This article originally appeared on WriteShop and is used with permission here.
You're in good company if you think teaching writing is hard. Many homeschooling moms feel completely inadequate and unequipped for the task. As a matter of fact, if I were to take a poll, most of you would probably say you'd rather have a root canal.
Teaching Writing Is Hard!
Sometime we dream about how nice it would be just to plunk a workbook down in front of our kids and watch clear, engaging, organized stories and essays take shape before our very eyes. But in reality, writing needs to be taught.
Yes, a handful of us have children who will figure it out all on their own, but most children need modeling, teaching, and feedback in order to learn and improve as writers.
So why is teaching writing hard for you? Beyond your own self-doubt, you may be struggling to help your kids overcome issues like writer’s block, laziness, perfectionism, or other hurdles that prevent progress. Typically, students want to scribble out a paper and call it done. Then they want you to rave over it! But at the first sign of a suggestion from you, watch out—here comes the meltdown!
This creates tremendous frustration for the parent because you can't seem to figure out how to make this whole writing thing work. Your kid is a mess, and you feel like a failure.
Pinpoint the Problems
- Does your child complain that he can’t think of what to write about?
- Does he dawdle?
- Does he have learning challenges that may require special attention?
- Is he unwilling to take correction or accept feedback?
- Do you feel overwhelmed?
- Are you trying to teach many children at different levels?
- Are you disorganized and flying by the seat of your pants?
- Are you unpredictable in your editing and grading?
Alone or in combination, these factors can contribute to incredible stress, irritation, and discouragement.
Make Simple Changes
You can take small steps toward reducing the level of frustration in your home. These ideas work wonders with all types of learners:
- Keep writing assignments short and specific.
- Use brainstorming worksheets and graphic organizers to help your child think his ideas through before he begins to write.
- Break the assignment into bite-sized chunks, giving mini deadlines along the way.
- Choose writing materials that are flexible enough to use with several children at once.
- Have a plan: Know what you want to teach and when, and then schedule writing into your week.
- Use objective, lesson-specific editing and grading tools to help you evaluate your children's writing fairly.
Teaching writing is hard sometimes. But be courageous! Small successes will begin to usher frustration right out the door, leaving encouragement and accomplishment in its wake.