Even if your child loves to write they will probably still struggle with it at some point.
Writing is hard work!
My son struggles with spelling and perfectionism and sometimes it just feels impossible for him to get his thoughts out. I want him to get his ideas out of his head and enjoy the process of creating a story and learning how to express himself through words. Taking away some of the technical aspects that come up when putting pen to paper has given us a way to get excited about writing and get more enjoyment out of it in our homeschool. Learning how to write well is important, but I want my kids to work on their motivation first. I want them to love to express all those unique and amazing ideas.
My goal in teaching writing, is to help my kids with the creativity first and the technicalities last.
I’ve put together a list of some things we’ve done when we’re struggling with writing. They are a good idea when you or your child or both of you are frustrated and need to change things up. Once you’ve had some fun getting ideas out in new ways you can try again with some of those technical parts of writing that feel like such a struggle.
I hope some of these ideas will help you and your kids with the process.
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1. Let them build their stories
Cut words from magazines or newspapers, use magnetic words, or write or print out some words on paper strips for them to organize into thoughts and stories.
Try these super fun Magnetic Story Maker Kits for the fridge. It’s a great way to change up your writing time. They also encourage kids to express themselves when you’re not even doing lessons. They’re right there on the fridge when inspiration strikes or they see some words that get them thinking of story ideas. You can also try leaving writing prompts with these magnets to encourage your kids to continue the story.
2. Take away the lines
Sketchbooks designed for use to draw are a great way to get your struggling writer to get their creative juices flowing. Especially if they like to draw, let them create a picture and then have them try adding some words to that. Or let them fill the page with words of different sizes or have them try writing their words in a circle or other shape . There’s no rules, we’re literally writing outside the lines.
3. Let them type their stories
This can help kids who have struggles with handwriting, they don’t have to worry about their words being legible.
If you have a typewriter this is a great way to engage kinesthetic or tactile learners. They will love the sound and weight of using one. Having to manually press down each of those keys is a very satisfying sensory activity.
Typing on a computer will help struggling spellers who will enjoy the benefits of an autocorrect feature.
4. Let them use an audio recorder
We have an audio recorder that my husband used to record lectures in college. My son loves it and always wants permission to use it. Recording a story is the perfect opportunity and reason to let him. This recorder is the one we use and it has a USB port in it, so we can just plug it into the computer to save the audio files.
Letting your kids just get their thoughts out without the need to think about their sentence structure, punctuation, and grammar lets them tap into their creativity. Later they can even use the recording to write down their ideas and it’ll feel easier because they already got their rough draft out orally.
5. Let them dictate to you
This can be a fun experience for both of you. As they start telling their story you can ask clarifying questions when things aren’t easily understood. This will help them think deeper about their topic and discover ways to explain their thoughts. My son and i did this a lot when he was younger. He would be near tears, struggling to get his thoughts out and feeling completely overwhelmed with the handwriting. When we would try this he would perk right up and a flood of descriptive stores would come flowing out.
6. Let them video tape themselves with your iPhone, an iPad, camera, or video recorder
If your kids are like mine than they are always looking for excuses to use technology and since it’s a huge part of our world I love finding ways to incorporate it into our homeschool days.
Try having your kids take some pictures of anything they’re interested in and then use them as writing prompts.
Putting a video together will allow them to interact with their own story. They can act it out and get creative with props, homemade backdrops, and costumes.
7. Dry erase
Dry erase markers feel a little like coloring and a lot less like schoolwork. (I’ve expressed my love for dry erase before) But if you haven’t heard look here 6 Easy Ways to use Dry Erase Markers in your Homeschool. We use dry erase for everything and, for my kids, it immediately takes the pressure off.
8. Write it with them
Start a story with a few sentences and then hand it to them. Take turns filling in a few sentences and handing it back and forth. It will be funny and they’ll be writing. The bonus of this is some great face time with your child. Doing this activity always makes my son and I feel closer.
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What ways have you come up with to make writing more enjoyable for your kids?
Let me know in the comments.