4 Tips to Help Your Reluctant Writer - Writing is one of those subjects that can be DREADFUL if you aren't sure how to teach it. And being a writer makes it worse. Here's a way to ease the pain!

4 Tips to Help Your Reluctant Writer

Overview: Writing is one of those subjects that can be DREADFUL if you aren’t sure how to teach it. And being a writer can make it worse because it’s hard to relate to their reluctance. If you have a reluctant writer, here are some tips to ease the pain!

Homeschooling is a wonderful educational model which allows us to meet our kids where they are at, to give them an individualized education, and to make learning more fun. It’s a proven model, and the success rates of homeschoolers are high. According to the National Home Education Research Institute, the average homeschooled student scores 15-42 points higher on standardized tests, scores above the national average on the SAT and ACT, and is being actively recruited by colleges.

But what about when you have a child who is struggling in an area rather than excelling? What’s a homeschool mom to do when her son is a reluctant writer?

4 Tips to Help Your Reluctant Writer - Writing is one of those subjects that can be DREADFUL if you aren't sure how to teach it. And being a writer makes it worse. Here's a way to ease the pain!

Writing has long been a subject that my boys have struggled to master which is ironic when you think about the fact that I am a writer!

When they were younger, they didn’t even want to hold a pencil in their hand. Hands-on, active lessons have always been way more popular in our homeschool than written ones. And when my boys were younger, that really wasn’t a problem. Boys learn better when they’re allowed to be more active, anyway.

But at some point, it’s important for our sons to be able to:

  • Communicate in the written language
  • Pick up a pencil and jot down their thoughts
  • Write book reports and essays
  • Write letters to grandma
  • Write love letters to their spouse someday, etc.

My boys have often rebelled when I asked them to write even a short paragraph, let alone a paper. They weren’t shy about communicating verbally. And they were fine with my using the Charlotte Mason narration method to write down their thoughts. But when I would ask them to write down what they were thinking, our lessons would often dissolve into angry words or a fountain of tears – from them AND from me!

I knew this situation wasn’t good. I knew my boys would need to have at least some level of writing skills in order to be successful in life. So, once they were a little bit older yet still struggling in this area, I knew I needed to try to get them past their aversion to writing.

We’ve tried many different writing programs in the past with varying levels of success. But nothing really stuck. Nothing seemed to help them break through their writing block barrier and make writing less of an aversion for them.

Fortunately, the most recent writing program we’ve tried has really helped them to break through their writing block. We’ve been using it since this fall and I’ve seen great strides in my sons’ writing. In fact, one of my sons started a blog a few months ago and has committed to writing a new blog post every week. I haven’t had to nag him about doing this writing, either. This is his project. He has been very self-motivated.

4 Tips to Help Your Reluctant Writer - Writing is one of those subjects that can be DREADFUL if you aren't sure how to teach it. And being a writer makes it worse. Here's a way to ease the pain!

So, how in the world has my son moved from a reluctant writer to an eager writer? It has been a slow process; however, there are 4 things I’ve learned which have been key for helping my son overcome his distaste for writing.

4 Tips to Help Your Reluctant Writer:

1 – Don’t Push Too Hard

Seriously, I started worrying about writing when my boys were really young. I shouldn’t have pushed it so hard in the beginning. I’ve since learned that whenever your kids hit a wall, it’s best to back off a little bit and give them some space. Don’t insist on breaking through that barrier by the end of the year. Some kids take longer to mature than others and not all kids are ready to tackle the same material at the same age. It’s more important that you keep the experience positive and help your child to maintain his confidence than that you push him and cause him to feel burned out or to think that he’s a failure.

2 – Find the Right Program

I am being compensated for my time, but I purchased this product myself and I chose to write about this product because it has had a positive impact on my own sons.  

This tip is important. All of our kids learn differently. We need to try different resources until we find the materials that are going to work with our unique children. Like I mentioned above, the program which has been the most beneficial for my reluctant writers has been WriteShop I/II. I think the most beneficial aspect of these materials is that they take all of the guesswork out of writing.

4 Tips to Help Your Reluctant Writer - Writing is one of those subjects that can be DREADFUL if you aren't sure how to teach it. And being a writer makes it worse. Here's a way to ease the pain!

Each lesson has a very specific focus such as teaching about paired adjectives, present participles, conducting an interview, etc. WriteShop I/II starts each lesson with pre-writing activities that we’re able to do together.

Here is the process:

  • I get out our large whiteboard
  • We brainstorm as a group
  • We practice writing a paragraph together
  • My boys shout out suggestions while I write them out on the whiteboard.

These sessions usually end up being fairly silly and lighthearted, which is a good thing. We want to convey that writing is fun, after all.

β†’ Related Content: Smart Kids Who Hate to Write: Figuring Out What’s Going On!

After that, my boys feel more confident completing the independent parts of the lesson and writing their own paragraphs. They have also learned how to edit their own work confidently by using the checklists which are included as part of the lessons. The step-by-step process has been extremely beneficial for helping to build my sons’ writing confidence.

4 Tips to Help Your Reluctant Writer - Writing is one of those subjects that can be DREADFUL if you aren't sure how to teach it. And being a writer makes it worse. Here's a way to ease the pain!

