When it comes to writing in your homeschool, sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. Letting children know this is natural—and there are some ways around this problem—will help boost their confidence and reduce frustration.
You can use all sorts of brainstorming ideas to set kids off on the right foot with a writing assignment. Try one or two of these tips to jumpstart the process.
The idea behind the freewriting process is simply to encourage children to start writing and not let up until they have something to work with. Generally, this is a timed process—less than ten minutes as a rule—so they don’t get frustrated.
Invite them to start writing anything and everything that comes to their mind, including those feelings of frustration they may be experiencing. This process helps kids rid their minds of excess baggage (I like to call it a “brain dump”). In doing so, it brings the better ideas to the surface.
Trust me … as with any new skill, the freewriting process gets waaaay easier the more you do it!
>> Check out The Writing Well for freewriting tips and topic ideas
Depending on the writing topic, use story starters or StoryBuilders to point your kids in the right direction. Have them select one story starter (or several StoryBuilder cards) to work with. They can always hone what they’ve crafted later.
WriteShop offers a number of inexpensive printable StoryBuilder card sets, including:
- Adventure Builder – Create stories of mystery, adventure, and derring-do!
- Fantasy & Fairy Tales StoryBuilders – Do your kids love stories about magical beings in faraway worlds? If so, see how this fun set helps to encourage more creative writing!
- World of Animals StoryBuilders – Perfect for children who love animal stories, whether silly or serious!
When you emphasize that writing is a process (which they can kickstart in different ways), you’re helping them fill their “toolbox” with helpful skills they can apply to future writing assignments too.
Creating lists is another great way to get homeschool writing projects off to a smooth start. Have children begin listing as many things as they can that are related to a certain topic. Once they’ve completed the primary list, have them eliminate anything that doesn’t seem to fit.
Next, ask them to make a list of words and phrases related to the items in the first list. Before you know it, you will have a fairly workable outline with a little bit of tweaking. Many writing ideas can develop through listing, especially when you take time to guide a child through the topic-narrowing process.
Blogs and educational websites suggest different options for semantic mapping, all of which allow your child to look at the writing process in a different way. Diagrams and bubble maps are the most popular mapping tools. Learn more about semantic mapping here; it’s especially effective with your homeschool teens.
Did you know WriteShop is a homeschool writing curriculum that teaches the writing process to all ages? Because lessons always include creative, age-appropriate ways to brainstorm and plan a story or report, WriteShop builds confidence!
So whether your child is in kindergarten or high school, there’s a WriteShop level that’s perfect for them — filled with graphic organizers and brainstorming worksheets to set them on the path to writing success.
Explore WriteShop today!
See WriteShop Primary Overview (K-3rd grade)
See WriteShop Junior Overview (3rd-6th grade)
See WriteShop I & II Overview (teens)
Sign up for the WriteShop list to get your free 240 printable writing prompt cards.