I love Creative Writing. It’s like second nature to me. Give me a pencil and paper, these days a keyboard, mouse and open space on a computer, and I can write, write, and write some more. My favorite form of creative writing is and will always be a pencil and paper and free form thought.
I love the feel of a a pencil in my hand and the scratch, scratch of it gliding across the lines of a piece of notebook paper. I love pouring my heart into words and letting the emotions fill the space.
When I began homeschooling I imagined that I would with very little struggle teach my son the finer points of writing. I imagined teaching him, this is a subject, this is a predicate and when you put them together with a few other words you have a sentence. Then you put those sentences together to form a detailed paragraph and finally you put paragraphs together to tell a story. I imagined we would sit for hours writing and sharing with each other our written words.
The Realities of Creative Writing in Homeschool
But that’s not what happened. No. He instead is a math guy. He loves science as well. He even loves history and reading and well every subject, except writing. I’ve tried everything I can think of, as well as many suggestions by others to encourage him to want to try his hand at creative writing.
But, he just simply does not understand the need to put his thoughts on paper.
I watch him when given an assignment and it’s as if he just freezes up. Much like the way I freeze up when presented with a math problem.
For years, I did everything possible to avoid math, but then I began homeschooling and had to either learn to do it or get help. For the most part, I learned. I still struggle, but I have learned more by teaching and watching him than I ever did in school.
That is why it seems odd to me that I can’t find the right way to teach him to creative writing.
I thought we had accomplished this goal last year. I had discovered that he loves story telling. But didn’t understand that making up a story in his mind and telling it to me, is the same as writing only without writing it down.
So, I had him begin by illustrating first. Then going back and writing in what was happening in the illustrations. He was doing pretty well with that. Or, so I thought. This year, however, when I tried the same approach I found that he was struggling to even write a proper sentence, let alone a paragraph.
Now here we are beginning what is normally the last quarter of our school year, and I have no idea how I will show any progress in this subject for the year. I’ve tried writing prompts, story starters, illustrations and copy work. Only to find that he simply has no desire to even try.
When he does try and I see he needs work, and try to suggest edits, he just looks at me like, really? And I think to myself, ‘He’s worked for so long to come up with these few sentences, none of which are grammatically correct, and they certainly don’t form a paragraph let alone a story. Yet, if I try in any way to correct him, he will be crushed because he tried so hard.’ I’m left feeling like a failure as a teacher.
So I’ve been pinning new ideas on Pinterest. So far, nothing has really stood out to me as a ‘this will work’ kind of option. I’m just hoping that something will inspire me.
Perhaps it’s time to abandon the lesson plan and spend the day focused on writing. Perhaps revisit some very basic grammar and figure out what he knows versus where he is struggling. That’s the best I’ve got so far.
How are you seeking to inspire your kids in their creative writing efforts?
I’d love to know your ideas! Share them with me in the comments below.