Getting Teens Interested in Writing

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Getting Teens Interested in Writing.

Getting Teens Interested in Writing. Fun ways to ease your teen into becoming more interested and confident in their writing skills!

Getting Teens Interested in Writing

A lot of teens have either had not much experience writing, or they have had negative or overwhelming experiences with writing. So by the time they get to high school, they are just like, Gee, writing. 

How about if we reconstruct writing for our homeschool high schoolers, especially for those who have had those negative experiences or are inexperienced in writing? Let’s reconstruct things for them, so they can learn to write and communicate through writing in a way they actually feel successful in! They just might even enjoy and have fun with it! 

Wouldn’t that be cool?

Wouldn’t that be nice if your teen graduates from homeschool high school and feels confident in their high school writing skills? 

How To Get Your Teens Interested In Writing

First, know that there’s not just one right way to homeschool high school, and there’s not one right way to get writing done. But if we want to reconstruct high school writing and get teens interested, here are some ideas that could help. 

BTW- for more information on goals and grading for writing in homeschool high school, check out this episode.

Start With A Growth Mindset

A lot of times, those teens who come in with the self-doubt or negative writing experience say “writing’s dumb” or “I’m dumb” or “I can’t write.” And because of that, they have a block already about writing. They don’t believe their writing can be successful. 

A growth mindset gives them more confidence. So, instead of saying “I’m bad at writing” or “I hate writing,” they learn to say “I’m not a great writer yet, but I’m learning to be.” Or 

“I’m not there yet, but I’m learning that word, and I’m going to get there.” 

Change the perspective. Adjust the shutdown from “I can’t do this” or “I’m bad at this” to “I’m not there yet, but I’m going to get there.” That change gives teens confidence. It rewires their brain away from shutdown to possibility. Just changing a few words can help them. 

“You’re not there yet, but you’re going to get there.” Say it for them. Work it out with them. Then help them practice that in their writing. It will really help. 

Make Assignments Short and Simple

Another way to get teens interested in high school writing is by making assignments short and simply. Rather than give an inexperienced writer a 10-page research paper and tell them to go for it, and make them follow APA-style down to the letter, pull things back and make assignments short and simple.

Give them materials to work with that are little itsy bitsy bites like in psychology. We call it successive approximations. You take baby steps. One step, and then the next step, and then the next step. And then the next step. One step builds on another. And before you know it, they are capable of doing so much more, and they believe they can too.

So make assignments short and simple. And as often as possible, make them interesting or even fun. They can build on that, and they will go so much more quickly and successfully into the more detailed stuff.

Use Dictation Abilities

Some teens with special needs or who have so much self-doubt in themselves may need to make those early writing steps even easier, such as dictation abilities.

You can:

  • Have them dictate to you
  • Use tools like Dragon Dictation
  • Use voice-to-text

Once their words are in writing, they can do a little formatting and start to feel empowered. 

Try a progressive story for fun and inspiration

Write Together

Another way to get teens interested in writing is by writing together. For example, you can create a progressive story together. 

A progressive story begins with one person starting with a sentence. Then the next person adds on to that sentence, adding to the story. And on and on it goes. One sentence for one person. The sentences build upon each other, creating a story.

  • For example, the first person starts it off with the first sentence. 
    • “Once upon a time, there was a girl named Sally, and she lived in the woods.” 
  • Then you stop after that sentence, and the next person adds to it. 
    • “Sally went for a picnic one day and all of a sudden a big bear came.” 
  • And then the next person adds to it. 
    • “And the bear wanted her picnic and Sally was terrified.”
  • Next the last person says the last sentence.
    • “So Sally tickled the bear, and he ran away. “
  • Then that’s the end of that story. 

Progressive stories like that are silly and nonsensical, but what it gets teens doing is thinking in their creative part of their brain. (And it’s actually the problem-solving part of the brain too!)

These are a few ways to get your teens interested in writing in their homeschool high school years. Start small, and then once they have a little confidence with that, you can give them something a tad bit tougher and start building on that. As you do this, watch their high school writing skills bloom along with their confidence.

Join Vicki for some fun with getting teens interested in writing.

For more inspiration on writing:

Thanks to Richie Soares for help with the post and Seth Tillman for editing the podcast.

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Ten Terrific Reasons to Teach Tall Tale Writing to Teens

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Ten Terrific Reasons to Teach Tall Tale Writing to Teens.

Top Ten Reasons to Teach Tall Tale Writing to Teens

Ten Terrific Reasons to Teach Tall Tale Writing to Teens

Why shouldn’t high school writing assignments be fun? Let’s have fun with tall tales!

