How to Help Reluctant Writers, Interview with Kat Patrick

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Help Reluctant Writers, Interview with Kat Patrick.

How to Help Reluctant Writers, Interview with Kat Patrick. How to build your teen's confidence for writing.

How to Help Reluctant Writers, Interview with Kat Patrick

Some teens are born writers. Many are not. Today our friend, Kat Patrick of Dreaming Spires Home Learning shares tips for building confidence and getting unstuck for teens who do not like writing.

Kat, who was born in Texas but married an Oxford professor and lived in England for twenty-five years, has been with us for three episodes already:

And Kat’s daughter, Lauren Patrick joined us right before she headed off to her freshman year at Mt. Holyoke University

Some of Kat’s teens have been enthusiastic writers but some were reluctant writers. Kat has used Charlotte Mason’s phases of developing a happy writer in helping her reluctant writers. Here are the phases as Kat teaches them in seminars and in her Dreaming Spires courses:

Got a reluctant writer? Build confidence by learning  in phases. - Kat Patrick

What do I mean by writing?

  • Handwriting is the first stage.
    • Believe it or not, this is so important. It helps develop the brain and skills in capturing words.
      • As Vicki points out that when she is working with her counseling clients, she tells them that handwriting a gratitude list actually helps some of the calm-down parts of the brain.
      • Kat points out that this skill also helps develop attention and memorization along with picturing words in their heads
      • It also helps develop vocabulary and sentence-creation skills
    • You can use copywork to develop this skill.
      • Copy quotes by hand
      • Copy Scripture by hand
      • Copy poetry by hand

Reading and telling back what you are reading is important to good writing

  • Kat recommends a book Know and Tell by Karen Glass that helps explain this skills
  • Teens can read and explain their reading to their mom.
  • This will help them build comprehension and inferential skills.
  • It also helps teens learn to capture their thoughts in a non-threatening way.

Then begin to write these ideas on in a jotting sort of way

  • Just jot ideas from on paper with no stress, no rules
  • Eventually, mom can ask for 150 words, then 200, etc
  • Then use this as the basis for a composition

Eventually, teens will learn to use these skills for composition

  • Ask teens to identify their audience
  • Ask teens to understand the format or genre of their composition
  • A good composition to start with is letter writing
  • Then write a journalistic/newspaper style article
    • You write a who-what-when-where-why type paragraph to start
    • Fill in interesting details afterwards
    • Try out a news feature followed by a lifestyle feature
    • You can use a pro-forma/template to simply plug in the details to get your teens started
  • Move onto the five-paragraph essay
    • Check out’s Introductory Guide to Essay Writing to get your teens started with these essays.
      • 7Sisters Writing guides take reluctant writers step-by-step through their first essays. Teens tell us the guides really help them learn the skills and gain confidence in their ability to write.
    • If a teen gets excited about essays, have them write about something they are passionate about.
      • Ask them to write an essay that is as long as they wish (much more than five paragraphs)
      • Kat explains that her formerly reluctant writer son has written long essays about:
        • Japanese jazz
        • Characters that he is impressed with in the books he is reading

Kat invites everyone to check out Dreaming Spires Home Learning. Dreaming Spires uses a college-model for education, with live classes once per week and assignments that last the rest of the week. Kat has students from around the world using the Charlotte Mason method for homeschooling high school. Classes this year include:

  • Literature
  • Composition
  • World Languages
  • Advanced Algebra and Probability
  • Sciences
  • History
  • Art History and Appreciation
  • Bible

Join Vicki and Kat for some practical tips for developing writing skills in reluctant writers!


  1. Follow this link to our Apple Podcasts page.
  2. OR take this IMPORTANT STEP: Under our Homeschool Highschool Podcast logo, click on View in “…your favorite podcast source”
  3. This will take you to Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast source and our own podcast page.
  4. Click SUBSCRIBE.
  5. Click RATINGS AND REVIEW. (Please take a minute and do this. It helps others find us. Thanks!)
  6. Thanks!


  1. Tap the purple Podcast icon on your phone
  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
  5. Tap *Subscribe*
  6. Please tap *Ratings and Review*

How to Help Reluctant Writers, Interview with Kat Patrick

An Author Teaches Her Kids to Write

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

An author Teaches Her Kids to Write | a WriteShop Review by Felice Gerwitz

An author Teaches Her Kids to Write | a WriteShop Review by Felice Gerwitz

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. I love the well-written writing program that 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.

Help for When Your Child Doesn’t Like Language Arts

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Help for When Your Child Doesn't Like Language Arts: The Homeschool Sanity Show Podcast

You may be concerned if your student resists reading, writing, and all things English. Reading in particular is the best predictor of a child’s future success—not just in school, but in life. If that’s your situation, I have help. You can get your child interested in language arts.

Join me on Periscope or become a member of the HomeschoolScopes community on Facebook.

Teaching Tip of the Week

Answers for Kids from  Answers in Genesis Bookstore

Organized Homeschool Challenge of the Week

The Charity Challenge


5 Days to Your Child Becoming a Better Reader

5 Days to Your Child Becoming a Better Reader

Grammar Galaxy Language Arts

Grammar Galaxy Language Arts

Free Funny Fall Writing Prompts

Free Funny Fall Writing Prompts

10 Minutes of Language Arts Kids Love

Caught Ya, Grammar with a Giggle

The Ultimate List of FREE Grammar Games

The Ultimate List of Free Grammar Games

This Week’s Action Steps

  1. Determine why your child doesn’t like language arts
  2. Address your child’s specific problem
  3. Model reading and writing for your child

If you found this podcast helpful, I would be thrilled if you would rate it on iTunes and share the sanity.

Next week

We’ll discuss help for the anxious homeschooler.

Have a happy homeschool week!

Tips for Reluctant Writers | WriteShop

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Are you ready for REAL help to motivate your reluctant writer? Want fabulous tips from author and publisher, Kim Kautzer with

Kim shares her five tips as to why students are reluctant to write, as well as hope and practical help to overcome those obstacles.

(Please scroll down. The audio player for this podcast is found at the bottom of this post /page. Thank you!)

Show notes:

  • What is the definition of a reluctant writer?
  • Tips for children who are perfectionists
  • Ways to build confidence in young writers
  • Corrections and Meltdowns- what not to do.
  • Encouragement for writers


Reluctant Writer Round-Up 

“Join WriteShop for our special Reluctant Writer Round-up and find helpful tools to teach your own reluctant writer. We’re sharing our best blog posts, Instagram favorites, and Pins.”

This was a conversation I enjoyed having and know you’ll enjoy listening to!

Download the audio and share this link with your friends. We make it easy via social media with a click of a button.

Visit to learn more about WriteShop curriculum.

Here is a handout just for you to take notes: HANDOUT

Read my review of WriteShop here.

Additional podcasts with Kim Kautzer as a guest on Homeschooling IRL —  I Love Homeschooling but I Hate Teaching Writing

Visit Kim at:





You might also enjoy Kim’s blog posts on helping reluctant writers! Here are some of our favorites:

Why is writing so difficult to teach?

7 reasons kids should brainstorm before writing

8 kid-friendly writing warm-ups that spark creative writing