Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My Son Doesn't Like to Write

homeschooling, fine motor skills, reluctant writers
Do you have a reluctant writer?

Oh, I do, I DO!
And by reluctant writer I mean anything that involves picking up a writing implement.

Here are a few sneaky ideas that I have used to get my son to pick up a pen/pencil/other tool and improve his fine motor skills. Keeping in mind that the kids can type like a professional, I still want him to be able to write his name without being embarrassed by it.
  • Keep score when we are playing games.
  • Creating characters for upcoming games.
  • Writing the shopping list or chore list
  • Using tweezers.
  • Mazes
  • Crosswords and Word Finds
  • Sketching on graph paper
  • Draw over grey-lines pictures  (see below for example)
  • Sending postcards to family members and distant friends.
  • Writing a menu for dinner
  • Writing personal poetry or favorite poems out of books
  • Extremely silly writing prompts
  • Coloring mandalas
  • MadLibs@
  • Writing on Post-it@ notes or index cards
  • Writing creative and new answers to old jokes
  • Write short lists (5 movies I want to see, 5 of my favorite dinners)
  • Sentence expansion.
          I write a sentence like John is a boy.
          He adds to it:  John is a blond boy.
          I add to it:  John is an active, blond boy.
          He adds to it:  John is an active, blond boy who is hungry.
          I add to it:  and so on.
  • We do writing prompts together.
          ex. Describe the best afternoon possible.
          We both sit and write for 3-5 minutes, 
          then read answers aloud.
          I have books full of writing prompts.

The point is that this child does not like to pick up a pencil because he feels incredibly inadequate with handwriting. I make it a point to not correct (much) or editorialize (much) on what he has done. He actually enjoys the pages where I include a grey outline image and he draws over it, working on making long, comfortable lines.

Maybe it's shocking sounding that his handwriting is as bad as it is, but he can write a nice paragraph or two on the computer, so I'm OK with it at this point.

Do you any any other ideas, sneaky ones!, for getting a kid to pick up a pencil and actually use it?
Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

What if they Never Learn to Read?

Part Two:  What to do with Spelling Words
Mother of the Highly-Distractable-Child blog

Here's an example of the coloring sheet 
that I print out and have him write over the lines...

Don't judge me!


  1. Gotta admit I was quite 'strict' with handwrting to begin with years ago, making my son write out his letters etc on special paper. He would resist and get frustrated but he was fine with the computer. Now at age 10 I find that when we do work involving writing where he's not really engaged, his writing is kinda careless, with mixed case and higgedly piggeldy. But then when he asks us for something, like a new game, we make him write a kind of proposal ;) When he writes his proposals, or a note or something for a competition, guess what: his writing is lovely!

    When he was learning to read (and he loved reading), I would put the subtitles on tv shows and that really helped because he would pick up on typos, or when the text didn't match the speech!

  2. whoops, I forgot to add the important bit! I'm not strict with him anymore because it was getting nowhere and wasn't fair on him either so I found alternatives, like getting him to write thank you notes, competition entries and so on. I had also read a really good article written by a homeschooler who was also a creative writing teacher. She said "here are a list of don'ts when it comes to writing" and I was doing pretty much all of them, like making my son do his alphabet and so on! I realised my approach was the big problem here and when we backed off, my son was fine. He doesn't like writing stories with a pen but I'm okay with him using the computer for most things. As long as he can write properly when he needs to that's fine with me. I barely write by hand these days either!

  3. This sounds like my Sky, 14. It isn't that she is a reluctant writer, she is a reluctant hand writer. :) Like your son, she can type faster than I, and I can type pretty fast. So far the only time she has needed her handwriting was to sign her name (in cursive) for a library card. She asked if we could practice so I started writing a poem on our chalkboard for her to copy in cursive.

    Honestly, being everything is pretty much typed these days, and presented with power point, I'm not as concerned about her handwriting and put more focus on computing skills. I've yet to be able to read the handwriting on a prescription.

    I will include adding items to our grocery list ( When someone empties and item or opens a new one it is their responsibility to make sure it gets on the list.) to your list.

    1. Darn it, I see you had that one already covered. :)

  4. Great ideas! I might steal a few for my reluctant writer.


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