Sigh. Once again, it’s “writing time” at your house.
During the past hour, your reluctant writer’s paper has become riddled with scribbles and smears. And e-v-e-r-y time he erases with frustrated vigor, a tiny hole appears in the middle of that gray smudge. As the hole grows larger, his mind freezes up and closes in. Then the laments begin:
- What do I write about?
- Where do I start?
- How long does it have to be?
- I’ll never think of something.
- I HATE WRITING!
There’s so much frustration behind those blinked-back tears. And you know what? It’s not just kids who experience it—YOU struggle too.
Why Is It So Hard to Teach Writing?
Teaching writing is one of the biggest hurdles homeschooling families face. First, parents often feel insecure, inadequate, and under-equipped. For many of you, teaching writing ranks right up there with a trip to the dentist. Although we know the importance of passing on this skill to our students, so many doubts stand in our way!
- How can I teach if I never really learned to write?
- I don’t write—I’m just a math-science person.
- What if I don’t know how to grade a paper?
- Writing comes easily to me—but I don’t have clue how to teach my kids.
Second, children are paralyzed by writer’s block, fear, and perfectionism. Most students want to write a paper once and declare it done. They hope we’ll rave over it and accept it as a finished product. The smallest hint of suggestion from Mom sets off howls of protest: Why can’t I leave it this way? You never like anything I write!
Blank paper, reluctant child, and insecure parent—combine these three ingredients together and I pretty much guarantee that without practical solutions, your hopes for teaching writing will be dashed on the rocks.
Let’s face it. It’s easy to keep pushing writing to the back burner with intentions of getting to it “someday.” And for many, “someday” has come and gone, and now you have:
- a high schooler who can’t write;
- a panicked mom burdened by guilt;
- and the infernal blank page that taunts you both.
10 Stumbling Blocks to Writing
First, recognize the biggest stumbling blocks that stand in the way of your child’s success. Then you can begin to determine how your writing strategy can help.
Here are ten stumbling blocks to writing you’re likely to encounter as you homeschool your kids. Take heart! These obstacles are neither so heavy that they can’t be moved, nor so tall that they can’t be scaled.
Which of these does your child struggle with?
- Lack of confidence as a writer
- Weak writing skills
- Low motivation
- Weak writing vocabulary
- Perfectionism and self-criticism
- Fear of getting criticized
- Not understanding the point of writing
- Learning challenges
In this series of posts, I talk about each of these obstacles in detail and share ideas on how to help your student overcome them. While many of the suggestions focus on older students in 4th grade through high school, you’ll still find tips you can apply to younger children. By addressing some of these problems early on, you set your children up for greater writing success in the future.
One of the most challenging writing hurdles isn’t listed above, but you’ve probably uttered the words yourself: “My child hates to write by hand!” This article speaks to the problem in detail and gives you loads of suggestions to help your struggling writer over the hump.
Start today! You CAN help your kids overcome their own stumbling blocks to writing by introducing skills and tools that inspire confidence.
What are your child’s biggest obstacles to writing?
Do I even need a homeschool writing program? Maybe.
With the right curriculum, you CAN help your child overcome each of these writing hurdles! From bite-size writing assignments and family-friendly schedules to writing games, graphic organizers, and checklists, WriteShop lessons can inspire your children to become successful writers.
WriteShop Primary (K-3) and WriteShop Junior (3-7) are perfect for budding writers who love having fun when doing schoolwork. WriteShop I & II (teens) have been producing strong middle and high school writers since 2001. Click a button to learn more!