is not the whole. Writing is more about engaging with rich thoughts and ideas than it is about putting pen to paper.  Are you breathing a sigh of relief yet? I hope so but if not, stick with me. You’ll see all the ways that you are already engaging in writing, and maybe find a few more to inspire you.

Provide Your Writers with an Audience

Whether the audience for the writing is another person or the self, writing needs an audience. An audience gives purpose to the process and without purpose, our kids will just see it as busy work, not worth their time. Here is a list of some ways kids can write for an audience.

  1. Pen pals: Sometimes just the anticipation of receiving a letter in return can spark interest in writing.
  2. Postcards: These require only a short bit of writing and are much less intimidating than a long letter. You don’t even need to travel to send a postcard. Seek out some from your local region and send someone a special note.
  3. Family letters: Each family member can contribute a portion to a letter to be sent to family and friends and holidays or birthdays. It’s an inviting way to encourage writers to add their own unique voice.
  4. Invitations and thank-you notes: These are self-explanatory.
  5. Blog posts: Some writers love to write about topics that interest them and a blog is a powerful platform for sharing that passion. There are controls that can be employed so that the blog can be shared by invitation only, if necessary.
  6. Journals/diaries: The audience of a journal or diary may only be the self and that is engaging! If a child or teen plays a sport or an instrument, a training/practice journal could be kept. Self-reflection over time is a powerful tool. Diaries are more open-ended and can incorporate art, newspaper or magazine clippings, poetry, or anything at all! There is no correct way to keep a journal or a diary!
  7. Gifts: Writing a poem or a card or a story makes for a thoughtful gift that will be treasured by the writer and the receiver.

Expanding Their View of Writing

We’ve established that writing is much more than words scrawled across white space, and now we can dive into some other ways to engage in writing. Ways that highlight the thinking side of writing.

  1. Movie making/Puppet shows/Plays: Storytelling is the basis for all of these. We want our children and teens to be creative, inspired storytellers. Sometimes that means letting go of the paper and diving into the oral tradition brought to life through the visual. If you’re looking for some direction for movie making, I encourage you to take a peek at Raising DaVinci’s film class. (affiliate link) It’s concise and user-friendly, giving tips for the new movie makers while leaving space for creativity.
  2. Discussions: Pick a topic, any topic. Books, movies, history, current events, outer space, anything at all. Have a chat. Preferably while nibbling something chocolatey. Big ideas need space for reflection and reflection comes with discussion. Yes, just chatting with your kids is a way to engage in the writing life.
  3. Poetry tea time:  If you haven’t come across Poetry Tea Time yet, you’re in for a treat! Literally! The website will give you all the juicy details you need to jump in!

Give Your Writer Inspiring Tools

Sometimes we just need to provide supplies that speak to our kids and step out of the way. Here are just a few that have inspired by my crew of six over the years.

  1. Window markers: Not just for windows. We’ve used them on mirrors and in the bathtub!
  2. Sticky notes:  Little papers are much less intimidating than larger ones! A word or phrase, a sentence or drawing can be squeezed onto Post-It notes and sprinkled around the house. They invite conversation and continued writing.
  3. Whiteboards: There’s something about the fact that whiteboards allow us to erase so easily. We know that whatever we let flow across them can be removed just as quickly without a fuss.
  4. Magnetic words/poetry: “Wishful Watermelon” is the phrase currently clinging to my refrigerator.  I’m not sure which of my crew wiggled those two words together, but each of us has chuckled at it as we passed by. Sometimes entire poems or silly sentences emerge.  In all of them, we’re engaging with writing!

I hope that now you’re breathing that sigh of relief and that you’ve realized that you are already encouraging your writer.  It is my hope, too, that I have offered you some inspiration to weave joy into the writing life of your home.

Angela Awald

About the author

I’m Angela, a homeschooling mama to 6, certified teacher, writer, and doula.  My days brim full of learning, loving, and laundry (lots and lots of laundry!!) I believe that nurturing my children means helping them to see that all of life is about learning – from our mistakes, from each other, and from great books!

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