Learning to Write

Posted by Annie on Jan 30, 2007 in Activity, Education |

I’ve been a little concerned over my son’s writing skills lately. So, what do I do? I revert back to my typical schooled methods (employed by public schools across the nation) and purchased a Writing workbook from Mc Graw Hill.

As a self-proclaimed unorthodox child-lead homeschooler, I am not proud of myself. There has to be a better way than struggling with a child who resists any kind of tradional schooling methods.

My friend and colleague, Diane Flynn Keith editor of Homefire ~ The Journal of Homeschooling Online had a couple of terrific ideas that had never occured to me. Diane recommends using real-life situations to assist students in mastering essential skills such as writing.

My ten-year-old son hates to write, though when pressed he prints very well. Getting him to do so willingly is the hard part. Diane recommends giving the child the task of taking down phone messages off the answering machine. Just as you would pay a secretary to answer the phone and take messages, you can agree to pay your child a small amount to faithful perform this task. Pay your child enough to encourage him or her to want to do the task and do it well, but not so much that it breaks the bank doing so. (Maybe .10 or .25 per message.)

If you send out a lot of mail, have your child address each package or envelope. Instead of using labels for your return address, have your child practice writing by printing out the return address on the envelopes.

A dry erase message board on the fridge for family messages, appointments or keeping track of where everyone is at any given time, is also a helpful way for your child to develop good written communication skills and not tax his or her patience in the process.

When she was telling me about her ideas, I remembered that when my children (now in their late 20’s) would reach the age of 12, I had each of them pay our bills for an entire month. They would write out each check, prepare the envelopes and record each check in our check register. At tax time, one child (a different one each year) would get to help prepare them. You can even prepare dummy tax returns for them to complete.

For those with children who will tolerate writing practice I’ve included some helpful links below. The main rule of thumb that should be observed is that if a child is more than a little resistant, either you are not using the right approach or your child might not yet be ready for the skills you would like to teach. It’s best to put the items away and try again at a later date.

Writing Skills Help

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