Many of my students' parents and readers of my blogs have commented on a phrase that I use "relevant writing." This idea encompasses the thought that relating writing to what children are already learning makes the most sense. It's the difference between treating writing as a life skill rather than an academic subject. It's how we teach writing at Classes by Beth.
Relevant Writing Strategies You Can Use in Your Homeschool
- As you plan activities in other subject areas, such as science and history, combine writing with specific concepts from those subjects. Have your child retell a historical event in writing or explain a science concept.
- Utilize activities such as field trips, family vacations and other special events as writing opportunities. Be sure to create specific assignments rather than general ideas like "Describe the field trip" or "Write about our family vacation."
- Choose assignments that are developmentally appropriate for your child.
- Make sure you and your child have a clear understanding of the goals of the writing assignment before starting. Writing assignments make more sense when students know what is expected.
- Vary the length and depth of writing assignments. Every written assignment doesn't have to be a report or essay. Shorter writing assignments can often serve the purpose, cause less student stress and make it easier for you to grade.
- When assigning longer assignments, such as reports, break it down into parts such as notes, thesis statement, outline and multiple drafts.
- Consider giving your child multiple options for writing assignments. Students often feel more empowered and eager to complete work when they have choices. No more than three choices will alleviate undo pressure for most students.
- Give your student's written work as much attention when grading as you expect him or her to give it when writing. Discuss the writing, both positives and negatives, and allow for more than one draft, if needed. Encourage your child to improve his or her writing without demanding perfection with every assignment. Keep in mind that writing is a process that improves with practice and additional skill level.
If you view writing as a life skill and not a series of lessons or an academic subject, you'll transfer that perspective to your child as you teach. If it is a burden and hardship for you, if you can't see it as an essential life skill, your child will view it that way as well.