5 Easy Ways to Teach Elementary Writing in Your Homeschool
Please note: I received WriteShop Primary for free in exchange for the following review. My opinions are honest and I was not required to post a positive review.
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I have always loved writing. In my younger years, I filled notebooks full of poetry and short stories. In fact, I was a prolific poet in high school — I found it a fantastic way to navigate all my teenage angst and emotion.
When it came time to homeschool, I never really gave much thought to teaching writing – despite my love for it. Since it came so easily to me, I think I took for granted that it would be just as easy to teach.
But boy was I wrong.
The second thing I didn’t really think about (unfortunately) is that writing can be a struggle for some kids. Combine that with any sort of rigid or inflexible method that requires lots of rote copywork or memorization and you have set yourself (and your child) up for disaster.
So how do you set your child up for elementary writing success??
1. Make it fun!
Incorporate a variety of different activities and hands-on learning into your writing.
You can brainstorm project ideas while going for a walk (just be sure to have your phone or a notebook handy to jot down what you come up with.)
Allow them to use different writing utensils whenever possible. You can even let them pick out some favorites at the store to add to their collection. The more fun and colorful the better.
2. Let your child set the pace.
Is your child reluctant? Don’t rush! Eager? Zoom ahead. A little of both? Go with the flow.
Forcing any pace will only make things worse. Your child will either get bored or feel overwhelmed.
Plus, don’t forget that learning to write requires much more than knowledge of letters, sounds, and words. It also requires the development of fine-motor skills to operate the writing utensil…and the patience to see it through.
We tend to forget that part of the equation and often get frustrated when tasks we think are simple take longer to complete than we thought.
That being said, If you have concerns that your child may have something else going on such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, sensory-motor, or other special needs, please do contact a professional for help.
3. Don’t be afraid of dictation!
When I first started teaching writing to Ace, I cringed at myself every time I allowed him to dictate to me. I thought I was just being a crutch for him and that I wasn’t doing him any favors in the long-run.
But I have since learned that dictation is a very powerful tool. Children need to learn that their words and thoughts have a written counterpart.
Through dictation, they get to see the words they say turn into written words, sentences, and even paragraphs. They learn spelling and grammar as they watch you use commas after clauses and exclamation points after exciting statements.
And if writing is a struggle, dictation lets them focus on what they want to say rather than all the mechanics of getting their ideas on paper. This reduces frustration and even kindles the desire to write more.
To mix it up (and add computer skills), try letting them dictate their work electronically.
Let them create a note on your smartphone or tablet or you can even purchase a voice-to-text dictation software for your home computer.
4. Read, read, read.
And then read some more.
Read to your child as much as possible and encourage them to read on their own once they learn to do it themselves. And even then, don’t stop reading to them!
Reading boosts vocabulary, spelling, and grammar skills. It sparks creativity, inspires storytelling, teaches empathy, and, of course, fosters learning of every subject and topic on the planet.
Reading is an essential piece of any writing lesson…after all, you have to be able to read to know what you’re writing.
5. Choose a flexible, hands-on curriculum written with the homeschooler in mind, like WriteShop.
WriteShop is an excellent curriculum that does all the above and more.
It is highly customizable. Each lesson has multiple pacing and scheduling options available. There are suggestions for how to slow down the pace or speed it up depending on how your child is responding to the material. It even provides detailed lesson plans based on how many days per week you intend to teach it.
There are lots of hands-on activities and creative project suggestions. With this curriculum, you are not just sitting at a table writing, your children will be playing games, dancing, and even incorporating their favorite stuffed animals into their lessons!
We are currently working through Primary Book B for early Elementary students. Within each lesson, it encourages lots of dictation, parent-child interaction, creative thinking, hands-on activities, and much more.
In Lesson 1, for example, you can teach your child to do the “Friendly Letter Boogie” – a little active movement rhyme that teaches the parts of a letter.
WriteShop is full of suggestions to set you and your child up for success. There are plenty of teacher resources and ideas for creating a writing center (and it even includes suggestions for small spaces!!)
The different student tools, such as the Super Speller and Word Bank, encourage your child along the path of writing independence.
You won’t need any red pens for these assignments! Easy-to-complete projects boost confidence and provide positive reinforcement through rewards and gentle guidance rather than harsh correction.
Making a curriculum like WriteShop part of our homeschool is definitely preparing my son for future writing success. It has already helped turn it from a subject he despised to something he feels confident to try on his own.
There will always be subjects that are sticking points in your homeschool. But I hope these tips will help make teaching (and learning) writing a better experience for you and your child.
How do you teach writing? Do you have any go-to resources or curriculum that you use?
Want to try WriteShop’s Writing Curriculum?
If WriteShop sounds like something you would like to try in your homeschool, be sure to visit their websiteor follow them on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. You can find detailed product samplesand they offer a free gift to new subscribers. Right now, you can get the Journal All Year! Writing Prompt Calendar Bundle for either elementary or teen students.
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