Better Ways to Get Your Kids Writing

I think I have a budding writer in our family. I think I could do much better with how to encourage and inspire him but I’d never thought that my writing could make a difference. This link, a post written by Stephen Palmer for TJED (Thomas Jefferson Education), is very interesting. It talks about the importance of parents writing as well as kids. But the best tip from Palmer is this, “I can teach anyone the rules of grammar, punctuation, and syntax.  

Infinitely harder to teach is the principle that writing is more about transformational thinking and big ideas than technical skill. Powerful ideas are more important than polished language. 

Get your students engaged with big, fun, imaginative ideas. Have them write freely about things they care about, things they’re passionate about. 

Once they start giving you fabulous stories, poetry, streams of consciousness — which will be saturated with technical mistakes — you can then harness their raw, unbridled passion to teach them the rules. They’ll be much more receptive to learning the rules in that context. 

I’d rather have a wild stallion as a student who thinks wild and free, than a docile gelding who knows the technicalities but doesn’t know how to think.” I REALLY believe in this, although at the moment, I am so afraid to stymie the emerging stream of wonderful words that I can’t bear to critique it even the tiniest bit. But it’s early days and Edward’s still young, so I think that’s OK. And his stories ain’t half bad grammatically (although thank goodness for spell checker on the PC!)

As Palmer says, “Big ideas should be the pilot, technicalities the co-pilot.” I think I learned to write primarily from reading and then writing for the fun of it. I hope this works well for Edward (and later Petra) too.


About homeschoolingpenny

Hi and welcome! My name is Penny and I used to live in Bahrain but In November 2012 moved to Dubai and now we live in Granada, Spain! If you want to contact me my email is I recommend you start my blog on 'Day 1' but please enjoy whatever you dip into. 23 February 2012 marked the first day of no more school FOREVER for my two kids. Edward, who is nearly 10 had attended a variety of schools since he was very little. Petra, who is now 6, has never gone to school. On this date we decided Edward was never going back to school and Petra never would go to school. We hope to successfully homeschool from this day forward, although we would consider an alternative school as an option- if there was some amazing Sudbury or other really alternative school. Actually, I prefer the term 'home learning' than 'homeschool' because I don't like to think of school coming into our home. In fact, I hope to go further and guide/learn alongside, rather than teach, my kids using the 'unschooling' philosophy to instill a lifelong love of learning in them. We lived in the Middle East and now Spain all of which are very challenging places to home educate. This is an exciting journey that I used to blog about regularly, at first it was on an almost daily basis. Please join me on our travels and I hope we might be able to help each other out along the way. I certainly hope I can be a source of support and comfort and, in time, knowledge to all potential/presently participating homeschoolers/home educators/unschoolers. Good luck to us all! If you want to read about why I started home educating, why I pulled my son out of a 'very good' private school mid-term, how I felt at the very start and how my philosophy has evolved, please start from 'Day 1' of the blog. Please do post comments at the end of any days that you read. Your opinion is valuable and it's great to start up debate amongst other people commenting too, however old the post. Thank you for visiting homeschoolingmiddleeast.
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3 Responses to Better Ways to Get Your Kids Writing

  1. nebby3 says:

    I love this idea! I find parents tend to stress a lot about writing. It is nice to hear that it is not all about mechanics and that I can relax and enjoy good books with ideas in them instead.

    • I agree. I remember reading a great post about writing on your blog. I have done so little with my son and yet he is dictating some amazing stories to me. It’s from the reading we’ve done together, much of it me reading to him. However, especially because he doesn’t do all the reading himself, his spelling is shocking and I have to face the fact it will remain the case until he wants to start writing more independently in which case, he will need to improve it – especially if it’s to be read outside the home 🙂

  2. Pingback: New Thoughts on Writing | Letters from Nebby

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