Vicki was raised in Texas back in the olden days. In those early days of television there wasn’t much to watch. So in the evenings, neighbors would join together in the backyard. The kids would chase lightening bugs, watch the jack rabbits and listen to the grownups tell tall tales. Tall tales about Pecos Bill, mostly (being Texas and Pecos Bill was Texan, of course) but also, Paul Bunyan, John Henry and larger than life characters.

So Vicki grew up loving tall tales and taught them to her kids, then to our co-ops and homeschool group classes. We told the tales AND then made up our own tall tale characters and stories. Vicki thinks teaching tall tales to teens is a terrific idea!

Here are ten terrific reasons for teaching tall tale writing to your homeschool high schoolers:

Teens will thank you for this!

Tall tale writing is a great tie-in to your American History studies

Tall tale writing and reading brings to life the culture and traditions of the Old West. Check out a book on tall tales at the library or choose some stories from this website:

American Folklore

Or some classic YouTubes:

There’s a movie tie-in

Have you ever seen the movie Tall Tale? It’s a fun movie that features some favorite tall-tale characters: Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, John Henry. Log a few fun, inspirational hours for your American History class by:

  • Watching the movie Tall Tale
  • Wiscussing the larger-than-life characters
  • Discussing the “Code of the West” (Should we modern Americans have some sort of “Code”, ourselves?)

Teens need to know the original superheroes: the tall tale heros

Pecos Bill was a cowboy who rode a tornado and a huge black horse named Widowmaker. He could shoot the trigger fingers off the bad guys so they couldn’t harm the local citizens! He was rough and tough and always good.

Paul Bunyan was a lumberjack. He had a HUGE blue ox named Babe. He could eat pancakes so big that the griddle required buttering by other lumberjacks with huge butter pats tied onto their feet. They’d ice skate around the griddle to get it ready for pancake batter. He was NO nonsense but very good.

John Henry worked the building railroads. He was a mighty steel driver with a huge and mighty hammer. No one could hold a candle to his strength and speed! He was honest and unstoppable.

These original American heroes were the role models for our American superheroes like Superman, Spiderman, Black Panther and all the Marvel gang. They are strong and good and look out for others.

Tall tales help teens understand our American cultural roots

Tall tale heroes are a sort of American archetype: fictional larger than life versions of ourselves. We Americans want to see ourselves as:

  • Good
  • Brave
  • Standing up for the little guy
  • Doing what is honorable and right

This is exactly what the tall tale characters were (along with being silly and sometimes foolish). When we go back and study and respect these original American icons, it helps us decide how we want to live out these American values. It is an excellent discussion for teens, co-ops and homeschool group classes. How do we as individuals live out American ideals such as goodness, bravery, standing up for the little guy, acting honorably and righteously?

Tall tales are fun to hear and write. #7SistersHomeschool #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #TallTales

Writing tall tales is a good creative writing project for teens

While there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school, we 7Sisters have guided our teens to have four kinds of writing each year:

  • Essays
  • Research Papers
  • Short stories (creative writing)
  • Poetry (creative writing)

One of the most fun and useful kinds of short story writing assignments is tall tales! Tall tale writing is a fantastic way to write a short story because you can’t really do it wrong. No matter how silly it might be, it fits the genre (I mean, really, who rides a tornado- how silly! If it’s good enough for Pecos Bill, it will work for your teens).

Writing tall tales is fun to do individually and even more fun in a group!

Check out these posts that give terrific tips for tall tale writing in your homeschool co-op or group classes.

Writing tall tales is easy because 7Sisters has a step-by-step curriculum that teens love

Check out 7Sisters popular Tall Tale Writing Guide which gives daily assignments for writing a terrific, true-to-form tall tale! Each lesson is fun and non-threatening and builds writing success skills.

Teens tell us they feel so encouraged when they finish their tall tale

Over and over through the years, teens who were intimidated by writing (especially creative writing) have told us that when they finished their Tall Tales Writing Guide, they felt SO excited. They didn’t know they were creative writers, but once it was non-threatening and fun, their creative souls were unleashed. Tall tale writing has been such a confidence booster for many teens!

Tall tale studying and writing can become a tradition that your teens can pass onto their kids someday

Part of the wonder of tall tales is the passing down of stories from generation to generation. Perhaps your teens will tell their kids about Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, John Henry and the Code of the West…and maybe their OWN tall tales!

Join Vicki for a quick and fun chat about Tall Tales and Teens!

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  4. Click SUBSCRIBE.
  5. Click RATINGS AND REVIEW. (Please take a minute and do this. It helps others find us. Thanks!)
  6. Thanks!

OR PLEASE SUBSCRIBE VIA iPHONE

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  2. Tap the search icon on the bottom-right of your screen
  3. In the search bar type: Homeschool Highschool Podcast
  4. Tap the Homeschool Highschool Podcast icon
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Ten Terrific Reasons to Teach Tall Tale Writing to Teens