Learn to motivate your budding writer using these four tips.
Teaching our children to write can be difficult, but imagine how challenging it is to be the budding writer. There are numerous skills that writing involves: thinking, planning, spelling, handwriting, typing, reading, and comprehension are only a few. Here are ways we can keep our children motivated as parents.
1. Be patient with your child and yourself.
Writing is a marathon, not a sprint. Every student blossoms at their own pace. The one thing that is guaranteed is that they will all blossom. Often times our patience is challenged when we mistakingly give meaning to moments that simply need time and support. For example, if our child is not writing independently or at a certain level, we may believe they are "behind." In those same moments, we may think we are failing them as homeschooling moms. If your child is budding slowly, they are not failing and neither are you. They may simply need more time and the appropriate support.
Radically accept where your child's writing skills are at this moment and provide whatever help or support they need without attaching meaning too soon. However, as a parent with two special needs students, one on a 504 and another on an IEP, I realize this is a delicate balance.
If your child is budding slowly, they are not failing and neither are you.
2. Respond positively to your developing writer.
In Andrew Pudewa's book However Imperfectly, he states, "For most of us, the basic reason for writing lies in audience." He further explains, "Naturally a positive response from the reader will motivate the writer to continue presenting his words on paper to his audience." These words make me cringe when I recall the times that my criticism of my own children's writing outweighed my praise. Thankfully, there were enough moments where I responded with positivity that allows my teens to continue to bring their writing to me today. Andrew's words are golden when he recommends that we remember that our children benefit from frequent huge smiles, joyful hugs, and enthusiastic compliments.
Our children benefit from frequent huge smiles, joyful hugs, and enthusiastic compliments.
3. Incorporate their interests.
If I had to choose between cheesecake or chocolate ice cream for dessert, I would choose cheesecake every time. While I can tolerate chocolate ice cream, I absolutely love cheesecake. When it comes to writing, we want to offer our children options that they love as opposed to ones they have to tolerate. In the book, However Imperfectly by Andrew Pudewa, he states, "If something is relevant to you, if it is significant, meaningful, useful, interesting, helpful to you, then it is easy to study and learn."
What is your child naturally interested in pursuing? Those interests make great writing topics. What I love about IEW is that parents can develop their own sources to align with each structural model. If you haven't gone through IEW's Teaching Writing Structure and Style program, you can always find an accredited instructor to customize instruction around your student's interests.
What is your child naturally interested in pursuing? Those interests make great writing topics.
4. Catch your child doing something right.
Set a goal to intentionally look for things in your child's writing to compliment. Andrew Pudewa states, "There's always something to affirm in a student's work: a good (or even interesting) word selection, a dress-up that actually did work, a sentence or paragraph that does make sense or follows a particular rule, or even just the fact that the assignment was completed! If a teacher starts out on a positive note, then any constructive criticism that follows will likely be better received."
While responding positively to them is important, actively seeking ways we can appreciate their work creates an affirming environment.