Unconventional Ways To Generate Writing Ideas
Parents who homeschool their children have an extra difficult task in designing curriculum that will inspire their children’s learning and creativity. Some children naturally gravitate towards writing as a form of expression while others prefer mathematics, computers or physical movement.
Writing is an important skill to learn and whether your child participates enthusiastically in writing exercises or drags their feet about them, here is a set of activities that may spark their interest:
Newspaper exercise. Read an interesting newspaper article to your child and ask them to write a continuation of the story after it’s ended. This exercise is a great prompt because the characters and setting are already established, they just need to focus on developing a continuation of the plot. It’s ideal for kids who need a little prodding when it comes to working on creative writing.
Write a movie review. After watching a movie, ask your child to write a review of it. Be sure to give them instructions on what to include in the review such as:
- Were the actors good in their roles? Who really shone in their role, whether they had a small or large part?
- If applicable, were the costumes and scenery well done? Could something be improved?
- If applicable, how good was the animation?
- What was your favorite part and why?
- How about the story? Was it told in an interesting way? Was it too long, too short, confusing or did the director get the timing right?
- If you were the director of the movie, is there anything you would do differently?
Write a poem. You could do an entire unit on poetry, teaching your child various styles: from poems that rhyme to freestyle poetry to Japanese Haiku to sonnets and limericks. Ask your child to write their own version of these poems. Here’s a great resource on various poetry styles and exercises.
Diary/Journaling. Writing in a diary or a journal can also feed their creative flames and allow your kids to learn how to express their thoughts and feelings through writing. You can allow them to write in the diary on their own or give them prompts like these:
- Three good things that happened today/this week.
- Who are my best friends and what do I like most about them?
- If I could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Check out this page for some journal writing prompts.
Remember that the part of the rule of journals is that it’s private, so no peeking unless your child chooses to show you something. This will allow your kids to feel free to express anything they feel like, which is the whole point of a journal. Also, since you won’t be reading it, you won’t be correcting it. For children who for whatever reason feel intimidated by the editing process, it can be a safety activity when they’re not up to putting their work out there.
Seeing their words on a webpage online can fill your child with pride. It can give them a higher level of appreciation for their writing and persuade to take it more seriously. Obviously, you want to take some precautions when setting up a blog with your child. Make sure that the comments get sent to your email for approval first. Also, it’s probably best if your child chooses a pen name instead of their real name. And you should make sure to read your child’s posts thoroughly before publishing to make sure there isn’t any personal information such as name, address, phone number, being divulged in their post. Here’s a great post on the benefits of blogging and how to set up a blog safely.
An ideas jar. Write down a bunch of writing prompts and ideas and put them in a jar. Whichever one your child picks, that’s the one they’ll work on that day. This can be a fun exercise in itself because it puts the child in charge of choosing and makes a game out of the assignment.
Cari Bennette is an experienced blogger and ghost author. She is in love with writing and does her best to help other people become better writers. Cari often covers education related topics in her blog posts and will be happy if you circle her on Google+