It was just past 7:00 in the days of many night wake-ups when I heard my daughter, then 4, come down the stairs. She rubbed her eyes and carried her favorite drawing board. She turned it towards me, and I saw my name scrawled on it. "When did you learn how to do that?" I said, at first to myself and then out loud.
Her tired face brightened. Writing one little word was a surprise to both of us, but in that moment I knew I had a writer on my hands. She loved making people smile with just a word or a positive thought.
Since we're Charlotte Mason homeschoolers, we haven't started formal writing instruction yet, but I still try to nurture and encourage Miss H's love of writing. As soon as she could read, Miss H filled any scrap of paper she could find, which resulted in a bunch of clutter that I had trouble storing. I bought her a notebook, and that multiplied into many. Recently, I bought her a journal that we share between us. She writes an entry, and I write back to her. This will be a treasure in future years, full of stories of our days and silly notes to each other.
We recently started using The Big Book of Writing Prompts by Sophie Agbonkhese to inspire our writing journal. We flip through the book, choose a prompt, write it in the notebook, and get going.
The Big Book Of Writing Prompts
The Big Book of Writing Prompts is well-designed, both visually and organizationally. There are writing prompts for 3-12 grades, and the prompts are organized in three levels.
The colorful pages are filled with prompts, over 500 of them, in 5 different categories: what if, picture this, story starters, journal prompts, and non-fiction prompts. So far, Miss H says that her favorite are the "What if?" prompts. We spent a long time flipping through the pages and laughing over all the possibilities that the prompts opened up to us.
It's inspiring how creative each prompt is. These go well beyond the simple, unimaginative prompts that I used as a public school teacher. The first prompt H chose, from the story starters category, was, "'Come play this new game with us, Cal!' my friends called. 'You'll love it.' I walked over. It didn't look like a new game. They were just skipping rocks into the river. Then I realized the rocks were glowing unnaturally and turning the water all sorts of strange colors.' She was so intrigued by the ideas present, and slowly our story unfolded.
Inspiring Your Creative Writer
I realize that our child-led approach to writing is not how everyone will go about it, so here are some suggestions for using this book in your homeschool:
Let Your Child Choose A Prompt Each Week
He or she can journal about the prompt throughout the week until their entry is finished. This is similar to our approach!
Choose A Prompt To Take Throughout the Writing Process
The writing process included brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing, evaluating, and publishing. Work on the same prompt throughout all of the steps, and in the end you'll have a beautiful, finished copy of the piece. This will take several weeks.
Inspire Reluctant Writers
In my experience, reluctant writers struggle with getting their ideas from their minds to the paper. It tends to be more of a physical or organizational problem than an ideas problem. This book will offer some great ideas that your child will be excited to write about. Help them by transcribing part of what they write, helping them to write an outline of what they want to say, or helping them type it out.
The Big Book of Writing Prompts comes with two bonuses: 10 picture writing prompts, and an 8-page story writing planner. It will be something you'll be able to use for years to come.