The following is a post from contributing writer Angie.
Many homeschooling parents feel stressed when it comes to the subject of writing. They may bounce around from one composition program to another. I know that we definitely have!
It can be easy to overlook the opportunities for real, meaningful writing experiences that can spark a child’s interest in a way that a workbook or DVD program might not. Even if you use a program as the basis for your writing curriculum, it is still advisable to add in real world experiences with writing.
Fun Ways to Improve Writing Skills
Correspond with Friends and Family
Whether it’s done as a handwritten or typed letter or as an email, writing to friends and family can be an amazing way to work on writing skills. This also offers an opportunity to work on handwriting or typing skills.
This can be an especially great activity if you can arrange a pen pal relationship. This will typically allow for a greater chance of longer correspondences to occur.
If you’re a blogger, you already know how enjoyable blogging can be. Your children can find it to be just as enjoyable!
Your child can write a blog about their life, specific school projects, their favorite hobbies, or one particular niche area of interest. While none of my children currently have blogs, two of them have plans to start one. (One son wants to write more of a lifestyle blog, while another says he wants to review video games that we have.)
If you allow your child to have a blog, however, it’s important to make sure that they understand and abide by any safety rules that you have for them.
Blank Hard Cover Books
If your children are anything like mine, there is something magical about a blank, hard cover book or journal just waiting to be filled. My children will typically use these for an illustrated story.
Your children may not be a fan of this because they are intimidated by the prospect of figuring out something special enough to do with their blank book. If this is the case, have a supply of cheaper, soft cover books for the same purpose. That may take some of the pressure off of them.
If your child enjoys arts and crafts, they might find scrapbooking to be a fabulous way to work on their writing skills. Not only can they get that artsy joy, but then they can journal about the photographs that they are using.
Having a parent-child journal can be a great long term project, as well as a way to give your child an outlet to say things or ask things that they might not say to you otherwise.
Get a designated notebook to use (it can be a spiral bound notebook) and write your child a note on the first page. Ask them to write back to you on the next page, and then just continue passing the notebook back and forth.
When I taught a writing class at our co-op, this was the students’ favorite activity from the whole year. Everyone starts with their own paper and begins a story with a few sentences. Then, they pass the paper to the right for that next person to add one sentence and then pass it along. (You can also set a time limit instead of a sentence limit.)
This was actually so popular that the kids in my class kept asking until we did it again near the end of the year. I also found out that one of the students (in my very small class) went home and had his siblings all do the writing exercise just for fun.
What activities do you do with your children to encourage them as writers?