One of the most common questions parents have asked me since we started online school is, “How can I best support my child’s writing efforts?” This is a question I ask myself day after day in the classroom. Here are a few guidelines I share with the parents of my students that might be helpful to you as you are in the business of raising (and currently homeschooling!) your writer.
LOOK FOR CHANCES TO WRITE
The best way for young writers to develop skills is to have lots of opportunities to write. Be ever on the look out for writing opportunities inside and outside of home school. They might try to convince you in writing why they should stay up late or have a special present. It might be fun to keep a family journal of hikes and special places your family visits.
LEAVE THEM WANTING TO WRITE MORE
Focus on the writer, as opposed to the specific piece of writing, when talking to them about a piece. Point out to a child what you like that they did as a writer (that they may not even be aware of) that you want them to continue doing in the future. It might sound something like, “I like how you started your story with dialogue (or action, or a descriptive setting) right at the very start of your piece. You got my attention!”
FOCUS ON ONE SKILL AT A TIME
It is tempting to correct everything, but resist the urge! Instead, focus on one skill at a time. You might say things like, “What else might you write here to create a clear picture in the reader’s mind?” or “What is another reason why you think . . . ” Even one tiny revision shows progress.
HONOR THEM AS THE WRITER
Ask for your child’s permission before you write on their paper. This is sacred territory! Offer comments as “suggestions” not “commands.” Call them “writer” and watch them grow into one.
Know that right now, Carrie and I are teaching right beside you! Please let us know if there are ways we can help.