How To Nurture & Encourage Writing For Young Kids
Does the thought of teaching your kids how to write send shivers up and down your spine? Do the phrases “5 paragraph essay” and “book report” give you flashbacks that rival your worst nightmares?
Homeschool mama, I get it. Writing was a sore spot in our homeschool. The type of oozing open wound that threatened to explode with infectious pus at any second.
*Three things to note about that statement: 1) the gross factor, 2) how I learned with my kids to be so descriptive in my word choices, and 3) the word “was”.
I am thrilled to share an effective resource that has helped my family rock our homeschool writing. Gone are the days of running away with shrieks of terror from our homeschool area with the mere whisper of the word “writing” (and my boys don’t do it either!)
Want in on my juicy secret on how I overcame my fear of teaching my boys how to write? Well, it’ll cost you a cup of coffee and a bear claw.
Nah! Just joshin’! This delectable delight of approach to homeschool writing is better known as Brave Writer!
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Over the next few months, I will be sharing how our large family with five boys ages 2-14 uses Brave Writer language arts and writing resources in our homeschool. I want to share how the Brave Writer Lifestyle has enriched and nurtured our relaxed, eclectic homeschool approach.
To begin, I am thrilled to share what I use to nurture and encourage writing for young kids.
Resource to Nurture & Encourage Writing For Young Kids
Young kids are like sponges. Their enthusiastic interest in the world around them is a wondrous delight. When you find a resource that recognizes, embraces, and nurtures your child’s natural instincts to learn, you do a happy dance and sing its praises. (Well, at least if you are like me.)
Jot It Down is that resource. Created by Julie Bogart of Brave Writer fame, Jot It Down is truly an amazing treasure for homeschool families. This manual, created for use with ages 5-8, actually has juicy nuggets that provide helpful information for any family interested in adopting a Brave Writer Lifestyle.
When I purchased Jot It Down, I was desperate. From our homeschool experiences, I knew the benefits of Brave Writer products like The Arrow and The Wand. I needed a way to nurture and encourage writing for my younger boys.
Smiley (7) and Bear (5) are outside the box thinkers. Unlike their two older brothers, they have not attended any type of traditional school programs. Not wanting to dampen their love for learning or gift of curiosity, I wanted to find a homeschool approach that would embrace their unique personalities and help me encourage them to surpass their potential.
At first, I did not think that I needed a writing for young kids curriculum. Our deschooling experience with older brothers taught me the valuable lesson of taking time to attend to my boys and pursue a learning path based on their interests. Over the years, our homeschool has taken an almost complete 180 and hovers close to unschooling.
If anything, I wanted a very relaxed and gentle approach. Surely, I had the ability to produce writing activities for my younger boys on my own.
Um, in a word. NO!
Why I Needed Jot It Down In Our Homeschool
I love writing. Always have. I’ve kept journals, diaries, and would practically weep with tears of joy when given a writing assignment in school.
This lover of words and books would have no need for a writing curriculum for her children, right? (See above for my response.)
Shamefully, I had a false sense that I knew all that one could possibly need to know to teach writing. I breezed through high school, college, and grad school. Term papers and reports-meh! Nothing to ’em!
And then I became a homeschool mom.
For some mysterious reason unknown to me at the time, my boys did not instantaneously take to writing like I did. They did not experience ecstasy at crafting the perfect sentence or polishing off a paper.
Enter Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. (Duh-duh-duh-duh!)
After a few meltdowns and timeouts (the boys were so patient with me!), I had one of those mommy “aha!” moments. Our homeschool writing woes had nothing to do with my boys. Our troubles had everything to do with me!
I was the one who had grand expectations for our homeschool writing. I was the one who fussed and fretted when writing became a struggle.
And, rightly so, I was the one who needed a resource to pick me up out of my homeschool mom guilt gutter and show me the glory possible in homeschool writing.
Brave Writer to the Rescue!
I have sung the praises of Brave Writer resources in the past. Poetry Teatime was our pinky toe in the cool waters of Brave Writer world. The Writer’s Jungle wrapped this homeschool mama in a warm embrace and helped me know that my hopes for our homeschool could be reality. The Arrow and The Wand were quickly added to our dip into these homeschool delights.
Jot It Down was when we took the plunge. This resource broke down the Brave Writer Lifestyle into an easy to understand approach. With short chapters on Brave Writer components (like Poetry Teatime, Weekly Movies, and Nature Study), Jot It Down helped me to better understand the Brave Writer Lifestyle.
The Writer’s Jungle is the cornerstone to Brave Writer. This resource is designed to educate and support parents who want to teach their kids how to write. I had read through it (along with fellow Brave Writer enthusiasts in The Writer’s Jungle Facebook group). My understanding grew but I needed more.
To my surprise, Jot It Down gave me what I needed. I thought a resource geared towards ages 5-8 would be light. I couldn’t have been more wrong!
Here are a just a few of the topics covered in this resource:
- Brave Writer approach to writing and language arts
- explanation of a Brave Writer Lifestyle
- description and examples of Poetry Teatime, Art Appreciation, Nature Study, & more
- Routine vs. Schedule
- Oral practices in your homeschool (so many wonderful suggestions!)
What Makes Jot It Down Different?
This writing for young kids curriculum does not give a daily checklist of what your child is to learn. You are not provided a script of what to say and when. Rather, you (homeschool mom or dad or family member) are given the tools and support to guide your young learner on the path of learning how to write.
There are no worksheets. There is no requirement that your child must get a specific number of problems correct prior to moving on to the next level. This resource is for you. Jot It Down helps you meet your child where they are. Without judgment or fear.
Ten monthly practices for writing and language arts are suggested for use during your homeschool year. Examples are provided to help you get a better idea of activities to undertake with your kids. Ultimately, you and your kids are the ones who select the specific project(s) to be completed. Also, time frames in monthly increments are given but you are encouraged to work at your child’s pace.
Jot It Down recognizes that writing often proves difficult for young learners. As the parent, you will do a majority of the writing by “jotting it down”. Your child will witness the power of writing as they observe you recording their thoughts and feelings.
Just pick up a writing utensil and something to write on. Jot down what your child has to say.
Seems too simple? Well, this description does not do it justice. When you read Jot It Down, you will see how much more is involved and how beneficial it is for your kids. Plus, you will get awesome tips on how to rock writing in your homeschool!
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In our homeschool, Jot It Down is often like parallel play. My younger boys (7, 5, and 2) love to tell stories that range in topics from new worlds to ordinary events. I have learned the benefit of capturing those stories on paper.
By jotting it down, I preserve precious memories. Watching me take pencil to paper, my boys get a glimpse of what it means to turn thoughts into a written tale.
This process has also encouraged my younger boys to pick up a pencil and record their thoughts in drawings, kids writing, and actual sentences! Voluntarily. Without begging, pleading, or coercion from mom.
My older boys have picked up on their younger brothers’ enthusiasm. Freewriting for the older boys has become more relaxed yet energized. The overall atmosphere of our homeschool is more positive and fun.
Total 180 from our initial homeschool writing experiences!
I look forward to sharing more about our homeschool learning adventures with Brave Writer.
Please leave a comment below with any questions you have about this resource to nurture and encourage writing for young kids.