Parents who give up the struggle with daily workbook lessons and encourage real-life writing and children’s choice writing look back months later and are delighted not only with the progress but with the happy times they had.
A Biblical Home Education by Ruth Beechick
She’s right! We have used this real-life writing method since the beginning, and are happy to report — it works!
Like all methods or ideas, you need to adapt the method to fit your children, yourself, and your family as a whole. With that said, here are five elements that make this method work.
- Writing every day. Establish a writing habit by requiring your child to write something every day. In the beginning, this might be a few sentences copied from their favorite book. If your child has a particular interest at the time, that interest will provide ample writing ideas.
- Focused corrections. Keep the corrections to a simple focus — what does this child need right now. Don’t red-line the entire work. A grammar reference can be very helpful (for you!).
- Age-appropriate vehicle. Provide an interesting vehicle to hold your child’s writing. In the beginning, we went through dozens of booklets — folded pages stapled together with lots of room to hold their thoughts. Then, we moved on to story paper — a big empty box at the top for drawing, with plenty of lines underneath for explaining. After that we moved on to notebooks filled with lined paper or composition notebooks. Eventually, all of their written work was stored on their laptops — and still is!
- Encouragement. Nothing is more disheartening than to hear a mom’s dissatisfaction with her child’s writing; the work doesn’t measure up to her exceptions of an adequate research paper — and the child is only four! Yikes! I exaggerate (but unfortunately, barely). Start where the child is. Always find and point out the positive points of his work. If he is writing every day, you WILL see progress. But be happy with where he is today!
- Keepsakes. Find a place to store these treasures. Looking back is both motivating for the child, to see the extent of his progress, and bittersweet for the parent, who can see visible proof that her child is growing leaps and bounds!
Yes, as our children became good writers, there was a point at which we introduced grammar, and stretched their skills by requiring certain types of writing. But this was after their daily habit of writing had become firmly established.
Our children still write every day — outside of any requirements I may come up with (one having graduated). We began with a “their choice” approach, and it is still “their choice.” Do you see the value of the real-life writing habit?
Here are a few practical, real-life writing helps to get you started: