The Creative Writing Struggle
Disclosure: I received these products for free to share with you how I am solving my pre-teen’s creative writing struggle, and I am being compensated for my time. All opinions about Rainbowresource.com are my own and I gladly share them with you because they are my go-to resource for all things educational supplies for homeschoolers.
It’s no secret that my pre-teen young man is not a fan of creative writing. It’s been a struggle between he and myself from the earliest of homeschooling days. Each summer, I search high and low for a solution to this problem and by 8-10 weeks into school, I’m ready to throw in the towel.
There have seemingly been solutions along the way, but, they were short-lived. Early on, illustration was a simple and easy way to get him involved in the creative process, but I soon discovered that while he loved the illustration aspect, writing a sentence or two to go along with each illustration was like pulling teeth. Not fun, for either him or me.
For a while, narration seemed to be a decent solution. But, if more than a paragraph or two was required, he would clam up, or become so frustrated that a school day would feel like torture for both of us. I switched to dictation and even used accessibility settings on the computer so he could dictate directly into word processing software. But it didn’t take long to realize that he’d stare at a blank page for hours if I’d let him as his mind drifted off.
Each and every school year, I would abandon all creative writing assignments thinking, he’s just not ready and the day will come when it will just click. The curious thing is, the problem doesn’t lie in the physical act of writing, he has beautiful penmanship, enjoys copywork and will draw images all day. Nor is the struggle with creative thought. He can tell me fantastic stories. There has always seemed to be a disconnect between the creative thinking and the process of putting those thoughts on paper.
Yet, he’s getting older, 7th grade this year, and I realize that he should be to a point of being able to write a simple research paper. Again, I searched high and low for a one stop solution to his creative writing struggle. Then I had a new thought.
What if instead of a one-stop creative writing curriculum I try a lot of different resources. You see, I wanted to take the work out of the writing process and instead allow him to see that writing can, in fact, be a fun process. That’s when I decided to ditch boxed writing curriculum.
My Choices for Solving the Creative Writing Struggle
So I did what every smart homeschool mom does when searching for a solution. I turned to Rainbowresource.com. Turning to their website I started by using the search bar using the terms, creative writing. I was instantly amazed at the wealth of options. I took my time and studied all the resources presented as I searched for items that would help my son think differently about creative writing.
I knew I had to think outside of the curriculum box and imagine what writing would look like for a pre-teen boy. I asked myself, What kinds of things does he like? Then I set about finding options that would serve him well.
Currently, I don’t grade or edit my son’s writing. It’s far too stressful for him to worry about his structure and grammar. I simply want him to work away from the fear of writing. I am hopeful that over the course of this year as I use many of these great resources that my son will reach a point that writing won’t be the big scary subject. That’s when I hope to transition him from creative thought writing to learning to structure and utilize proper grammar.
Considering how my son’s mind works I wanted to find some things that he would find fun.
- Star Wars Mad Libs – This simple, fun, writing game has cracked the door for my struggling writer to become a creative writer. The first time I pulled out this book, I wrote out the mad lib prompts on our chalk board, when it came time for his “writing” assignment, of course he got very whiney. I encouraged him to give it a try. I heard a lot of, “I can’t” and “I dont’ remember what an adjective is.” But, I just kept encouraging him, helping him as necessary to get that prompt list filled out. As he completed each prompt on the list, I secretly wrote his answers into the mad lib story. When he was all done, I said, “Guess what, you just wrote a funny, silly story.” Being a fan of Star Wars and hearing the silly mad lib story come to life, he began to laugh. Then he wanted to re-read the story. Then, wonder of wonders, he asked, “Can I do another?” Be still my heart. Now he asks for them often. A few days later, when he had a writing assignment as part of his history lesson he started to get frustrated and wanted to quit. But, I reminded him of the mad lib story and asked him to remember that sometimes writing can be fun, silly and just a way to put what you are thinking on paper. So he gave the assignment a try. Wonder of wonders, he did an A-Mazing job! I was super impressed with how detailed he was. It’s really incredible how a simple Mad Lib story book opened up his desire to write. Oh, he still balks, but he does try, and that, dear readers is leaps and bounds better than last year, and the years before.
- Build a Book for Boys – This is sort of a journal for boys. It allows boys to write a book about themselves with creative writing prompts, blank story pages, and about me forms. Don’t worry, if you have a pre-teen girl they have a Build a Book for Girls too. I would say that these build a book resources are good for writers between 4th – 8th grades, depending on writing skill level. A more experienced writer might find them to be too easy, but they are perfect prompts for building confidence in writing.
- Stepping Stones: The Expository Writing Game – Turn a writing assignment into a fun game. Players choose a Topic Sentence, a prompt, that will be the basis for an essay. The game, although it’s rather a step-by-step how to write an essay guide, walks the players through several types of expository writing, including informative, persuasive, and comparison & contrast essays, and includes prompts for how to brainstorm a topic. If you have a child who balks at every writing assignment that comes their way you can take the fear out of the blank page by turning a writing assignment into a family friendly game. One word of caution, this game does take time because the players are building an essay as they play. Be sure to set aside an afternoon or after dinner evening to play this game. It is intended for an adult to play along, or at least be close by, to help out with encouragement and instruction as needed.
