“I hate this!” she yelled at me.
“You need to do it,” I tried to respond as calmly as possible, “but if you want to take a break and come back to it later, we could do that.”
“NO! I never want to write!”
I felt my blood boiling.
I was tired of this fight. Every day my oldest daughter resisted writing. She didn’t like it and I had no idea how to help her through this challenging process.
These fights happened daily for several months.
Upon stepping away from the situation, I was able to reflect and put some new strategies in place. One and a half years later, my daughter still hates writing but she doesn’t fight about it as much as she used to. In fact, she spends a lot of her spare time writing her own little stories and adventures.
Today I would like to share some of the strategies I implemented to help my daughter overcome her intense dislike of writing.How do you inspire a reluctant writer? This article has some suggestions! #homeschooling Click To Tweet
Evaluate the curriculum you’re using.
Curriculum was the first thing I evaluated when my daughter started to intensely resist writing. I tried looking through the lessons with “fresh” eyes. When I did so, I didn’t like what I saw. The curriculum was actually quite boring. The textbook was black and white – so it wasn’t very inspiring to look at and the lessons were very repetitive.
I looked around at curriculum options and switched her to Bob Jones English. It was the perfect fit because there are two weeks of grammar lessons, then two weeks of writing. She loves the breaks from “writing” when she’s doing the grammar portion of the curriculum.
Look for organic ways to include writing.
Sometimes when our children are resisting something, we simply have to show them why it’s necessary.
I told my daughter I thought we should throw a garden party. One thing my girls can’t resist is a party! She eagerly jumped on board. So we discussed what we needed for the party. She started prattling off things and I suggested maybe we should make a list. Her response?!
“Great idea Mom!”
She got out a pencil and paper and started to jot things down. We needed invitations… she decided that she could write those. We needed a grocery list. We also needed signs and decorations.
Before I knew it, she was writing all sorts of wonderful things.
I made sure to commend her on her writing.
Inspire them with what they love!
Every year, we try to assemble a variety of writing samples for my daughter’s portfolio. I decided that when gathering samples, I would stray off of the recommended curriculum and include topics that my daughter would actually enjoy writing about.
For instance, she LOVES the WebKinz website. She begs to play it daily, but I only let her play it 1-2 times per week. I invited her to write a persuasive essay about why she thinks she should play Webkinz every day. I’ve never seen her so eager to write!
Be a gentle critic.
I feel almost guilty admitting that when I first started doing writing lessons with my daughter, I would get out a red pen and write my corrections on her work. Looking back now, I feel terrible about this. I can only imagine how discouraging that was for her! Unfortunately, I was schooling her based upon what school was like for me.
I hit Pinterest for ideas and inspiration and that’s when I came across this proofreading sheet by Mandi over at Life Your Way. I was smitten and I introduced it to my daughter.
I made proofreading into a game. She has to decode what the proofreading marks mean and make the necessary changes. It’s brilliant and fun!
I realized that one of my daughter’s greatest frustrations with writing is that she’s a bit of a perfectionist. When the words don’t look or sound like the way she wants them to, she gets discouraged.
We started approaching writing as follows:
- She writes a first draft.
- I type her draft exactly as she wrote it into the computer.
- I print it out. She makes corrections.
- I proofread and then had her my proofread copy.
- She (on the computer adds / adjusts the text).
- He dad proofreads and asks her to elaborate on certain areas.
- She makes the necessary adjustments on the computer.
- She hand prints the final copy.
We approach her writing this way because hand printing the multiple drafts overwhelmed and frustrated her. We’ve cut down on that frustration by only having her hand print her work twice.
Take a break.
I schedule language arts every day Monday – Friday. I realized that perhaps this was too much writing for my daughter. I decided to take a few days off from writing and rework our schedule so she wouldn’t have to write as much.
I want to know… what do you do to encourage a reluctant writer? Then, I invite you to share this post with your homeschool communities.
Jennifer Bly is the creator of My Kitchen, My Classroom: An Introduction to Homeschool. Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram for homeschooling updates and inspiration.