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Three Ways to Implement Creative Writing Prompts for your Homeschooler

by Jessica Parnell | Mar 11, 2016 | 3 min read

Writing is one of those skills that’s essential but often viewed with dread by many homeschooling families. And there’s an easy way to make writing a chore, stick with essays, paragraphs, and expository sentences. But, if you want to unlock your child’s inner Shakespeare and instill a love of writing, you’ll need to mix it up, choosing to make creative writing ideas your go-to strategy for both expression and assessment. It’s easy to find thousands of writing ideas and creative writing prompts that engage and excite. But, how do you implement them in a way that keeps writing fresh and exciting? Here are three ways to implement creative writing prompts for your homeschooler that will keep their pencils busy and frustration at bay.

Creative Writing Jar

One tricky part of implementing creative writing ideas is keeping them fresh. Enter the jar method. Research and make a list of as many creative writing prompts or strategies as you can, writing each one that appeals to you and your students on a small slip of paper. Then fold them and place them in a jar. When it’s time to do a writing activity have each child pull out a different slip with writing ideas or prompts and answer them. This works for both different prompts or questions and styles of writing. Don’t be afraid to be a bit zany and allow your students to have a say in what goes into the jar. Think haiku, limerick and mad libs as well as short story, expository paragraph, and journal entry. If your student pulls something they hate, no worries! Keep that prompt or style in the rotation for a while to give your writers a chance to complete a few writing prompts they love. This will keep your creative writing prompts and styles fresh and take the “you made me and I hate this!” argument out of the equation.

Make It A Daily Routine

A tried and true way to implement creative writing prompts without grumbling is to make it part of your everyday routine. Create a writing notebook or journal for each family member, that means you too parents! Choose a daily prompt that relates to your family life and will have meaning for each writer. Then take 5-10 minutes to write together. When you’re done have a time of sharing where you take turns reading your creations. Often the simple act of seeing a parent complete a task will encourage your student to participate. An added bonus of this strategy is a deeper family time sharing your thoughts, feelings and experiences that create more unity and closer bonds.

Read to Write

In working with homeschooling families for over 25 years we’ve found that one of the biggest obstacles to implementing creating writing prompts with success is lack of connection to the topic. That’s why our last strategy is our favorite. Students should be able to connect with what they write as writing is, at its core, an act of expression. What better way to implement creative writing prompts than to make them about what you are reading? That’s easy, you say! We already do that! Well, here are a few creative writing strategies that put a twist on “write a paragraph about what you just read” and make writing about reading much more fun!

  • Create journals pretending you are the main character or narrator.  What would you do?  Where would you go? How would you act?
  • Create a newspaper article (or an entire paper!) What are the best parts of the story that are newsworthy and essential for the world to know?
  • Think of the problem in the story. Write step-by-step directions of how NOT to get into the same bind!
  • Write a script for a scene based upon a story you’ve read. How would the characters interact in the script?
  • Cut photographs from magazines and create dialogue for your characters that go along with a story.
  • Make comic books based off your favorite stories.
  • Create a movie poster with synopsis. How would you highlight the story line and hook people into watching your movie?
  • Draft fill in the blank paragraphs for other family members to complete.
  • Choose your favorite paragraph and rewrite it using synonyms. Don’t be afraid to keep a Thesaurus on-hand to learn new vocabulary along the way.
  • Generate mad libs!  Enjoy these and share with your family to keep a fresh and fun perspective on writing.

Writing can be engaging and exciting, especially if you keep if fresh with these three ways to implement creative writing prompts for your homeschooler. How do you encourage creative writing without whining? Tell us in a comment below!
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Jessica Parnell
Hello everyone! I’m Jessica Parnell — mom, homeschool evaluator, teacher, and CEO of Bridgeway Academy. In my 20+ years of experience as a homeschool mom and evaluator, I have had the privilege of meeting homeschoolers that take a variety of approaches to their education. It is their many stories and successes that inspire me in my own homeschooling and I love to pass on the knowledge that I have gained from them to other homeschooling families. The one constant that always remains true is that there’s no such thing as a “cookie cutter child.” Each child is fearfully and wonderfully made and as a result, learns and functions differently. It’s our job to ensure that we’re raising each child to fulfill their individual purpose and when we can teach in a way that inspires them, we are on our way to homeschool success. When I’m not writing or teaching my children, I like to ski, write and participate in triathlons. I graduated from Kutztown University with a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Masters in English and I am currently pursuing a degree in Neuroleadership.
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