- Super Hero Comic Book Maker – O.K. what pre-teen boy doesn’t love comic books? This comic book maker comes with a CD that you load onto your P.C. and then your child can create their very own digital comic book(s). The program comes with pre-designed backgrounds, speech bubbles, a few heroes, villains, animals, and people, but your child can also design their own. Then they learn how to lay out each page, write the comic story, and can print as they go. Maybe your thinking, what’s the big deal? How does this help with creative writing? Regardless of what we want to imagine creative writing to look like, a comic book requires creative imagery and creative writing to complete a story. It may not be your favorite genre, but when you are dealing with a child who struggles with WANTING to write, and you present them with an option for writing in their own way on their own level you will start tearing down the wall of fear, frustration and annoyance. Before you know it, they’ll be writing comics just for fun.
- Rorys Story Cubes Game: Clues – These writing dice allow the mind to be creative. Why? Because with each roll of 3 die, each with a different picture on each side, your child will receive 3 different rolled prompts, which will inspire them to weave a fantastical story. For example, on one roll you might see a fingerprint, an ink stain, and a file folder, on another roll you may see handcuffs, a gavel and a mouse, then the writer writes a story using the 3 prompts that were rolled. Additionally, there are multiple sets of Rorys Story Cubes, which you can mix and match for even more prompting fun
- Rip the Page! Adventrues in Creative Writing – This book takes creative writing prompts and turns them on their side. These prompts are not what you’d expect in a writing prompt, they will take a writer and make them think about words in a different way. Which then, inspires creativity. Author Karen Benke encourages writers to stop worrying about getting it right, and think more about writing. As a writer myself I think these prompts are beautiful and perfect for inspiring creativity.
- Narrative Writing Organizer & Informative/Explanatory Writing Organizer – These fold-out pages are designed in a way to help the student organize their thoughts into a workable narrative or informative writing essay. They include helpful hints, helpful words, instructional guides, punctuation reminders and a writing process checklist. The guides help the students to organize an introduction, paragraphs, and a conclusion. Then offers a space to write out their rough draft. This is a super-inexpensive resource that can help your child go from pre-writing and brainstorming to a complete edited essay. Again, this resource can take the fear out of a blank page, by offering a structure for organizing thoughts, but my son is not quite ready to begin using this resource. Hopefully, as he continues to progress I’ll be able to add this into the line-up.
- How to Write a Composition – This is an instructional workbook that takes a child from learning what a composition is, the types of compositions, and then guides them through the process of writing each type of composition. Because this is more of an instructional guide I plan to use it after my son has progressed beyond the struggle and fear of writing.
- Bible-Based Writing Lessons from Institute for Excellence in Writing – I selected this one because I try to use Bible to incorporate as many subjects as possible. For me, this will serve a few purposes. First, because the lessons teach a child how to utilize outlining for the purpose of composition. As a Bible student, I think it’s important to learn how to outline one’s own Bible study. This is currently the primary way we are using the material. Later, again when I feel he is more proficient with the writing process, I will utilize the composition portions, which offer a guided writing assignment based upon Bible lessons. Lastly, this resource allows me to expand my child’s method of biblical study.
I’m pretty surprised at how this year is going so far in regards to creative writing in our homeschool. I really don’t know why it’s taken me so long to search for a true workable solution that helps to take the fear out of the blank page. I kept assuming that one day his grammar lessons would just click as far as the writing goes. Boy was I wrong.
5 Reasons Why I Use Rainbowresource.com for our Homeschool Needs
I’m so thankful to Rainbowresource.com because I know that as a homeschool mom whenever I have a struggle, frustration or need to know what materials are available to homeschoolers, I can simply go to their site, search their massive collection of educational supplies and curriculum and before long find what I need.
- If I have any trouble at all or need a bit of guidance I can utilize their free consultation specialists via Live Help Now option, email, or I can even call their 1-800 number.
- I can rest assured knowing that I’m not just reaching out to an educational resource center but when I contact Rainbowresource.com I’m reaching out to an experienced homeschooling family, the Schneiders, and their experienced staff.
- Their secondary site, Our Homeschool Forum, is filled with fabulous information, encouragement, homeschool news, reviews, a community forum, and blog.
- They offer great products at low prices, every day.
- Plus, if I order $50 or more of products they offer free shipping.
Are you familiar with Rainbowresource.com? You can easily connect with Rainbowresource.com on your favorite social media network, like: Facebook, Twitter @RainbowResourc1, Pinterest and YouTube. They offer the most comprehensive collection of educational supplies at affordable pricing. They are huge supporters of homeschooling families, because they have successfully homeschooled 7 children, who are now homeschooling their own children.
They are my go-to anytime I need to find the best deal on favorite curriculum or need to research a solution to a problem. This year, so far, seems to be the year when our creative writing struggles may be coming to an end. Without their all-in-one shopping resource for finding creative solutions to this problem, I’m not sure we would be as far along as we currently are.
This post is part of iHomeschool Network’s How to Homeschool Your Resistant Child. (Available 3/20/17).
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