So, let’s talk about how to help your K-2nd grader with homeschool writing.
I’m sure it’s no secret to you that children develop at different rates. One child may possess remarkable fine-motor skills, yet she struggles to speak a coherent sentence. Another talks circles around his siblings, but his handwriting leaves much to be desired.
This disparity is often more obvious during the primary years, when most children are either emerging writers with little or no ability to write or beginning writers who are developing early writing skills.
Here are three ways to help your K-2nd grader with homeschool writing.
1. Let Go of Expectations . . . and Stress
Because fine-motor skills vary from child to child, don’t be distressed if your youngster has a hard time holding a pencil correctly, writing on a line, forming letters and words, or demonstrating neat penmanship.
These early elementary years—typically kindergarten through third grade—produce a great deal of growth in most children, but if your little one doesn’t seem to be following the pack, take a deep breath and accept that it’s okay.
Meanwhile, make sure your writing time is spent together, and that you build instruction from your child’s own efforts rather than from artificial expectations. For example, if he’s great at telling stories, but cries buckets if you make him write anything down himself, let him dictate to you as you write his words.
My youngest child definitely had his own timetable. He had the hardest time with any writing-related activity, so most of our “writing” time happened orally, with me doing the writing as he narrated. The good news is that with much mommy patience and perseverance, he eventually did “get” it.
2. Embrace Repetition and Routine
Have you ever noticed that your littles never tire of reading the same book or singing the same songs over and over … and over again? It’s one of the main ways children absorb information, and the sooner we accept that, the more likely learning will take place.
Keep to a Schedule
Repetition, routine, and consistency play a major part in nurturing young writers. Since primary-age children thrive in this environment, you may have to sideline your own fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants tendencies as you devote yourself to keeping a schedule, building bit by bit on their emerging skills, and nurturing your young writers in the way they learn best.
Someday you may be able to let spontaneity reign once again, but until then, routine is your friend!
3. Focus on Age-Appropriate K-2 Writing Skills
Too often, homeschool parents neglect teaching children how to think about and plan a story. They just assign it. Instead, give young children tools to experience success as they develop the ability to write by teaching them to brainstorm; plan a beginning, middle, and end; and then write or dictate the story.
Typical Writing Progression for the K-2nd Grader
You can also help your K-2nd grader with homeschool writing by not jumping into advanced writing too soon. Instead, watch for and encourage this progression in your child.
- Can write a letter, word, or group of words according to his or her ability.
- Can write a complete sentence.
- Understands the concept of a paragraph.
How Much Writing and How Often for a K-2nd Grader?
- Devote 3 days a week to the writing process. At this age, that’s plenty.
- Spend 15-30 minutes max per day on writing activities, depending on age and attention span.
- Expect your child to write or dictate 5- to 7-sentence stories. A more articulate child may show interest and inclination to write longer pieces—and that’s great. Just don’t force it. Make sure your children crawl before they walk!
Be an Involved Parent
Children simply can’t learn to write without help. A homeschool parent who participates one-on-one with her child inspires success! To effectively develop basic writing skills, your child needs some important things from you:
- Your presence
- Your example
- Your encouragement
- Your daily guidance
Teaching a young child to love words and writing—or even the idea of writing—comes from purposeful instruction in a fairly structured environment. Your kiddos may not absorb everything you say and do. They may not exhibit the skills your friends’ kids exhibit. And they may alternately drive you crazy and break your heart with their moans, groans, and tears.
Just remember that this is springtime for your little one, where you’ll see both subtle growth and explosions of learning. Take your time to nurture with patient care, and your budding writer will bloom and blossom in time.
Catch the Whole Series
- How to help your 3rd-5th grader with homeschool writing
- How to help your 5th-8th grader with homeschool writing
- How to help your high schooler with homeschool writing
Homeschool Writing Curriculum for Grades K-3
WriteShop Primary is the best way to gently introduce writing skills to young children using repetition, routine, pre-writing games and activities, crafts, and storybooks. Perfect for most children in grades K-3. Click here for help choosing a starting level.