You don’t have to plan “creative writing” lessons. Just set the stage for writing lessons, plain ones. If creativity comes along, nurture it, but don’t worry if it doesn’t seem to be here today….
Forget about pushing for creativity. Just get the child to practice writing, so he’ll be ready for the day when he does have something in his head that he wants to express.
The Language Wars and Other Writings for Homeschoolers by Ruth Beechick
Writing/grammar/language arts tends to be one of those gumbo areas for homeschoolers — rather like math. We throw every curriculum available at it and are never really satisfied with the results.
A great writer isn’t going to pop out of that expensive curriculum. (Or if one does, one was going to pop out anyway.)
The Key to Writing
The following “ladder of creativity” is adapted from the one explained in Dr. Ruth Beechick’s Language Wars and Other Writings for Homeschoolers and will help you in your task to build that writing habit in your children.
The key is writing every day. When your child doesn’t have anything to write, you can pull an idea from this ladder (depending on where he is in his maturity and ability) to keep him going.
- These points are not necessarily sequential. Older children can (and should) copy. Young children should converse.
- To have an output, you must have an input. Make sure reading is a large part of your homeschool environment.
- Don’t force a child to be creative. Creativity will happen on its own, and will likely suffer if forced.
Ladder of Creativity in Writing
We start copywork by copying our letters. We can then move on to sentences, and finally a paragraph or two. Have your child copy Bible passages, favorite poems, or short selections from his favorite fiction books or nonfiction interests.
Some moms like to have a child copy a work before writing it from dictation. Others prefer to dictate the piece and have the child correct it. Either works, as long as the child does not find the exercise frustrating. Avoid those passages that contain unusual spelling or punctuation. Once the passage has been dictated, the child should correct his own work, looking for proper spelling and punctuation.
We learn so much more about what we have read when we share it with someone. That sharing tends to make the work stick. Discussion can start with a simple retelling of something a child has read — an oral narration — followed by an interaction with you. Once the mind has worked on a piece and the child can orally narrate a work, he will be much better prepared for future written narrations or retellings.
Whereas copywork, dictation, and narration have an element of imitation, writing creatively retains a more personal element. The foundation laid in the first three levels provides a natural path for the fourth.
Keep these four levels of creativity in writing in the back of your mind, so that the next time your child finds himself without anything to write, you can continue to lay a strong writing foundation.
Language Arts the Natural Way
Practical tips for narration, copywork, and dictation.