It’s that time of year again, folks! November is here. It’s NaNoWriMo time! Tell me, do you use NaNoWriMo in your homeschool?
What is NaNoWriMo?
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. For the entire month of November, NaNoWriMo-ers write every single day with the goal of completing a 50,000-word novel on November 30th.
That’s a whole lot of words, folks!
In order to meet this goal, writers must hunker down and focus on the story rather than the editing. The goal is to get your creative juices to flow and see what happens.
NaNoWriMo started in 1999 and became a nonprofit in 2005. Currently, NaNoWriMo offers the following programs:
- National Novel Writing Month in November
- Camp NaNoWriMo
- Young Writers Program
- Come Write In
- “Now What?” Months.
How it works
It’s easy to participate in NaNoWriMo! Here’s what you need to do:
- Head over to the NaNoWriMo site and create a profile.
- Create your novel and announce it to the community.
- Select your region so that you can receive updates and communications.
- Earn participation and writing badges.
- Check out the many resources offered for some writing inspiration: from pep talks by published authors to tips and tricks.
- Start writing on November 1st.
- Beginning on November 20th you can paste your entire novel into the site to claim your win!
Last year, NaNoWriMo had 25,142 participants including 81,311 students and teachers in the Young Writers Program.
What is NaNoWriMo’s Young Writer’s Program (YWP)?
The YWP is NaNoWriMo for the 17-years and younger set. While the adult program has a goal of 50,000 words, the YWP allows for age-appropriate yet challenging word count goals.
The YWP works much like the adult version with a few differences. All online aspects of the YWP are private and can only be viewed by other YWP writers. In addition, the online components are monitored by NaNoWriMo staff.
The YWP has heaps of resources for little novelists, including pep talks, workbooks, flyers, web badges, and other useful links. The YWP also includes an online Word-Count Goal Calculator for those uncertain of what an appropriate goal would be.
Why I Love NaNoWriMo (YWP)
I’ve mentioned before that I am a strong believer in a natural development of writing. Many schools today place far too much pressure on young children to write and to write well when, in reality, they are still very early on in their writing development. Consider this for a moment:
- It takes approximately 5 years for oral language to develop.
- It takes approximately 10 years for written language to develop.
And now think about all those worksheets and [often boring] writing assignments that come home in your child’s backpack during those 10 years.
Placing so much pressure on the physical and technical aspects of writing at such a young age leaves little room for creativity and joy. Yes, joy.
In my world, writing should be fun. It’s one of the many reasons why we have opted to use Brave Writer in our homeschool curriculum, and the reason why we clear our calendars for NaNoWriMo when November rolls around.
Making NaNoWriMo Work for YOUR Family
I learned about NaNoWriMo last year, during our very first year homeschooling. I thought it was a fantastic idea and so did Leo. Together, we did our own NaNoWriMo pact: He would work on a story every day during the month of November and I would write one blog post per day for the month of November. Ours was a spin on NaNoWriMo’s rules, but it worked for our little family.
We both met our goals last year. Leo wrote Fred and Roz’s Adventures in the Jungle, and I posted daily. We are trying it again this year, but we have two novelists joining us: Miss T, who will turn 6 during NaNoWriMo, and 4-year-old Seuss!
Last year, we didn’t log on very much, but we intend to explore the site more this coming month. In order to make NaNoWriMo fun for kids, you have to make it work for your family. Whatever you do, make it fun!
I can’t wait to see what this month brings, folks!
Now it’s your turn: Tell me, have you participated in NaNoWriMo or the YWP? Share your experiences here!
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool and GeekMom. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, and Scary Mommy. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram
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