Term 2 in Victoria is seeing most school children doing school work from home. I’ve heard a lot from parents complaining that their children are struggling to write while at home.
Over the years I’ve been working with young writers, including my own children, and homeschooling my own kids on and off, here are some of the things I’ve learned:
- It can be hard to come up with a story idea and write the words down, especially for younger children who are still learning to write
- Some children struggle with writing pieces that don’t have a clear formula, such as creative writing. They prefer writing to a formula such as a persuasive or instructional piece.
- Not all kids know how to use their imagination to create a story. This is where imaginative play is helpful, but converting imaginative play into a story is easier for some kids than others.
- Not all topics are ones that kids can think of story ideas for, they may need a bit of extra help.
Sometimes, all it takes is a bit of gentle encouragement to get things happening, if that doesn’t work, here are some things you can try:
- Talk through the topic with your child and take notes with some of the ideas your child comes up with
- Set small goals, based on time or story length. Some kids have energy for small amounts of time, rather than sitting for a long time
- Rewards can be used, if needed, when the story is finished
- Play around with different writing prompts so your child can have fun, write something silly, and realise that they CAN write a story
- If your child is getting too worked up by the exercise, take a break and come back to it later
As an author, many of these are things that I do myself when I’m stuck with a piece of writing. I will pick up the phone and talk through the story with a friend, I set small goals so I can see progress, I reward myself when a draft is done (often with a cup of tea), when I’m really stuck, I will play with some fun writing to remind myself why I write, and, as a final resort, I will take a break and come back to the story at another time.
Doing school from home during these strange time can be challenging for everyone. If you can have fun with creative writing, it will make things more enjoyable.
If you have any questions about getting your child writing, send me an email and I may be able to help.