Monday, December 14, 2009

5 Reasons Homeschoolers are Terrified of Teaching Writing


Not many things strike fear into the hearts of homeschoolers like the thought of teaching writing to their children.  Hey, I have a  B.A. degree in writing, and I still feel a sense of trepidation when I think of forcing j0439459my boys to sit down and complete a writing assignment. 

Why is it that we would rather do almost anything homeschool related (even that science project we’ve been putting off for a month!) before we will tackle writing instruction? 

Here are five reasons I think we homeschoolers dread pulling out the notebook paper and pencils…

  1. We know our kids are going to balk.  No matter how well our homeschool day is going, we can pretty much be ascertained that when we say it is time for “writing”, things are going to go downhill from there.
  2. We don’t look back fondly on our own writing experiences.  Truth be told, when the kids start whining about writing, we are all “now-this-is-good-for-you-and-you-are-going-to-like-it” on the outside, but on the inside, we are really saying “don’t-blame-you-one-bit-kids; I-hated-this-stuff-too!”
  3. We doubt our own qualifications.  No matter how many language arts courses we took in school, and no matter how many blogs we write, we still never feel like “good writers.”  So we wonder how on earth we can teach something that we so obviously stink at.
  4. We don’t know how to make writing fun.  If you’ve looked at most of the homeschool writing curriculums out there, you have already concluded that teaching homeschool writing is somewhere akin to watching paint peel.  If you are bored reading the lesson plan, imagine how bad it is going to be actually teaching it.
  5. We realize the importance of writing success.  Everyone knows that to graduate, get into college, and get a good job, you need to have a good grasp of writing.  Knowing that we are the ones in charge of teaching our children that important skill is daunting, to say the least.

So what is a homeschooling parent to do??  First of all, we want to start out by understanding that reading is the most important factor in teaching writing.  Do you make reading good books a key ingredient of your homeschool?  Then you are already halfway there to creating a successful writer!

Secondly, we need to take a new approach to writing.  We want to override all our old biases against what writing instruction is “supposed” to look like, and reinvent the wheel, by opening our options to new and different ways of approaching writing - - including incorporating writing technology into the mix.

One of the most motivational writing techniques is “getting published.”  With services like Tikatok and, you can easily let your child write and illustrate their own stories, books, and graphic novels, and then have them printed up - - just like a real book. (And talk about great gifts for the grandparents!!)

But if writing instruction STILL seems intimidating, you may also want to check out all the great online writing courses for homeschoolers at Time4Writing™.  Time4Writing takes the guesswork out of teaching writing, by having certified writing teachers guide your children through the ins and out of every aspect of student writing including grammar, sentence construction, forming paragraphs, and composing essays.  To check out the course selection for elementary, middle, and high schoolers, go to the Time4Writing website.

1 comment:

  1. Another "new" approach to writing instruction might be to re-work our "old" approach. I think you teach writing by coaching writing. We need to be more of a "guide on the side" and less of a "sage on the state" to help students improve their writing craft. Here are ten tips I learned about coaching basketball that helped me change from a teacher of writing to coach of writing:


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