When Your Homeschooled Child Is A Reluctant Writer

When your child is reluctant to write, homeschooling can become frustrating. Nearly every subject requires writing and the whole day can quickly become a series of frustrating battles when writing is a challenge. So what’s a homeschooling mom to do when your child hates writing?

First, take a deep breath. It’s totally possible to homeschool your child without a writing curriculum. There are lots of awesome fun ways to practice writing with your kids at home. 

There are all kinds of real-world ideas your kids will love and games that make writing fun again. Keep reading to discover my favorite stealthy ways to practice writing skills and help your reluctant writers overcome their frustration this year. 

When your child is reluctant to write, homeschooling can become frustrating. Nearly every subject requires writing and the whole day can quickly become a series of frustrating battles when writing is a challenge. So what’s a homeschooling mom to do when your child hates writing? Let me help you!

When Your Child Resists Your Homeschool Writing Program 

What do you do when your child resists your homeschool writing program? What if you feel like you’ve tried everything and they still dread writing? That’s where we were with our writing program.

It didn’t matter what we used, Emily just didn’t like writing. She fought against it at every turn. Even the programs that claimed “no tears” resulted in a battle of wills that often ended in tears of frustration. 

Part of the problem was Emily’s own struggles with perfectionism. Plus, much of the writing practice in our homeschool curriculum seemed pointless. It was hard for her to see the point, which just made her even more reluctant to try.

I had to get really creative to think of ways to encourage writing in our homeschool. Traditional writing programs weren’t working for us. Instead, we came up with real-world ways to practice writing skills and fun ideas for learning writing without a curriculum.

Fun Ways To Practice Writing In Your Homeschool Without A Curriculum

Once I gave myself permission to put the formal writing program down, I discovered a world of writing possibilities! There are so many fun ways to practice writing in your homeschool without a curriculum.

Strewing for Writing

Strewing is all about providing opportunities for your homeschoolers to explore and learn independently. Teachers and parents don’t give instructions or corrections when strewing. Instead, it’s all about giving your homeschoolers the opportunity to explore writing without pressure and with a whole lot of fun! Here’s some of our favorite writing stuff to strew in our homeschool:

            

 

Pretend Play 

You can practice handwriting and other important early writing skills through pretend play. Sneaking writing in this way is a great way to help young homeschoolers overcome their fears about writing and discover how fun it can be to write things down.

Check out some of my favorite pretend play packs to help your homeschoolers practice handwriting today. This engaging dramatic play center bundle includes lots of early writing opportunities as your homeschoolers learn and play at the Dentist’s Office, The Fire Station, and the Zoo.

Mail Time Monday 

On Mondays, we sit down together and read our letters. Then, we take time to respond to cards from friends and pen pal letters. This is something I started with Emily a few years ago and it has become one of our favorite activities. 

Does your homeschooler have a pen pal? Adopting a pen pal is a great way to encourage reluctant writers to explore letter writing. You can find a pen pal program or trade letters with a cousin who lives in a different city or state. 

You can take it a step further by choosing a pen pal that doesn’t live nearby. Then, you’ll get to experience learning about a different geographical location or culture too. 

If you’d like to see what Mailtime Monday looks like in our homeschool be sure to watch this video.

Journaling

Keeping a journal is another fun way you can encourage your homeschoolers to embrace writing. Journals can include lots of pictures, art, and momentos. Your child may include a lot more art and doodles in their entries than writing. 

However much or little writing they choose to do, it’s an opportunity to practice the skill in a way that’s low-pressure to prevent frustration. You can also use journaling to check for comprehension and help improve retention after a field trip or homeschool project. 

Making Lists

Making lists is an easy way to encourage handwriting practice with your homeschoolers. Your kids can begin with something as simple as a grocery list or a list of gift ideas for an upcoming birthday. Making lists with bright colorful pens or pencils or using special paper can help make this activity even more fun for your homeschoolers. 

You can add making lists to pretend play too. A pretend trip to the grocery store or pretending to work as a waiter or waitress at a restaurant. Have your child write your pretend food order on special “restaurant paper” for extra writing practice and lots of fun.

Thank You Cards

Learning to write great thank you cards is an important skill. You can encourage gratitude and help your kids master this skill with practice at home. We began writing thank you cards for birthday gifts together as a fun way to practice our handwriting and express thanks to family and friends.

With young children, you can begin by writing “Thank you for the doll” inside a blank thank you card with a  highlighter. Then, have your child trace your words in pencil for handwriting practice. Older homeschoolers can practice writing more specific thank you notes independently.

Games That Encourage Writing

There are so many awesome games that encourage writing! If you a kid who loves games then why not use them to encourage them to write more? Here are a few of our favorite games for encouraging creative writing in our homeschool:

            

 

More Ideas For Learning Without A Homeschool Curriculum 

In addition to all these fun ways to practice writing without a standard curriculum, you might choose to embrace typing in place of writing for some activities. Handwriting is important, but if your goal is to teach creative writing skills, learn about different writing styles, or practice writing essays, typing might be the answer.

Instead of fighting your reluctant writer, embrace the keyboard and tackle writing skills that aren’t directly handwriting related with programs like Night Zookeeper. You can read more about how we use Night Zookeeper and all the fun we’ve had making writing magical with this fun program.

Once you give yourself permission to step away from the worksheets and homeschool curriculum to embrace learning in new ways, you’ll be surprised at how your reluctant writer goes from frustration to excitement. There are so many awesome real-world ways to practice important writing skills with your homeschoolers with just a little bit of creativity and a whole lot of fun!

Looking for ways to homeschool without a curriculum for math and language arts? Check out my favorite ways to teach these important subjects without a traditional curriculum too:

What’s your favorite way to add writing practice to your homeschool day? Share how you’re encouraging your own reluctant writers in the comment section, so we can try your favorite writing activities in our homeschool too.


5 Comments

  1. I’m really struggling with my 5th grade son. Getting him to write is so difficult. I have tried Night Zookeeper and he has complained that it is too “above” him. I’m going to give it another go and try the Monday morning mail and to get him to write to family members and friends. I think including art into the writing will help. I loved all of your ideas. They are great stepping off points that I can easily use in my homeschool. Thank you for taking the time to provide this information. It is priceless! I wish you much success on your homeschool journey. All of us moms know that not every day is easy but it is always worth it. Much love to you. ♥️

  2. This is exactly what I needed to read today! I’ve been struggling to get my children to love writing and this might just help!! Thank you!

  3. We started a magazine to send to friends and family! They tell me what they want it to say, I write it out, then they copy it into the magazine. Also, they write their own REAL grocery list of items to cross off when we do our shopping. I used to think of it as ‘cheating’ when my kiddo would search around to copy the spelling for the word he wanted, but now I realize it’s basically the same as copy work and he feels more independent doing it this way. He is still learning how to spell and becoming resourceful for the words that he can’t sound out on his own. He recently wrote his own short research paper by copying words he needed from an article on a topic for his magazine!

  4. I am a new to homeschooling. I started teaching my third grade son this year and have loved every minute of it. I wanted to thank you for your blogs and tips and unit studies. You have been so beneficial to our wonderful school year!
    Thank you!!! Please keep sharing!

  5. Thank you for this post ! I thought I was the only one struggling at home with this. We also don’t use an specific curriculum, but Montessori inspired education. I find that the movable alphabet is helping her gaining confidence on spelling so hopefully she will enjoy writing as well.

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