We’re starting back to school today, which excites a few and makes others groan. If you are a teacher or homeschool mom, these tips might come in handy this semester.
As an online English professor I know what it means to teach “the dreaded class.” Aside from public speaking courses, composition seems to be the most intimidating class students take. The way they tremble during introductions, you’d think I’d asked my students to swim with sharks.
Although writing well can feel like jumping into deep waters, I encourage my students to take deep breaths and realize that it won’t be as bad as they think (they might even have a little fun). After all, we are in this process together (I still make mistakes and am learning how to hone my craft). By the end of the 8 weeks, most of my students would say “it wasn’t that bad”–hard but painless–and they might even enjoy some of the creative exercises.
When I homeschool my elementary-school kids, I have to tone down my composition teacher mode and recognize their own capabilities (not just in vocabulary but sentence structure and dynamics). I don’t want them to merely articulate their thoughts, but to enjoy the process as well. Sometimes I think kids dread writing because they’ve always seen it as a limiting and exhausting exercise, writing about something they don’t care about anyway. (Incidentally, if the writer doesn’t care about the subject matter, the reader won’t be interested either–the boredom and disinterest overwhelm the reader.)