How Parents Can Teach Writing Skills To Their Kids

Writing is more than just composing fictional stories, it also allows us to interject our own personality and ideas into a project. Workbooks are fantastic at mastery verb conjugation and grammar, yet it fails at “putting it all together”. Whether you are doing homeschooling, helping with homework, or are curious on how to develop your own (personal) skills, this is the right article for you.

I hope that you find my examples clear and useful. Many children struggle with this subject, developing poor self-esteem in the process. Sometimes it is not the subject material that is difficult but (instead) is the student’s unique learning profile, making conventional learning difficult (if not impossible).

With a little bit of support (and resources), all children can develop their writing skills, offering them career and social opportunities.

Brainstorming – Connecting The Ideas Together

Using the topic “clock”, we discuss the nature of the term before going further. It is a noun, used to tell time and organize plans. We know that everything exists for a reason, operating within a system of interconnected mechanisms.

Who, What, Where, When, How

By using this format, we can expand on any topic and gather material for further writing.

What? (definition) A clock is a tool that is used to tell that.

Why? To organize appointments, make plans, and coordinate with others.

How? It is made either digitally or analog, with gears and other parts.

Where? Clocks are placed on walls, wrists, and most digital platforms.

When? Assuming that we have obligations (responsibilities), clocks are needed all of the time.

Who? Engineer designs the clock, factory worker assembles it, the consumer uses it.

Now that we have that out of the way, we can pose some other questions.

  1. What is the difference between digital and analog clocks?
  2. What is the history of the timekeeping?
  3. What did we used to use for this purpose (prior to modern clocks)?
  4. Will clocks always be needed? What would replace it? What would cause the change?
  5. If you were stranded on a desert island, without a clock, what would you use to keep (or tell) the time?
Please disregard my poor attempt at drawing 🙂

As mentioned above, everything has a purpose and a relationship to other things, both tangible and theoretical. People are (generally) rational creatures, choosing activities that best suit their needs. The same can be said with nature, with even the smallest mosquito having a huge role in the stability of our ecosystem.

As a fun exercise, you can try inverting the question, asking the student to find the best solution to the problem offered.

What should you do if you are…

  1. Interested in getting a perfect report card?
  2. Wanting to subdue your hunger pangs?
  3. Tired and have an early morning?
  4. Confused about a problem and cannot solve it alone?
  5. Finished with all of your chores and homework, looking for something fun to do on a hot summer day?

Branching On…(sorry for the pun lol)

Trees are great to talk about since they are ubiquitous and easy to relate to.

In this example, we are putting the headline at the top and separating the ideas into numbered rows. Furthermore, I find that it is helpful to colour the different parts, making it easy for the students to understand how they come together.

On the board I have listed 5 points. How did I get here?

Let’s put it is the reverse, just like in the exercise above.

  1. What does the tree inhale and exhale? What does that mean for humans and other life? If trees were to be removed, what would this mean for us now and going forward?
  2. Where do we find rings? What does it mean when a stump has more rings than another stump?
  3. Are all trees the same? What are some examples? What changes do they go through, at least here in Canada with the seasons?
  4. What kinds of animals would you expect to be living in (or near) a tree? What are the benefits of being close to a tree?
  5. Besides clean air to breathe, what other uses can you think of? What can we get from trees?
What Is A Thesis?

Many students get confused about what a thesis is, so I will use this section to lay it out clearly. A thesis is a form of argument, describing why you are writing the article. It must be precise in nature, focusing on something that is both relevant and interesting to read.

Here are some examples of simple theses.

Notice how there is a “reason” and a “suggestion”.

Since First Nations people were here before us, Canadians should get to know the original people and their culture.

Since Canada and the United States are so closely linked, the governments should open the border between the two countries, allowing travel without a passport.

Since alcohol is dangerous for growing minds, it should be restricted to people above the age of 25, not 19.

Notice how they talk about how things “could or should be”, rather than they actually are. The objective is to change something meaningful in the world, whether it be taking action or altering how something (or someone) is percieved. In other words, if you are perfectly fine with everything, is there really a reason to write?

Paragraph Structure

It is important to learn proper paragraph formation, allowing for all of the information to flow seeminglessly together.

. Put simply, a paragraph consists of:

  1. Introductional sentence. (if this is not the first paragraph in the article, the first sentence should be a transition, connecting the previous work in both theme and nature. It would expand the ideas, giving additional support).
  2. Thesis – Explain why your point of view is correct, connecting it to the context offered in the first paragraph. Make sure that the argument is solid yet precise, ensuring that the reader is able to follow along with your line of thinking.
  3. Support – Give evidence supporting your thesis. Make sure to reference credible sources, using proper citation form. While you can use your own opinions to “share” your writing, this is not the place nor the situation. Make sure that you are using third-person pronouns, giving the writing an air of professionalism.
  4. Conclusion – If this is a single-paragraph writing assignment, this is the place to “bring it altogether” and solidify your position. If the assignment is longer, the paragraph conclusion should wrap up the points made in the previous writing, transitioning to the next body of text. Do not write for the same of writing, choosing your words properly and for utility.
Concept Map
If you are every stuck, trying using a concept map like the example provided above. Feel free to download and print it out, transfering your thoughts onto the visual diagram. This is a great way to conceptualize your ideas, branching off into tangents and other directions. Make sure that you do not go too much off topic! Remember, you are looking for context and support ideas.
Step By Step Instructions
  1. Topic – hockey
  2. Context – hockey is fun but very expensive
  3. Problem – hockey is only accessible to students with families than can afford it.
  4. Solution.- The league should charge a little bit extra to most students, allowing for scholarships.
  5. Thesis – Since hockey is so important to Canada a whole, we should find ways to finance students who come from low-income backgrounds.

Introduction – Hockey is Canada’s most popular sport, with it defining our culture, language, and identity.

Context – While it is fun to both watch and play, it requires a huge financial investment for competitions and equipment.

Problem – This creates a division in society, with some students wanting to play hockey but cannot due to reasons beyond their control.

Solution – In the case that a player wants to join, but cannot, a special fund can be generated specifically for this purpose. This can be accomplished by changing a little bit extra per student, or holding a raffle or fundraiser.

Conclusion – In order to ensure that everyone has a chance to play, we should work with charities and government agencies to access funding, giving everyone a chance to play our Winter National Sport.

Tips For Parents

  1. If you do not know the answer to a question, look online for guidance. I find that Quora is quite useful for all subjects.
  2. Make friends with your kids’ homeroom teachers. If you are friendly and kind, chances are that they will go out of their way to give your child extra help (if needed).
  3. If you have multiple children, have them read each other’s responses. Have them ask each other questions, noticing spelling mistakes or other areas for improvement.
  4. If your child is in the younger years (K-5) or ESL, I recommend that you use the free worksheets by clicking here. You can either print them off or doing the work with the screen, writing down the answers with a pen and a paper.
  5. Instead of being a passive parent, take an active role in your children’s education. When reading their work, make sure to ask questions. Curiosity is the great motivator of all things, driving us towards greatness, whatever direction that may be.
This is a picture of myself and my baby son Asher, back about a year ago. He is much larger now. My wife and I love to read to him as much as he can, with him reaching over to books, rather than toys.

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