Do you have a reluctant writer at home? I’m raising my hand over here! Today, I’m sharing homeschool help for your struggling writer, and I think you’re going to love it!
If you’ve been hanging out with us for any length of time, you already know my youngest will go to great lengths to avoid writing. Recently, we were on a hike with our good friends and they were reminiscing about a homeschool co-op moment from several years ago. Every child in the co-op was asked to draw a self-portrait and then write a little blurb about themselves.
My reluctant writer? He drew a picture of himself and wrote, “I despise asparagus.”
Yup, that’s all he wrote.
Stories like this one make us giggle, but let’s be honest- we all want our kiddos to be competent writers. It can be extremely challenging when your child balks at every writing assignment.
So, what’s a homeschool parent to do??
Well, I am happy to share a homeschool resource that has been working for our family. Keep reading to find out more!
Homeschool Help For Your Struggling Writer
*Disclosure: I received free access to Night Zookeeper and was compensated for my time to write this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. When it comes to homeschool reviews, I am highly selective. I only share resources that I would use with my own family and those that I believe other homeschool families will enjoy.
When I was offered the chance to check out Night Zookeeper, an award-winning online creative writing platform, I jumped at the opportunity. Night Zookeeper is a story-based gamified online creative writing program. My 10-year-old might be a reluctant writer, but he loves gameschooling!
Teaching Writing When Your Child Is Resistant and/or Struggling
If you have a resistant writer at home, I don’t need to tell you how frustrating it can be for both parent and child. Writing is a common pain point for homeschool parents (and public school parents, for that matter).
So, if you have a struggling writer at home, please know you aren’t alone.
Writing can be challenging for many reasons. The act of writing involves a host of skills including:
- fine motor skills
- planning and organization
- creativity, imagination, and flexible thinking
- and so much more!
And if your child is a perfectionist, or if your child has any sensory challenges, the act of writing can become even more challenging.
When I worked as a school psychologist, I would receive heaps of referrals during the elementary school years and many of these referrals were related to writing.
As a school psychologist and homeschool mom, I want to raise confident, competent writers, and one way to do that is to infuse some playfulness and joy into the process.
I know this is easier said than done, but bear with me for a minute!
When a child or teen is interested in a topic, when they are passionate about something, writing can be less intimidating.
Making Writing Fun
Interest-based learning and play-based learning are hugely important for children and teens, especially when it comes to an area of weakness. If a child or teen is interested in a particular topic, they will naturally learn and retain more about that topic. It just makes sense, and – as a gameschooling mom– I’ve witnessed this happen again and again.
If I ask my 10-year-old to complete a writing assignment, he will dig in his heels and we’ll have a power struggle. But, if I take an area of interest and let him get lost in it, and add a dollop of writing to the process, we are far more successful!
Here are some examples of ways we’ve used play and interest to work on writing:
- For many years, we’ve had dry-erase marker boards on our bedroom doors. We all leave messages for each other. It doesn’t feel like writing, but it is!
- Last year, my boys were obsessed with Dungeons and Dragons. They got so tired of playing the same campaign that they made up their own campaigns. So! Much! Writing!
- When I witnessed the D&D-related writing, I signed them up for a Dungeons and Dragons class on Outschool. The topic? Campaigns. And how do you make a campaign? You write it, from the storyline to the characters, to the side quests, and so much more.
- Currently, my boys are in a Halloween phase and they are making spooky movie trailers with iMovie. Before they can create the movie, they’ve been writing scripts.
- Over the years, we’ve had writing success with creating expansion packs for favorite games.
But, let’s get real for a minute here- It can be challenging to constantly find interest and play-based writing opportunities!
As homeschool parents, we have a 10-mile long checklist in our noggin at any given minute. There are so many things we’d love to accomplish, and yet there are only so many hours in a day.
It can be exhausting to keep up with your children’s interests. Sometimes, those creative juices aren’t flowing. Sometimes, you want someone else to take the wheel.
And that’s where Night Zookeeper comes into play! (Pun intended!)
Night Zookeeper does all the work for you. Night Zookeeper is an award-winning language arts curriculum, but it can also be used as a supplement to your current writing routine.
My reluctant writer has been head-over-heels since the summer! I have written about Night Zookeeper before because it’s been such a play-based writing win in our homeschool, and I love to share what works with the My Little Poppies community.
A Homeschool Writing Program Ideal For Struggling Writers
Night Zookeeper is a treasure trove of stealth learning. It’s a whole world that will captivate the imagination of creative kiddos.
Night Zookeeper is an award-winning online creative writing program for kids age 5-12+. The Night Zookeeper online platform includes an engaging storyline and features interactive games and activities.
This gamified online writing platform is based on the Night Zookeeper chapter book series.
When your child signs up for Night Zookeeper, the first step is to create a personal avatar. Your child is creating a character and will become part of the Night Zookeeper story and adventure. The goal is to help protect the Night Zoo from the bad guys, called Voids. They can do this by earning points and “leveling up” during activities, games, and challenges.
The entire Night Zookeeper program is gamified. Children create characters and stories as they “play” their way through the program. Once the character is completed, the lesson continues with some interactive writing.
As you can see from the video below, the writing is set up like text messages. In this day and age, our kiddos are familiar with texting. My son is a reluctant writer and yet he’s “texting” here without complaining!
Night Zookeeper For Your Homeschool
Night Zookeeper provides a comprehensive parent guide that covers all aspects of the platform so that you can get the most out of your Night Zookeeper experience.
The program is designed to improve children’s writing skills. Night Zookeeper includes interactive games, lessons, and activities that incorporate the following skills:
- reading comprehension
Night Zookeeper provides weekly video lessons on creative writing. These video lessons are colorful, interactive, and highly engaging.
If you’d like to see some examples of lessons provided, you can check the first article I wrote about Night Zookeeper for video examples!
Adding Play-Based Learning to Your Homeschool Writing Routine Can Be a Game Changer!
My 10-year-old resistant writer has been enjoying Night Zookeeper since the summer. That says a lot! I highly recommend checking out Night Zookeeper if you have a kiddo who could use a little incentive in the writing department!
Click here for 50% off an annual Night Zookeeper subscription. When you sign up for an annual membership using this link, you will get a free 7-day trial and then get 50% off on the yearly subscription. This annual price is $59.99 for a single-child subscription and $77.99 for 2-3 children. More children can be added at a bespoke price.