Overview: Is it even possible to teach a child who hates writing?!? It sure is!!! Here are 5 homeschool tips for kids who don’t like to write.
When our kids hate writing or put up a fuss every time we ask them to pick up a pencil, it can make homeschooling miserable because writing is required for pretty much every single subject except for physical education.
Or is it?!?
What if I told you that there are plenty of ways to teach your child that don’t involve a pencil and paper. Or don’t force your child to sit still with a pencil in his or her hand?
When my sons were young, they hated writing. We went through several years where there were tears and gnashing of teeth when it came time to write things down. It was extremely frustrating and I write about our experience with that in this post: Smart Kids Who Hate to Write
But through that experience, we learned about the joys of hands-on learning. I also came to realize that it was important for me to separate the physical act of writing from the rest of our subjects if I wanted their learning to continue and didn’t want them to think they hated math or spelling or reading simply because there were worksheets associated with them.
Fortunately, over the years we discovered all sorts of ways to keep the learning going for kids who hate to write.
Here are 5 Homeschool Tips for Kids Who Don’t Like to Write:
1 – Dictation
Rather than asking your child to write down all of his or her answers, allow him to verbally respond and you can write things down for him. This is an excellent way to find out what your child actually knows about a topic without having him slowed down by his inability to express himself through the written word. This is an excellent method to use for math, grammar, and any other subject that requires worksheets to be filled out or short answers to be written down.
I used to use this method to create nature journals with my sons when they were very young. We’re fortunate that we live in the country and we have lots of wildlife in our yard. We would go outside and observe various things happening either in the woods or the farm fields near us. Then, we’d come inside and my sons would dictate what they observed and I would write it down for them. They then spent some time drawing their observations. These nature journals have become a treasured family keepsake.
2 – Learn to Type
If the physical act of writing is what’s slowing down your child, then let them learn to type as early as possible. It’s amazing how much more quickly kids can type than they can write. Typing papers rather than writing them by hand helps to free up a child’s mind so that he or she can focus on the content of what they want to say rather than having to focus on the mechanics of writing.
3 – Hands-on Projects
Filling out worksheets and writing papers isn’t the only way for kids to let you know what they’ve learned. They are an infinite number of ways that kids can not only let you know what they know – but can also express themselves creatively.
- Art projects
- Design an invention
- Perform in, film, and edit movies
- Write a song
Find out what your child is interested in and let the subject matter dictate the types of projects that would fit best. If your child is interested in engineering, allow them to build a bridge. If she’s interested in fashion, allow her to draw a design and then sew her creation. Build a trebuchet in the backyard. Let him build a go-cart. The sky’s the limit on this one.
If you think your child would benefit from participating in hands-on lessons but you could use some inspiration, I have some hands-on lessons based on Medieval England for elementary through middle school and a hands-on preschool program as well.
4 – Great discussions
Over 17 years of homeschooling, my sons and I have had some AMAZING discussions. These conversations are priceless and are worth so much more than if I had always asked them to write down their thoughts in the form of a paper. They’ve been a lot more willing to open up verbally than they would have been if I had asked them to write everything down.
There’s a time and a place for writing papers and for book reports. But if we ask our children to write a paper about everything they read, everything they watch, everything they experience we may find that they’re reluctant to read, to watch, and to experience. Kids learn so much from going on field trips. The summary we ask them to write after doesn’t enhance the experience for reluctant writers. It taints. it. Have a discussion about the experience instead. It makes such a difference!
5 – Presentations
A presentation is another great way for reluctant writers to let us know what they’ve learned. Some kids will enjoy giving a speech in front of the family. Some will want to videotape their presentation. Some will want to draw what they’ve learned, and so on.
We are all unique individuals and we all have different areas of strength. Consider letting your child develop those strengths so that he will hone his talents and gifts rather than always working on the areas of weakness. Remember that just because a child hates writing during a certain stage of life doesn’t mean he always will. One of my sons who used to balk every time I asked him to pick up a pencil went on to become an aspiring author! Just because our kids struggle with certain skills for a while doesn’t mean they always will.
The next time you find yourself at odds with your child who is complaining about having to write something down, don’t despair. Get creative and figure out a different way to accomplish whatever it is you are trying to do. Not only will your child learn more from doing this but the atmosphere in your homeschool will be much more pleasant as well. That’s a WIN-WIN for sure!