Writing Encouragement

When my sons came out of school 8 years ago, one of the big sticking points, particularly for my eldest, was writing. He told me that either he wrote enough for the teacher, but it wasn't neat enough. Or he wrote it neatly, but it wasn't long enough. He would get kept in at playtime to do more writing, and had learned to hate it. So, my first big home ed decision was to back right off on writing. We were not going to have tears and arguments over it. I decided to focus on oral work. We have always enjoyed family read alouds and audio books, and the boys would narrate stories in their own way - often through role play (I remember a week when our living room became Robinson Crusoe's island), or by drawing. My eldest son used to enjoy dictating stories into his MP3 player, and listening to them back. Often I would scribe a narrated story and the 'author' would illustrate it.

Sometimes the boys and I have agreed to do a little writing every day for a time, because their writing has become something they want to improve. I would correct as asked to, but not otherwise, and now computers help with formatting writing, with spelling, punctuation and grammar. These are not things we have taught formally. Honestly, we have done very little over the years.

Now, if you are a home educator, and you worry sometimes about your children's writing, here is the encouraging part of the story .... When they want to write, they write! And their writing isn't at all bad! My oldest son (now 16) was sitting filling out an application form with me last night, perfectly competently. My second oldest (now in school, aged 14) is producing essays for homework, and his writing is OK! And last week, over 3 or 4 days, my third son (almost 12) sat down at the computer and wrote a 3000 word essay on Andy Murray's career - a subject he is passionate about. And his writing style is lovely. So, be encouraged. Follow your heart and your children - and relax!