Just because summer is drawing to a close, and the homeschool calendar is already filling up, that doesn’t mean children suddenly lose their curiosity or passion for play. When it’s time to kick off writing instruction again, why not harness that summer energy into fun writing exercises that jazz up your routine?
In the social network and text message age, kids’ tolerance for writing anything longer than a few sentences is being sorely tested. Yet, the ability to write–and to write well–is an essential skill for students in elementary, middle, and high school. So how can you target the fundamentals of strong writing while keeping your homeschooler engaged? Here are some suggestions that can help you reach the goal of making writing more enjoyable this year.
Add Games and Writing Activities Into the Mix
Believe it or not, writing instruction doesn’t have to be one essay after another. At its core, writing is communication, and communication can be a blast! Remember the ol’ grapevine game (or maybe you called it “telephone”)? You know, the one where you whisper something to one person, they tell it to someone else, and so on until the last person says out loud what they heard, and the version is often far different from how it began. To turn this into a writing game, have one family member write out a sentence on a piece of paper then pass it to the next participant. The next person will change one word in the sentence and so on until it reaches the last player. When the final sentence is read aloud, everyone will be amazed at how one word can entirely change a story or message.
Another fun writing activity for families is the creation of an ongoing story. One person is elected to create the first sentence of a story, then each day another family member adds a sentence to the story. At the end of the month, semester, and year, take the time to read your (possibly hilarious) compilation aloud.
These are just a couple suggestions. Hopefully, they will inspire you to create or research even more ways of writing for fun.
Make Writing Personal
Special experiences are great writing prompts for children, and they are especially eager to talk about their favorite things. When you take your kids to the park, the zoo, or on field trips, have them write about their adventure when they get home. Even better, give them a writing prompt before you go so your child can be thinking about it during the trip.
Another way to get your homeschooler to share his or her favorite things is to ask them to write about their family members. What do they love to do with Mom when just the two of them have a day together? What about Dad makes them laugh? Even siblings can be interesting to write about, so you may want to download this free sibling writing activity printable.
Let Your Student Show Off
Sure, sometimes we write things that we know no one else will ever read. For the most part, though, writing is meant to be read by others. For young writers, having another person read and respond to what you’ve written can be a terrific incentive. With that in mind, you might consider some ways to “promote” your homeschooler’s compositions this year. That could include:
- letting them start a blog and sharing it with friends and family members who could comment on new posts.
- entering their best efforts in student-focused writing contests.
- submitting some of their work to children’s literary journals like Stone Soup or websites that post submissions such as Launch Pad.
- using cloud-based software to write and animate a comic strip or short video piece and uploading it to a video hosting site.
Interactive Writing Classes
Online lessons, like Time4Writing’s writing classes, are another enjoyable way to build and strengthen the foundation for strong writing skills in elementary school, middle school, high school, and beyond. Throughout these eight-week interactive writing classes, students will learn about basic grammar and mechanics, paragraph structure, and essay writing.