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Does your kid hate to write?
After all, some kids love to write. Some kids hate to write. And then there are those kids who loathe writing with a passion. You bribe, threaten, and beg. Nothing works.
So what do you do when your child hates writing?
The first thing not to do is give up in despair! Instead, start breaking down assignments into smaller parts. And use these 5 tips to help your child develop the skill of writing.
Separate writing from your content subjects
It’s tempting to require writing from your kid in all areas. A paragraph about history. A paragraph on science. And that’s in addition to your language arts lessons!
When your child hates writing, it’s too much. They’re going to fight you every step of the way and hate homeschooling.
So back off. Leave the formal writing practice to your writing lessons when your child hates writing.
And stop requiring any writing at all in the content subjects such as science, history, and art.
Instead, ask your child to complete an oral narration which you write down on a sheet of paper. If you can, encourage your child to draw a picture to go with the narration.
This will give you the papers you need for a homeschool portfolio, give your child a notebook to review information.
Remember that oral narration is one of the building blocks of writing. It forces kids to put information into a logical order. Later, as your child matures, you can switch over to written narrations. But not now. Not while your child fights writing with a passion.
And remember that the goal of the content subjects is to learn the subject. Study history, enjoy science, and develop a well-rounded education so they have the foundation they’ll need to understand complicated books and topics later.
Reduce Your Writing Requirements in English
Rome wasn’t built in a day and kids don’t learn to write in a week. And when kids hate writing, they’ll do anything to avoid it.
They whine, they fuss, and they hide under the table. So make it super easy for them to get the work done.
In fact, your goal is to make fussing over the requirement much harder than the requirement is.
What I’m trying to say is that it’s the habit, not the skill, we’re changing here. You’re going to train your child to say, yes mom, and write quickly… without complaint.
But for this to happen you have to back off dramatically.
So if your child objects to writing sentences, only require simple words. If words are too much, then only require single letters.
And I’m going to say this again. The habit is more important than the quantity of writing your child does. You need your child to sit down, do their work without complaint, and move on.
Unless you enjoy spending 3 hours a day fighting with your child over their writing assignments!
Moving from letters to paragraphs
So here’s what you’re going to do. Each day you’re to sit down and require some writing. The first week you’ll only ask for single letters. Write the letter A. Write the letter B. And write the letter Z. If you have to, only require one letter written each day.
Monday: A, Tuesday: I, Wednesday: O, Thursday: Z, Friday: T
I know it sounds ridiculous, but it works. Remember, the goal is to create a habit of sitting down and diligently completing the work without fuss.
The next week, move up to two-letter words.
Monday: to, Tuesday: at, Wednesday: do, Thursday: as, Friday: us
In the third week, you’ll work on three-letter words.
Monday: cat, Tuesday: dog, Wednesday: pug, Thursday: and, Friday: dot
Sample Schedule for Kids who hate writing
Here’s a sample week by week schedule to give you an idea of what I’m talking about:
- Single letters: A, B, C, etc.
- 2 letter words: to, at, do, etc.
- 3 letter words: cat, dog, pug, etc.
- 4 letter words: cake, fish, swim, etc.
- 5 letter words: silly, habit, seven, etc.
- 6 letter words: habits, poetry, fishes, etc.
- Start short phrases: the cat, the dog, a horse, etc.
- Begin sentences: A dog ran. See a cat. Hug a pug. etc.
- Add a short word: The cat runs fast. The dog is slow.
- Slowly increase the length of the sentences: The old dog is slow.
- The old dog runs slowly.
- The old dog runs slowly home.
- Move to two sentences: The cat ran. The dog walked.
- Slowly increase the length of the sentences: The cat hunted. The mouse ran away in fear.
- The dog chased the cat. The cat ran fast.
- The dog quickly chased a cat. The cat sprinted home.
- Move to three sentences: The mouse ran. The dog ran. The cat ran.
- Slowly increase the length of the sentences: My dog is brown. His name is Spot. I like my dog.
As you can see, by this point your child is beginning to write short paragraphs. Just like a frog in hot water, all you need to do is gently and slowly increase the amount of writing. By the end of the year, your child will be writing one paragraph.
Now I do want to emphasize that you may need to stop at any level for a week or two. Or even back up a week to prevent any fussing.
You’re destroying the bad habit of fighting over writing assignments.
Writing Papers When Your child Hates Writing
As your child’s writing ability increases, you’ll slowly move from writing longer and longer words to writing short sentences. Then from longer and longer sentences to short paragraphs.
Use the same technique to move from paragraphs to papers.
Slowly increase the length of a single paragraph until it’s around 8 or 9 sentences long. Then divide it into two paragraphs. Increase those until you’re able to break the paragraphs into 3 paragraphs.
Now you have the body of an essay!
Add an introduction and conclusion and your child will be writing a simple 5 paragraph essay.
Before I move on, I just want to mention that there’s nothing magical about the 5 paragraph essay. Nonfiction books begin with an introduction and end with a conclusion or final chapter which wraps up the book. Papers are the same way. For that matter, blog posts follow a similar format: introduction, body, and conclusion!
The number of sentences, paragraphs, or chapters between the introduction and the conclusion doesn’t matter. 5 paragraph essays are short enough kids can easily write them while demonstrating they understand the structure of writing assignments.
As you move through the steps, remember to adjust for your child’s age. A middle school kid will move much more quickly through the writing steps than a 1st grader. Allow your first grader several years to maneuver from writing words to writing paragraphs and essays.
And move your older child quickly enough to keep them challenged, but not frustrated.
Keep in mind that homeschooling is a marathon. Not a race. When your child hates writing, slow down. Take a look at what your child is able to do easily and build from there.
Eventually, your child will be able to write!
Books & Resources:
- IEW: Teaching Writing: Structure and Style
- The Complete Writer: Writing with Ease
- Teaching from Rest