accompanying story. I loved telling stories
at that age, but hated the penmanship part.
Thinking about this, I told my children that
they could tell me stories, and I typed them
out for them. I encouraged them to illustrate them. We also told stories in a round.
One person starts the story and then stops
at a key point. That’s where the next person
picks it up, and it keeps going from there.
We ended up with some pretty wacky ones,
which only added to the fun.
I did not learn to write well from diagramming sentences, drilling mechanics,
or creating outlines. I could never get my
children to do any of those things without a
great deal of protest, either. There were two
ideas that worked best for my oldest daughter. I set her up with a blog of her own and
encouraged her to write about a topic of her
choosing each week. She loved it. She could
never see the point of writing papers that
only I saw and that went into a box afterwards. Now, it mattered.
When she started high school, she did
National Novel Writer’s Month, also known
as NaNo WriMo. She met the goal of writing
a novella in a month. Afterwards, she had
the option of publishing it through Lulu.
She also participated in community writing
programs that offered a published anthology of the student’s work at the end. Want
to get your child excited about writing?
Give them opportunities that matter, not
assignments that only you read and then go
in a box somewhere.
To encourage my girls to read good
books, I started a book club for girls. We
met once a month, discussed books, ate
cookies and sipped tea, and maybe completed a related craft. This did not interest
my boys, but a steady supply of adventurous audiobooks that they incorporated into
their Lego creations did.
All this creativity in the skills areas inspired
Give them opportunities that matter, not assignments that only you read
me to investigate or invent other unique
learning ideas. We used clay and poster
board to create a 3-D model of the United
States. My younger daughter sewed her
own dolls from around the world, complete
with traditional costumes. We put together
our own science discovery boxes. Most of
all, I learned that learning can’t be put in
a box. Sometimes we have to think outside
the box to find out that real learning hap-
pens when we relax and have fun with our
To learn more about creating your own
science boxes and unusual ways to in-
spire writing, check out Julie’s blog at www
Julie Polanco is the homeschooling mother of
four children, the oldest having graduated in
2016. She is a frequent contributor to The Old
Schoolhouse® Magazine and is the high school
botany instructor for SchoolhouseTeachers
.com. Her book, God Schooling: What the
Bible and 25 Experts Say About How Chil-
dren Learn Best will be released in summer
2018. Keep up with her at her website, www
. juliepolancobooks.com where she regularly
posts about the writing life, homeschooling,
Christian living, and her book projects.
and then go in a box somewhere.
Your kids can become disciples
who disciple others.
We’d like to help.