Teaching writing successfully begins with embracing a lifestyle of learning – making writing part of real life – and waiting until your child is ready before starting writing instruction.
Starting formal lessons as early as eight and as late as thirteen (give or take a few years) is acceptable, but this is just a suggested age-range because you know your child best and can gauge when they are ready!
This article is part of a series meant to encourage and prepare moms to teach language arts at home to their children using almost any program.
- My approach to teaching language arts is very loosely based on the Spalding method which I have adapted to meet our needs as a large homeschooling family who embraces a lifestyle of learning.
- My goal is to show you how to teach yourself language arts so that you can teach your children language arts – while instilling a love of learning in your children.
- You will learn how to be intentional in language arts instruction so that you are prepared and able to utilize almost any language arts curriculum to your benefit.
- You may even realize you can create your own curriculum using the simplest and cheapest materials like notebooks and pencils!
- I recommend that you teach language arts to your children by example as soon as possible as an extension of parenting.
All About Teaching Writing For Homeschool Moms
When you are teaching ‘writing’, what are you doing? Writing, as an academic subject, is not just the physical act of putting letters on paper – it is the science of writing, the ability to coherently combine words into sentences and paragraphs – and the art of writing, the ability to effectively & expressively compose written material. That is what this article is about.
Definition of writing:
- a literary composition or production.
- that which is written; characters or matter written with a pen or the like.
- such characters or matter with respect to style, kind, quality, etc.
Definition of composition:
- the act of combining parts or elements to form a whole.
- the resulting state or product.
Resources For Learning & Teaching Writing At Home
On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing NonfictionStudent Writing Intensive Level A Curriculum (Dvd’s, Binder and Packet)IEW Teaching Writing Structure and Style DVD/ Workbook Kit 2nd edStudent Writing Intensive DVD Course – Level BStudent Writing Intensive Continuation Course Level C – With DVD/CDWriting Research Papers: The Essential Tools (Student Book only)
Teaching Writing In Real Life
Just as not all homeschool moms have an interest in writing – but all should learn to write well – not all children will find joy in writing – but all should be taught how to write well.
So, the first step is for us homeschool moms to adjust the expectations we may have for our children.
If you are not a strong writer, you may be tempted to push your child in this subject thinking that it will help them write better than you do. If you are a strong writer, you may be tempted to push your child because you expect them to enjoy it, too.
You May Need To Rethink Writing Lessons, Here Is Why …
Not everyone is interested in the art of writing, but everyone needs to know how to communicate through the written word. So, your job is to teach the science of writing while gently encouraging an interest in the art of writing to see where that leads.
Writing is similar to painting. Being able to communicate through writing is a learned science, but being able to write fluently is a learned art.
Painting – as an expression of art – requires natural talent and a desire to dedicate time to learning how to paint expressively. Learning how to technically put paint to paper and create a picture is also possible through consistent practice, but it won’t be as meaningful.
Which artist will enjoy the process more and go on to choose painting as a means of expressing themselves?
As much as I love writing, and desire my children to love writing, I do not feel that it is so important that I will force my children to write extensively if they’re not interested. The end goal is to have children who are confident in writing – whether they plan to write for enjoyment, as a career, or only when necessary.
Help For Homeschool Moms
Lessons at Blackberry Inn: Adventures with the Gentle Art of Learning(TM)Do-It-Yourself – Homeschool – 12 Week Planner: Keep your Homeschool Fun & Organized! For Kids or Parents Do-It-Yourself – Homeschooling Handbook – Journal and Study Guide For Eclectic High-School Students A Creative Book of Observation, Drawing, Coloring, Writing & Discovery Through Nature – for All AgesDIY – Book of Proper English Grammar – Make Your Own Book: Do-It-Yourself Top 30 Grammar Mistakes: A Do-It-Yourself Homeschooling Handbook
A Gentle Way To Teach Writing
Based on your child’s interest – or lack thereof – you may begin writing instruction. This means that some children will be wanting guidance on how to write in elementary grades, while others will need to be encouraged to learn writing in high school.
Keeping in line with our gentle yet thorough approach to teaching language arts at home, writing can be taught to very young children in a relaxed manner through intentional parenting.
When you remove the unnecessary expectations placed on your child (whether by you or others) to be writing book reports, research papers, personal essays, and fictional stories in elementary grades then you are free to let them learn through living real life.
Teaching your children to love learning and embracing a lifestyle of learning with your children will be more beneficial to them in the long-run than hours of seatwork ever will! I am proof of this.
I absolutely love learning, am a lifelong learner, and I have been mostly self-taught throughout my life. I strongly believe that parents should be taught – and strive to learn – how to apply academics in real life as we raise our children.
Real life learning does often include sitting down to read a book, spending time researching, dedicating time to studying, and writing notes or papers. Therefore, textbooks, seatwork, and “school time” are part of raising our children but should not take up the majority of our day.
As I have shared earlier in this series, I was teaching my oldest child extensive language arts at age four and he was burnt out by age seven! So, I stopped all formal studies related to handwriting and writing.
I let him develop the desire to write which has led to him choosing to write on his own. He is currently thirteen and we still have not done any formal lessons on how to write, but he can write when he wants to.
Based on my personal experience and the experience I have gained in the last thirteen years of parenting-homeschooling multiple children, I have learned that teaching academics through parenting is actually very effective. Yes, I do use curricula in our home, but I mostly use it to teach myself so that I can teach my children.
Sidenote: at the risk of sounding crazy … I honestly believe that if a child was just allowed to live (a healthy) life alongside their parents and didn’t start any formal academic studies until around age thirteen, I think they would thrive, learn quickly, and be no worse for it – in fact, they may even be healthier adults!
I have also learned that children/people will apply themselves and work at learning about something that they are interested in. As homeschool moms, we have our job cut out for us but if we can simply instill a love for learning in our children, we will have been successful as their “teachers” and they will “succeed” in life as far as knowledge goes.
Writing Curriculum Is Not Wrong
All of that said, I plan to use IEW’s writing course with my children, starting with my oldest within the next year. I will then will apply what I learn in teaching my younger children as the opportunities arise.
I look at it as providing him with the resources and tools he needs to advance his knowledge on the science/art of writing so that he can continue pursuing his (other) interests more thoroughly. He has learned that knowing how to communicate through writing is something that often comes up in real life (and there you have it!).
He may never love writing or use it extensively in his adult life, but he will be capable. And that’s what matters.
Feel free to leave a comment or question and I will do my best to address them.