Pulling out a blank piece of paper and asking my kids to fill it with lovely, well-written, grammatically correct sentences evokes writing anxiety in my kids like no other. I wonder if your kids are the same. It’s funny how a blank piece of paper can hold so much power over their emotional well-being, but it totally can. I learned a long time ago how the blank piece of a paper sets my kids into a tailspin and in order to keep that from happening too often, I’ve come up with a few tactics that help to avoid writing anxiety.
Do you get the same I can’t think of anything, I hate writing, this is horrible reactions?
Ya, I didn’t think I was alone here. Need some ideas?
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Ways we avoid writing anxiety
- Talk about what we’ll write before we actually write. Handing them a piece of paper and saying GO never works for us. We talk about what we’ll write beforehand. I can help them get some thoughts going and narrow their wide ideas down to something writable–instead of, say, summarizing the entire Pippi Longstocking series (Sophia’s favorite), I could suggest she writes about one of her specific adventures or what she looks like.
- Sitting and writing with my kids instead of standing above them with a timer in hand always works better, too.
- Turning off distractions like TV or music, lighting a candle, and making things calm. I love writing time because it means quiet time. It’s hard for me to sit down and write out a blog post with distractions, so how could I expect my kids to do it?
- Be aware of assigning writing projects that our kids will hate. I get it. They might hate them all. But there are some that we know, as their mothers, that they would realllllly hate. Just because the book says to do it, does not mean we have to. Modify assignments. change them. Omit them and add your own. Homeschooling means tailor-made educations, not cut, copy, and paste from a writing curriculum.
- Be open to transcribing for your child. Sometimes the act of thinking of something and then putting it to paper is just not worth the fight and stress. Sit down to your computer, open up a Word doc, and start typing what they tell you to. You’ll be blown away by your kids’ instant creativity!
- Save the critiques for a different day. I have found that when we sit down to write, that waiting a day and having them look it over and check for spelling or grammar errors another day is always better. The second time they look over it, they’ll have a much better grasp on what they wrote. Writing one day, corrections the next. Having them correct their own work before I even look at it is even better.
Tools for making writing fun
Something that I’m working to put together in our homeschool is a fun writing station–a place where writing tools are house that are only used for writing. As soon as the magic writing pens are pulled out to write a grocery list, the magic is gone. Here’s some tools that I’m adding to our writing station that will be used only for writing in an attempt to create some non-stressful writing days.
- Choice pens for kids, like fun gel pens
- White Out pens or tape–my kids love this stuff and if we’re using pens, they might need it occasionally
- Story Builder cards by WriteShop
- Printable Writing Prompts by WriteShop
- Color Poetry by WriteShop
- Write Your Own Adventure Stories by Usborne Books
- Creative Writing Book by Usborne Books
I hope this left you with some ideas to cure writing anxiety in your house. Writing is something I want my kids to enjoy, but I understand that it’s so much easier with practice and so much different than anything else we do in our homeschool. Because of this, there’s bound to be some anxiety, but hopefully these tips make it less so.
How about you? What are your favorite writing tips and tools?
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