I love writing. Unfortunately, my love for writing didn’t start until later on in life. Ever since then, I had a passion to help young learners and teenagers develop writing skills. Some of them need to learn to express themselves. Writing helped me express myself when I needed it the most. I hope to encourage people to do the same. My first love for writing came with a Creative Writing course in college.
I wrote this post for Homeschool Giveaways and wanted to share it here as well. I hope you enjoy.
Public schools are under a tremendous amount of pressure and time constraints to teach as much as possible in very little time compared to their student-teacher ratio. This leaves them little to no time at all for real-world skills that cultivate creativity or critical thinking. Although we have the freedom to teach our children, our own way in our homeschools, it can be easy to fall into the trap of creating a data-driven teaching environment.
Many may think that creative writing is a waste of time, but they are sadly mistaken. Sadly, their kids pay the price. Our children spend a lot of time doing things that are dictated for them—by us—the parents. Creative writing encourages kids to move beyond their normal structured learning styles and allows them to experiment with their own voices.
There aren’t many ways a child or teenager can express themselves freely. Ideas and emotions flood their brains, yet unfortunately, there is nowhere for them to put them. With writing, your child can place those thoughts into words with paper and pen. They can lose themselves in the writing and express themselves when they otherwise aren’t able to.
In creative writing, our children can create a whole new universe – create talking unicorns or fly a magic carpet with everything still being OK. They can make really big choices in their writing, choices that are their very own. However, beyond fun and cool experience, creative writing provides an outlet to build important skills that will help them throughout their life. Here are just a few that can help even as a very young learner:
You grade your child’s multiplication test and your child gets all the answers right. They get a good grade and all is well with the world, but when your child writes creatively there is a little more going on behind the scenes.
When your child writes a piece of writing that is completely and utterly from their own perspective and inner thoughts, when you praise them, you are saying “I love your thoughts”, “I love what is inside your brain and in your heart”, or “I love your imagination.” These are affirmations that they wouldn’t get without a look into their views on paper.
Having strong creative thinking skills can boost a child’s confidence in ways that passing a test cannot. If we have young children, we may not think about these things so soon, but learning how to write well and write effectively is important for most careers. Creative writing helps children be creative thinkers, which make great researchers and problem solvers; skills needed for almost any profession.
THINKING OUTSIDE OF THE BOX
When your child produces writing for a creative writing assignment, you absolutely know that they have used their thinking skills and imagination; they have looked beyond what is provided for them and created something new. This is something you cannot get with worksheets or studying data or facts. Whether your child becomes an artist, surgeon, or scientist, they will need to think outside of the box to solve complex issues. Encouraging creative thinking means you are taking part in the development of these creative thinking skills that they can use throughout their lifetime and career. YOU ROCK, MOM!
During school, it is great for kids to learn facts learn the basic skills in order to progress as an adult. Two plus two is four, right? Well, what happens when a factor is removed? What can you do if the norm is no longer the norm? Creative writing will provide a means to get your children’s thinking hats on and critical thinking skills flowing.
It wasn’t until I started using creative writing prompts that my children began to explain how they were feeling. Writing responses can help you ask kids further questions to get into their minds and hearts. A simple writing prompt like “If I can be anywhere right now where would I be?” can lead to questions like “Why would you like to be there? “Who would you like to take with you?” “Who can’t go with you?”
It’s really simple, even at the youngest of ages, to use writing as a tool. For my children, I have noticed that writing provides a level of disassociation between what they write and themselves. They are able to tell me about their feelings as if it were a third person and not from them.
My reaction also is crucial. When I see what has been written and ask questions, it is important I don’t create a negative environment. I say things like, “I see” or “I understand why you would feel that way.”
How important is it to communicate our thoughts and feelings? As an adult, you know it’s crucial in relationship building and social interaction. Writing is about communicating effectively; it’s a rare but precious thing.
Am I over-embellishing? Nope! Studies show that writing develops cognitive growth, organizational skills, and the ability to support our opinions. Is it important? YES! Should you incorporate it more into your homeschool? Definitely!
You can be proactive about building your child’s confidence, helping them think outside of the box, and communicating their point of view. These Trace & Write – Creativity Prompts and Handwriting Practice for Early Learners and Creative Writing & Illustration Prompts for Elementary kids will introduce your homeschoolers to becoming all around better writers.
The printables come in black and white to save money on ink. There is a space for illustration and writing on each page to give your children enough room to express themselves as much or as little as they would like. Remember to also encourage their drawing skills. Not all kids learn the same way and some may really flourish with illustrations before they write.