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|Photo Credit - http://nanowrimo.org/|
Outside it's windy here, and a little rainy....Fall is here, with a feeling that the beginning of winter is coming soon. At this time of year, my daughter and I often want something new to do, something a little different from our usual homeschool routine.
When she was in 8th grade, we discovered the National Novel Writing Month. Has your family ever joined in the fun of that, during the month of November?
How We Got Started with NaNovWriMo
My young high schooler had developed an interest in story writing, and had written a few short stories during her middle school years. So when I asked her if she wanted to do more of that, we checked out the NaNoWriMo site, and decided to join in, right then and there!
That first November of writing brings back so many wonderful memories.... Watching her find the idea for her plot, or decide what the setting of her story would be. These were great mom/daughter times.
We dropped our other homeschool courses, and just did writing for the month!..Sometimes we went to our local coffee shop, and wrote there.
Other times, we gathered our favorite blankets, and wrote on the couch. My daughter loved it! So we made it a tradition, and did NaNoWriMo for two more years...ah, November.....cozy and warm, at home, with pen in hand.
"No Plot, No Problem"
"This book is full of helpful ways to get past the fear of putting words on the page, and "leaving your Inner Editor behind. While doing NaNoWriMo, we did not stop to rewrite, edit, or critique my daughter's work." Click here for the rest of my review of this great little book.
My daughter wrote a short novella each year! One time it was a science fiction story. Another year, it was an adventure novella, about a road trip and favorite pets. But you don't have to have a goal of writing a novel...How about a short story, or trying poetry? Or writing about a favorite hobby?
Why do creative writing, you might ask? Isn't it the essay writing that our kids need to learn?
The Benefits of Creative Writing
Here's three benefits of trying out NaNoWriMo:
1. First, because it was fun, and a nice break to look forward to each November. And it was a more relaxed way to encourage my daughter to find her own voice.
2. Secondly, doing creative writing helped her to become a strong essay writer. It built up her confidence in putting words onto the page, while having the fun of making up a story. Later, when was faced with an essay, she was ready.
3. My third point is that my teen learned the parts of a story, in a hands-on way, by writing one. Writing a story is a great way to learn the components of good literature! That makes literary analysis much more understandable, when it comes up in later in english courses.
Do you have a budding writer in your midst?
The NaNoWriMo site includes LOTS of info for writers of all ages.
To register - To join in the fun, you can register for their Young Writer's Program here.
For resources - for young writers' here, which includes workbooks for elementary, middle and high school writers.
Here's their workbook for Middle Schoolers....
and another one for high schoolers......
To join in with other writers, there is also an online community here, made up of young writers, who are all trying to get some words on the page. It includes games and encouragement.
What do you like to do to encourage your young writers? What is your biggest challenge in helping them to get started writing? I will share my ideas and tips if you like. Please feel free to answer in the comments.
- Happy Homeschooling,
Betsy blogs at BJ's Homeschool, where she writes about high school, college, and all the fun of homeschooling the early years, too. As a veteran homeschooler, Betsy offers
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