3 – Allow Them to Write About Their Interests

If I were trying to force my son to blog about classic literature, I can guarantee it wouldn’t happen. I’ve tried to encourage my son to blog in the past. But until he came up with the idea “on his own” and also chose the subject matter, it didn’t happen. There’s something almost magical about allowing our kids to pursue their interests. Suddenly, they’re using their free time, they’re writing during their lunch break, and they’re coming up with blog post ideas on the weekend. I can’t emphasize this point strongly enough!

4 Tips to Help Your Reluctant Writer - Writing is one of those subjects that can be DREADFUL if you aren't sure how to teach it. And being a writer makes it worse. Here's a way to ease the pain!

4 – Stay Positive

When our children struggle to learn something, it’s easy to get frustrated by their seeming lack of progress or to feel as though we have somehow failed as a parent. Try to stay positive. If you refuse to give up on your kids they will probably surprise you… when they’re ready. Remember that sometimes it takes a while to click. But once they’ve matured enough, all of the seeds you’ve been planting will suddenly blossom.

This principle is true for any subject in which our child struggles. When we’re willing to be patient, to find the right program, to have some say in the way it is carried out, and to be positive, our child’s chances of being successful are much greater.

If your child is a reluctant writer, I highly recommend you check out WriteShop I/II. Not only have they helped my sons to take a giant leap forward in their writing, but they have actually made writing become one of our favorite homeschool subjects rather than one that we dread.

4 Tips to Help Your Reluctant Writer - Writing is one of those subjects that can be DREADFUL if you aren't sure how to teach it. And being a writer makes it worse. Here's a way to ease the pain!
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Do you have any reluctant writers at your house? What tips have you learned along the way which have helped your kids to become more willing to write? I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below.

19 thoughts on “4 Tips to Help Your Reluctant Writer”

  1. It always makes me happy when writing begins to click for a child. I have to say I’m most impressed with your son’s blogging. Clearly, his love for basketball has inspired him to write buckets about the game. How fabulous is that? And I couldn’t help but notice how many of his WriteShop skills and sentence variations have seeped into his writing. Love that the tools he gained in his lessons have played out in such a practical way. After all, that’s where the rubber that meets the road!

    Thanks for such an encouraging post, Michelle.

  2. This is a really encouraging post, thank you Michelle. My youngest son is not a huge fan of writing although he has the most amazing stories in his head. He has improved a lot in handwriting but only likes to write in small doses, so sometimes we do dictation. This school year I have decided to not do a formal language arts programme but rather through his Apologia Astronomy work that he is doing for science, we can cover a lot of that as well as other projects he is doing. So far it is working for him as I think he feels the pressure is off. Like your boys Michelle, he would rather be doing hands on activities.
    Well done too on your son with his blog, I am impressed and excited for him.
    Many blessings to you and your family,
    Fiona

    1. I’m glad I was able to be encouraging to you, Fiona. It’s good that you’ve figured out a method that works with your son! And thanks for stopping by! It’s always good to hear from you. πŸ™‚

  3. My older boys are also reluctant writers. I love learning more about Write Shop & its benefits. We will be investigating for next year! Thanks for sharing your tips & experiences:)

  4. I have a very reluctant writer too. He’s 8, so I’m not trying to pressure him yet, but I also would love to see him get excited about writing. He is such a fun, interactive kid with a great imagination, and he is a great storyteller verbally. This program looks just like what we need! Thanks for sharing!

    1. You’re welcome, Christie! You’re right about not pressuring him, yet. But if you can give him good tools so that writing isn’t such a struggle, that’s a WIN-WIN for sure. πŸ™‚

      1. By the way, at what age did you teach them cursive? And how did it go? I was just reading your post about dysgraphia again, and am wondering how that’s going to go for my son because I suspect he has that condition.

        1. I’ve heard a couple of different theories about teaching cursive. One is that you should start right away when they’re really young and their learn it more easily. The other is to wait a bit. I chose to wait a bit and focus on printing instead – rather than completely confuse my boys by throwing cursive at them. When we did attempt cursive, we used the Handwriting Without Tears materials, by the way. Anyway, my boys were around 3rd grade when we started…

  5. I’m definitely gonna look at Write Shop I/II. My son is really enthusiastic about storytelling and writing (he especially likes to write about our pets).
    Thank you for sharing.

  6. Noemi U. Nacario

    Hi, I am a shadow teacher of a 10 years old boy since he was 4 years old, he has ADHD, dysgraphia, ODD and behavior problem. I don’t have any ideas how to encourage him to write. If I tell him to practice writing he will just answer, “no need because I can just command the computer and the computer will write for me”. I really don’t know what to do because if I force him to write he will cry, throw things and he’s hitting me. Even the parents will be the one to sit with him and let him write, he will write only for a few words but with tears on his face. We did talked and encourage him in many ways but still the same. He is smart in other aspect like reading. He has a good reading comprehension, good in Math and Science but during writing he don’t really like it. In fact the whole year 5 students he was the highest in terms of examination. I hope someone can help me here. Thank you so much and GOD BLESS..

    1. Oh, Noemi, I’m so sorry to hear about your student’s struggles. It definitely sounds like he’s overwhelmed but at age 10 he shouldn’t be throwing things or hitting you. If you’d like to help him learn healthier ways to deal with his emotions, perhaps look into this amazing Mindful Kids series by Usborne Books & More. Especially this one: https://n8197.myubam.com/p/8476/be-positive

      Also, I always found with my sons that it helped to find something they loved so that I could motivate them in a positive way. Do 10 minutes of writing and get half an hour of X. Work up to the writing and reward him profusely for his efforts. I hope this helps!

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