Teaching your kids to write should be a fun exercise — you’re giving them a creative outlet, and a chance to express themselves in a whole new way.
Of course, at times it can be challenging, especially if you or your child isn’t a natural communicator. But as long as you have a solid plan, you’ll be able to make creative writing a lesson that your kids look forward to every time.
Start them young…
It’s important to kick-start creative writing when your child is still young. And by elementary school, creative writing should certainly be a key part of your homeschool curriculum.
If your child is aged around 6-11, here’s how you can get them engaged with creative writing:
Encourage them to write about things they love. Creative writing will not be a chore if they’re channeling a personal passion. If your student wants to write endless paragraphs on LEGO or cats, let them! Just pick a different slant for each assignment so it doesn’t get too repetitive — you could ask them a prompt question and have them write a page in response one day, then task them with a short one-paragraph character dialogue another, for example.
Don’t overcorrect their work. If a student writes something they’re proud of, it can be disheartening to see it covered in red pen marks. Overlook small spelling or grammatical errors at this age, and instead focus on structure and voice. Keep track of any errors they’re making repeatedly, as you can address these in a separate spelling or grammar lesson.
Give them a place for personal writing. It’s nice to encourage your children to write outside of planned lesson time. Buy them a special notebook or journal, and suggest they use it for personal writing a couple of times a week. Knowing that it’s for their eyes only can help them be creative and write freely, without being preoccupied about getting something wrong.
Incorporate drawing or coloring. Every now and then, ask your students to illustrate their writing projects. This can be a quick way to help overcome any mental barriers around writing, especially for students who struggle with writing big blocks of text. Let them tap into their creativity in a way that they’re used to, and allow that to overflow into their writing.
Common difficulties teaching creative writing
There are a number of common issues that crop up when teaching writing, regardless of age. Here’s what you need to do to remedy them…
Getting bogged down in the details. Remember that writing is a creative process — not a spelling or grammar lesson. Especially as your kids first begin writing on their own, focus on their topics, their structure, and their creativity. If you get too nit-picky about small errors, it can derail their confidence and discourage them from writing altogether.
Reluctant writers. It’s pretty common for kids to complain about having to do writing exercises. The best way to combat this is to ensure every lesson is tailored to their interests. Avoid repetitive exercises that have them churning out sentences on repeat. Seek out worksheets that keep them engaged, or ask them to write essays about topics they care about. You can even set real-world tasks like writing a postcard to their grandparents, or a letter to Santa.
You’re not a strong writer yourself. First of all, don’t stress. A lot of people aren’t confident in their writing abilities, but that doesn’t mean you can’t properly teach it to your students. You can rely on online resources and worksheets to help structure your lessons, rather than having to go it alone.
How to use worksheets to plan a writing lesson
One of the best ways to bring diversity and fun to your writing lessons is by using worksheets. There are many different types, for every level of student ability, covering every topic imaginable. By incorporating worksheets into your writing lesson plans you can be sure you’re giving your students a thorough education, whilst having a lot of fun.
All of these worksheets come with a detailed overview of the topic, so even teachers who aren’t confident in writing will feel comfortable leading a class. You can use this overview to introduce your students to the topic, and then print off the attached worksheets to help them solidify their learnings. Spend one session on each, or mix them up into one — it totally depends on how quickly your child is developing.
Writing for beginners (typically early elementary school)
Before your kids can begin lengthy writing exercises like essays or poems, it’s important to lay a good foundation. Check out these excellent writing lesson plans for beginner students:
This lesson plan introduces your students to the concept of nouns, and their importance as the building block of a sentence. It then goes into detail about the difference between nouns, proper nouns, and pronouns, and when to use each of them.
An essential skill to master before attempting longer writing exercises, this lesson plan will help you teach your students the correct way to arrange words in a sentence. It’s ideal for kids who have a good understanding of nouns, verbs, and adjectives, and includes 10 worksheets to prompt them to write sentences correctly.
Writing for learners (typically mid-elementary to middle school)
Once your students have mastered the basics, it’s time to brush up on some more technical skills. Here are some great writing lesson plans for learners:
These worksheets ask students to read a section of text and identify the topic or “main idea” being discussed. This lesson is designed to encourage critical thinking, and helps children understand how to make conclusions and draw information from text. While this is a reading comprehension exercise, it lays the foundation for them writing their own topic paragraphs in future classes.
Expressive language is a great way to bring color and creativity to a student’s work. This lesson plan covers idioms, metaphors, and clichés, and how to differentiate between the three. It includes fun worksheets with some silly expressions that kids will enjoy!
Compound sentences help your students write interesting and varied prose. In this lesson plan, you’ll find everything you need to teach a detailed class on compound sentences, and when a writer should use them. The attached worksheets will help you assess their knowledge and understanding after the class.
This lesson plan starts off with an overview of what makes a poem, and the many different types of poems your student can try. A creative class like this can help put a different spin on homeschooled creative writing.
Writing for advanced students (typically middle and high school)
Once your student is confident and proficient in their writing, they can really start to lean into their creativity. These writing lesson plans will help you shape your students into thoughtful and passionate writers.
If you’ve got a child who likes to talk back, chances are they’ll really engage with this persuasive speech lesson plan. It dives into what makes a good argument, and is the perfect introduction to debating and public speaking. The lesson plan comes with 100 examples of topics for them to argue for or against, for example: University should be mandatory.
This writing lesson plan introduces tragedy in literature, which was very popular with Ancient Greeks and Shakespeare. It’s got plenty of examples of Tragedy texts — both modern and classic — which you can read with your students. Then, your students can explore writing their own Tragedy before class wraps up.
Find the fun in writing
Teaching writing as a homeschooler can certainly be intimidating — it’s an ongoing skill that your students will hone over years. But with the right preparation and lesson plans, it can be an enjoyable, and successful, experience for both you and your kids.
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