Oh no! It’s March and I haven’t taught writing!
I get these kinds of emails starting about now and they run until the end of the school year. Totally understandable. When a subject doesn’t fit your lifestyle or if it presents challenges to either you or your children, it’s much easier to let it slide in favor of the other subjects you tackle confidently and naturally.
Writing tends to be one of the most often dropped subjects. Even if your kids don’t like math, it’s easy to put the math book in front of them every day. But with writing, it doesn’t lend itself to that kind of hands-off routine. Instead you wonder when you will have a block of time without any distractions when you can finally sit down and work on writing.
Well, consider this blog entry the “ding” on your email calendar. It’s time to make time to write.
Don’t fret. This is Brave Writer, remember? I have a few tips to help make it easy on you.
First, block out time for writing (even drop something else you usually do to fit it in). In fact, drop the something you’ve done well all year. Now’s the time to turn the tables and focus on what you haven’t had time to do. There are eight weeks until June. If you can commit to doing the following practices for eight weeks (eight weeks isn’t that long!), you’ll have accomplished the goals you had and will finish with a flourish.
- Start with copywork. Commit to one entry of copywork per week until June. You’ll have eight weeks of copywork, which means eight carefully copied texts. Much better than zero!
- On a different day, do dictation. Pick short passages (back issues of the Arrow work great or grab the nearest novel and just pick the opening lines of four chapters… easy peasy).
- Freewrite on Fridays. (I have many freewriting prompts on this blog.)
- Pick one freewrite to revise. Take it through the writing process. What that means is, freewrite for, say, three or four weeks and pick one to revise. Block out time to go through the narrowing and expanding steps, the revision and the editing. It will take you a couple of weeks to do the steps so plan to have the revision process occur in May. Skip freewriting during the two revision weeks.
By the end of the year, you’ll have:
- 8 passages of copywork
- 8 dictation passages
- 6 freewrites
- 1 polished piece of writing that has gone through the writing process.
This schedule is do-able. So go for it! You’re investing in your summer vacation by putting in a bit more energy right at the end of the school year. You’ll go into summer guilt-free. That’s a worthwhile goal, isn’t it? This little writing program is the last sprint to the finish line.
For those who are unclear about the steps for revising/editing, The Writer’s Jungle details the process and supports you in achieving these goals. You may also find that it is the boost you need at the end of the year when new ideas and enthusiasm for homeschooling are waning.