History tends to repeat itself and sometimes in very good ways! When I homeschooled my young children I found they were prolific writers if it was topic that they enjoyed. For example, my kids wrote stories about finding pets and keeping them. In fact, the children in their carefully- crafted stories had the most amazing mother in the world! Why? Because she allowed them to keep each and every pet they randomly found in the yard, and she welcomed them with open arms. This was the antithesis of their “real” mom!
Now was the time to work on their nonfiction abilities. All of my children have struggled in this regard. They enjoy making up stories, rather than researching and writing a factual account, so I came up with a purpose, a family newsletter. This was a combination of factual writing, as well as poetry and interviews. Thus, the “Cousin’s Newsletter” was born. There were cousin contributors: Katie from Texas, Marie and George from Tennessee, Kathleen from Virginia, and Christina and Neal from Florida. Four of the children were homeschoolers and two were not so there was a nice mix of school and home types of articles. This was in the ‘90s when computers were just becoming household words and there were still lots of copying and pasting manually to get pretty borders and print out copies that were then mailed to all the family members. It was quite a project so we strove to complete two Cousin Newsletters per year.
Still fiction was a favorite and years later my daughter Christina and I went on to write three novels together. I felt that Christina was one of those people with a story in her blood! Fast forward to the future and now Christina is homeschooling her little ones. She balked at the idea of using any writing program with her little ones, but then was presented with an opportunity to review Writeshop’s primary curriculum; here is what she had to say:
“I recently had the opportunity to use WriteShop Primary (Book A) written by Nancy I. Sanders with my first and second graders. This writing program was well organized and effectively incorporated many of the foundational writing concepts that I wanted them to become proficient in utilizing while still in their formative years. My girls especially enjoyed the layout and presentation of the activity worksheets, while I appreciated that they were learning the basics of writing in a fun and relaxed setting.
Imagination is something my children are not lacking, however, before using this program, their stories or papers often lacked structure and flow. This book offered a brainstorming section in which they organized their thoughts and even an editing and revising section, which allowed them to analyze their own writing with my guidance. Each activity set was well presented and organized, which allowed me to easily grasp what was going to be covered each day. Overall, both my children and I enjoyed using this program and look forward to continuing with it throughout the school year.”
Catch our reluctant writers episode with Kim Kautzer, the contributor and executive editor of Writeshop Primary. You’ll enjoy hearing how to identify reluctant writers, as well as gain practical tools and tips from Kim.
Do your children have writing struggles? Or do you have great advice for us on ways you encourage your children to write? I’d love to hear from you.