Top Mistakes to Avoid When Teaching Writing Skills

November 26, 2019
Written by:
Guest Author

Homeschooling Your Kids? Join us as we take a look at Top Mistakes to Avoid When Teaching Writing Skills.

It’s natural for parents who homeschool their kids to worry about teaching them certain big milestones, like writing skills. From when they are young children just learning to write to their writing development as they get older, it can feel like a lot. We explore here the common mistakes that parents make when teaching writing skills; by avoiding them you can be more helpful and supportive for your child.

Starting Too Soon

You can start any time you feel is right, because you obviously can’t wait forever. The important thing is not pushing them by giving them too much to learn too fast. When kids are young, they need to spend some time on each step before they get into actual writing, including handling crayons and markers, scissors, and glue.

You don’t have to worry about rushing right into writing. Instead, Helen Chomley, a teacher at Brit Student and Write My X, says to “focus on getting your kids comfortable with the writing tools first, then you can think about different letters and teaching them a letter of the week or tracing certain letters. Don’t feel like you have to start immediately.”

Ignoring Motor Skills

As previously mentioned, there’s more to learning writing skills than just grabbing a pencil and starting to shape out letters. Spend some time first doing fun and playful activities to develop your child’s fine motor skills. This can be anything from playing with a single hole punch, to making arts and crafts with scissors and glue, or threading Cheerios onto a string necklace. These are all activities that will help them with pencil-holding and writing, so don’t rush this step.

Going Straight to Worksheets

Kids don’t need to be writing worksheets when they’re very young – there will be plenty of time for those later. Instead, have your kids write on fun and new surfaces and with different writing materials. Get markers and a dry erase board, or go write in chalk on the pavement. You can even get some sand in a tray and write in there. Don’t be afraid to be creative and try new things before starting some serious writing work.

Learning the Alphabet from A-Z

You don’t want to teach your child how to write the alphabet in order, according to common beliefs. Start with easier letters so your child doesn’t get unnecessarily frustrated or disappointed. That means all the letters that are in straight lines, then you can teach them letters with slanted lines until finally, you can get to the letters with curved or rounded lines or a mix of both.

It’s also recommended to start with only uppercase letters, which are known to be easier to learn than lowercase. Start with an easy word for your child, like their name. They’ll have fun with that, especially if they’re using scented markers!

Not Reading

Read to your child often, as frequently as you’re able to. Talk to them about books, like the books you’re reading or that you love. Speak with your local library about an appropriate place to start and get reading with your child. If you’re learning a certain letter, take a break when you reach it to trace it with your finger and your child as well. This is an easy step that will make a world of a difference to your child’s writing.

Allowing Any Kind of Letter Formation

You want to respect the right letter formation, so make sure you’re looking at how your child is spelling each letter. As per Tanya Vincent, an educator at Australia2Write and Next Coursework, “start by going through letters in a simple block style, and be clear about how important it is that when they form a letter they start from the top. The last thing you want is for them to pick up a bad habit under your watch.”

Insisting on a Certain Method

You might be set on using a certain method or wanting an activity to go a certain way. However, in the real world, your child will have a different idea than you about how something should be done. Even if you had the best intentions for a scrapbook and a craft project, your child might not be interested in that learning method.

You have to be flexible and be prepared that an activity you’ve spent hours working on won’t be a hit with your child. Accept that, and move on. If you insist that they do the activity the way you want it to be done or you push them to finish something they don’t want to, they’ll start to associate writing with negativity.

Teaching your child to write can be daunting, but by following these tips it doesn’t have to be. It can be a great way to build lasting memories between you and your child.

Michael Dehoyos, a content marketer and editor for PhD Kingdom and Academic Brits, loves to combine education and activities. He works with school boards to develop more modern curriculums that are suited to different learning styles. He also writes engaging articles for Origin Writings.